Unfortunately, too many boat operators are careless or overestimate their level of experience. When this happens, tragedy follows. If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. It’s important to meet with an attorney and explore your options. Set up a consultation now by calling Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151.
Boating Accidents in the United States
Boating statistics in the United States paint a grim picture of waterway safety. The U.S. Coast Guard releases an annual boating safety statistics report that outlines the causes of accidents, how often they occur, and how often they result in injuries or fatalities. From 2019 to 2020, the total number of boating collisions increased over 26%, leading to a nearly 25% increase in injuries. This is largely tied to the pandemic and busier waterways as people had more free time and were encouraged to spend more time outside.
The most common months for fatal accidents are April and November, which may indicate that the beginning and end of each boating season are the most dangerous times for operators. Fatal accidents are most likely to occur between 10:30 P.M. and 2:30 A.M. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the top contributing factor to fatal boating accidents is the use of alcohol.
State Boating Laws
As a Mississippi boat operator, it’s important that you know and follow all boating regulations. Not only does this help you avoid expensive citations and tickets, it also ensures that you meet safety requirements that help you avoid accidents.
Before operating a boat, anyone born after June 30, 1980 must complete and pass a boating education course that is approved by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Additionally, a person younger than 12 must always be accompanied by someone who is at least 21 years old when operating a boat. All individuals must keep their boating education certificates with them while operating a boat.
Every boat on Mississippi waters must have at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device per person onboard the boat. On top of that, anyone who is 12 or younger must always be wearing their personal flotation device while on a vessel that is 26 feet or shorter.
What Causes Boating Collisions?
The same studies that analyze the common times and months of boating accidents also track the most common causes of boating crashes. Knowing these can help boat operators stay safe and protect both themselves and others. Per the U.S. Coast Guard, the 10 most common causes of boating accidents are:
- Operator inattention
- Inexperienced boaters
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failures
- Violations of navigation rules
- Alcohol use
- Poor weather conditions
- Hazardous waters
- Strong waves
Boating accidents vary quite a bit in terms of severity, which makes it difficult to know exactly how a collision might affect you. This is one reason it’s so important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. Some of the most commonly reported injuries include:
- Drowning. This is a fairly common outcome for boat crashes. Even if a passenger or operator is a strong swimmer, if they become fatigued before help arrives, they can drown. This is why it’s so important to keep an appropriate amount of personal flotation devices onboard.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Boaters who fall overboard and go without oxygen for an extended period of time or hit their heads are at risk of traumatic brain injuries, which vary a lot in terms of prognosis, long-term side effects, and overall wellbeing.
- Cuts and lacerations
- Burns. Electrical fires and explosions can occur in boats that are not properly maintained.
- Spinal cord damage. Being thrown around on a boat that is caught in inclement weather or the has struck another vessel puts a ton of pressure on the spinal cord. Permanent damage may result.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a common outcome for those involved in a collision with another boat.
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Amputation. If a victim gets too close to a boat’s propellers, either because they fall in or because the operator is not aware of people in the water, loss of limbs may occur.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve and How We Can Help
Boating accidents can be extremely expensive, both for the boat operator and the victims of the crash. It’s crucial to meet with a boat accident attorney as soon as possible after a collision to explore your legal options. Without assistance from the liable party’s insurance provider, you could be left paying tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills while being unable to work for an undetermined amount of time. Many insurance settlements include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses for lifelong injuries
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity if your earning ability is permanently affected
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
How do you get the compensation you deserve after an accident? You talk to a boating accident attorney in Mississippi. Insurance companies are very good at avoiding full and fair payouts. Their top interest is not the wellbeing of victims, but the profit margins of their companies. Many innocent victims have been misled by insurance companies, only to later find out that their paltry settlement was not enough to cover even their medical bills.
Your attorney knows how insurance companies work and they can help you avoid the pitfalls of negotiating a settlement. Our team will take over all communication with the insurance adjuster to give you more time and space to heal from your injuries. Our only goal is to get you the settlement you deserve, and whether that means figuring out a settlement at the negotiation table or going to court, we’re with you every step of the way.
Call Reeves & Mestayer Today
The sooner you get in touch with our team, the more quickly we can start building your case. Take the first step now by calling us at 228-374-5151 or getting in touch us online.