reporting a boating accident

Reporting a Boating Accident

Once a boating accident has occurred, it is the responsibility of the boat operator to file a report on the incident. A written report must be submitted to the state agency that covers boating, the U.S. Coast Guard, depending on the situation. If a passenger died within 24 hours after the accident or if someone involved in the accident required medical assistance beyond first aid, the report must be filed within 48 hours. When there is only damage to the boat and/or other property, the report must be filed within 10 days of the accident. Not filing a report is a crime.

Information Required

Specific details are required when filling out a Boating Accident Report (BAR). The name of the boat operator and where the accident occurred are necessary. Detailed information about the boat and all passengers, reported losses including injuries, loss of life, and property damages must be on the report. A summary of the incident is required, including date, time, place, people involved, and a description of the accident.

Who is Responsible?

Reporting a boating accident begins the process of finding out who is legally responsible and liable for the damages caused by the accident. In some cases, no one is at fault. In others, however, this is not the case. A person is responsible for the accident if they acted negligently. This is judged by the way you behaved as compared to the way a reasonable boater would have in similar circumstances. If they did not follow all safety rules and precautions, then a jury may find them liable.

Penalties for Boating Accidents

A person may be liable for a boating accident. They can have civil or even criminal liability. You can be liable for medical expenses, wrongful death, and even property damage. The state can bring criminal charges if the boater was boating under the influence (BUI). The operator may also be criminally liable if he or she was operating the boat recklessly or with gross negligence. These charges can result in large fines and/or jail time.

Boating Accident Attorneys

When involved in a boating accident, it is a good idea to consult a boating accident attorney. These attorneys are personal injury attorneys who specialize in boating accidents and maritime law. They can advise on how to determine compensation for damages or losses. Avoid making statements or signing anything related to an accident, particularly admissions of guilt, until after consulting a qualified attorney. This protects your legal rights