Accidents on the water can be just as dangerous as those that occur on major roadways. Even at low speeds, collisions between water vessels can result in serious injuries, including concussions, bone fractures, ligament damage, and even permanent damage like paralysis or loss of limb.

If you were hurt by the careless or reckless actions of another boater, a personal injury attorney may be the first step in taking effective legal action against them. With guidance from a Chardon boat accident lawyer, you may be able to hold a negligent boat operator or rental company financially liable for every injury and loss you sustained.

Reporting Requirements Under Ohio State Law

According to Ohio Administrative Code §1501.47-1-09, any collision between or injurious incident involving waterborne vessels constitutes a “boating accident.” One must report the accident to the Division of Parks & Watercraft in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources within five days if the crash resulted in any of the following:

  • More than $500 of property damage
  • An injury requiring professional medical attention
  • The complete loss of a vessel

If a boating accident results in someone disappearing or losing their life, this report must be filed before 24 hours have passed.

Failure to report a boat collision could significantly hinder any attempts at civil litigation or recovery for damages, so it is important to contact local law enforcement and other appropriate authorities immediately after a crash. Not only is it required by law, but the information provided in an accident account and any associated reports by the Chardon police could be essential for a nearby attorney to seek compensation on behalf of the boat accident victim.

Establishing Civil Liability for a Boat Collision

Much like civil claims in automobile accidents, boat accident cases generally focus on legal negligence. To establish civil liability based on negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached an assumed or explicit duty to act reasonably and safely. The plaintiff and their lawyer must then demonstrate that the defendant’s failure to fulfill their duty directly caused the accident that led to injury.

Importantly, civil liability for a watercraft collision does not always lie with the person operating the boat in question. For example, an operator who was traveling at an unsafe speed might be liable for a wreck resulting directly from excessive speed. However, if a mechanical failure caused a boat to crash despite responsible and safe operation, liability may lie with the boat’s manufacturer, or a mechanic who improperly serviced the vessel. A discerning lawyer can help injured victims determine the most appropriate party to target in a civil claim, whether it is a Chardon boat operator or mechanic, or a non-local manufacturer.

Recoverable Damages

Regardless of who is legally at fault for a boat accident, a plaintiff should be able to seek restitution for both economic and non-economic losses stemming from the incident if they can successfully prove liability. With the guidance of a skilled attorney, boat collision victims may be eligible to recover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost work income
  • Various losses related to pain and suffering

However, there are several ways in which recovery can be limited by state law, so it is recommended that Chardon residents reach out to experienced legal counsel in their area before pursuing a claim for their boat collision injuries.

Get in Touch with a Chardon Boat Accident Attorney Today

Careless behavior while operating a boat can put everyone else on the water at risk. If you were injured because of the negligence of another boater, you may be able to pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit with the help of an experienced legal professional.

Boating injuries can be painful and burdensome to recover from. Speaking with a seasoned Chardon boat accident lawyer may help smooth the civil recovery process and relieve the financial burdens of your accident. To schedule your initial consultation, pick up the phone and call today.

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