One of the joys of living in Lakewood is easy access to water activities. Whether you enjoy sailing, riding personal watercraft on Lake Erie, or fishing in the Rocky River, the area offers plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy the summer weather.

As enjoyable as boating can be, it can also be dangerous due to unskilled or impaired operators, poorly maintained vessels, and underwater hazards. If you suffered an injury involving watercraft, call a Lakewood boat accident lawyer for help. An experienced attorney could help you file a claim for compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other injury-related losses.

Safety Laws for Boating in Lakewood

To encourage safe and competent watercraft operation, the State has enacted various laws that apply to boaters. These include licensing requirements. Anyone born after 1982 must have either completed a boating safety course or passed a proficiency exam to legally operate a powerboat with an engine that exceeds ten horsepower.

Laws define how fast a boat may travel in certain zones, how much room it must allow a water skier, and how closely it could cross another vessel’s wake. Ohio Revised Code §1547.07 prohibits boats, personal watercraft, and water skiers from proceeding carelessly and disregarding their surroundings and the safety of others. Another law, Ohio Revised Code §1547.071, allows a law enforcement officer to direct a vessel back to shore if it:

  • Has an insufficient number of personal floatation devices or fire extinguishers onboard
  • Is overloaded or not floating high enough in the water
  • Appears to be leaking fuel
  • Is operating in conditions that might make it hazardous for the vessel to remain on the water

When a boating accident results in an injury, a nearby attorney could investigate whether any violations of the applicable laws or regulations occurred. If so, the violation could be evidence of negligence.

Causes of Accidents on the Water

Accidents often occur due to negligence, meaning the lack of reasonable caution or prudence. If a boating accident victim seeks damages for injuries, he or she must prove that another party’s negligence was the direct cause of the harm.

Collisions and capsizing usually happen because at least one operator failed to pay attention or operated the watercraft recklessly. Falls overboard could be due to bad weather, unsecured equipment, dangerous wakes, or recklessness. Impacts between a vessel and a submerged object could result from poor navigation skills or inadequate channel markings.

Who is Liable for a Boating Collision?

Regardless of the specific cause of a boat crash, an experienced attorney in Lakewood could investigate for evidence of negligence. Depending on the circumstances, potentially responsible parties could include the boat owner or operator, a passenger, the boat manufacturer, or the government agency responsible for maintaining or patrolling the waterway.

Partial Negligence in Watercraft Accident Cases

Sometimes, an injured person’s behavior may have contributed to the incident that caused an injury. The law allows people who are partially responsible for their injuries to collect a portion of their damages from other negligent parties if the injured person is not more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.

For example, perhaps a boat passenger was intoxicated when he or she fell overboard. A boat operator might argue that the passenger’s drunkenness was responsible for the incident. However, if the boat operator also was intoxicated or was operating the vessel recklessly, there is a good argument that the operator’s behavior contributed to the accident.

A dedicated Lakewood attorney could present evidence of others’ negligence to protect a victim’s right to pursue compensation for a boating mishap. Doing so ensures that an injured person does not bear an unfair share of the responsibility and can claim an appropriate amount of damages.

Call a Lakewood Boating Accident Attorney Today

Boating accidents can cause serious injuries, and those who suffer because of other people’s negligence deserve compensation. You can trust an experienced Lakewood boat accident lawyer to work diligently in pursuing a settlement or civil claim on your behalf.

The sooner you begin working with a legal professional, the easier the process may be. Call Tittle & Perlmuter today to schedule a free case review.

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