who liable boating accident

New York City has several recreational water opportunities being surrounded by water. You can take your pick from paddle boating, kayaking, motorboats, sailboats, and jet skis among other watercraft. However, these activities do not come without an added measure of risk.

There were hundreds of boating accidents in 2018 according to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The available figures for the year are as follows:

  • Bronx County had 4 accidents, which resulted in 1 injury and 1 death.
  • Nassau County had 32 accidents, which resulted in 10 injuries and 1 death.
  • New York County had 11 accidents, which resulted in 11 injuries and 1 death.
  • Queens County had 19 accidents, which resulted in 11 injuries and 2 deaths.
  • Richmond County had 1 accident, which resulted in 1 injury.
  • Suffolk County had 120 accidents, which resulted in 58 injuries and 6 deaths.
  • Westchester County had 24 accidents, which resulted in 5 injuries and 3 deaths.

Causes of Boating Accidents in New York

There are several causes for boating accidents. However, these are a few common ones:

  • Alcohol can impair judgment and lead to bad decisions. This includes reckless behavior.
  • Hazardous water conditions can make the most careful boaters lose control. This makes it important to pay attention to hazards and warnings.
  • Conditions safe for an experienced boater may not always be safe for an inexperienced one. It is important for boaters to know their limitations and attend safety classes. They should also learn from experienced boaters about local waters.
  • Lack of attention on the part of the operator can lead to terrible consequences.
  • Excessive speed can cause a craft to lose control and result in dangerous consequences.

Most boating accidents are based on operator error. You should avoid them by taking National Association of State Boating Laws sponsored safety courses and following boating rules laid down by the US Coast Guard.

Liability for Defective Product Manufacturers and Negligent Operators or Boat Owners

Personal watercraft and motorboats may have powerful engines like motor vehicles on the road. However, boat operators are still not subject to similar rules, regulations, and licensing like motorcyclists and car drivers.

You may not require any training before operating a jet ski or a boat. However, you cannot operate one without a certain level of skill set and knowledge. Doing so could result in a boating accident leading to liability for negligence.

Users of light watercraft and swimmers are vulnerable to spinal injury, traumatic brain injury, and wrongful death because of the negligence or reckless behavior of a jet ski or powerboat operator.

However, it is not only a reckless or negligent boat operator that may be held liable for an accident. Sometimes, the legal responsibility may be borne by the owner of a craft as well. This can be a situation when the boat operator is an employee of the owner or someone the owner allowed to man the craft without knowing the capabilities.

Tour boat and vessel owners have a duty to supervise and train their employees. They are required to ensure the craft is equipped with proper safety equipment. These owners can be held liable for injuries if they breach their duties.

A defect in the manufacture or design of the craft can also lead to a serious accident. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will investigate the accident to look for signs of defect which may have to contribute directly to the accident. This includes missing warnings, safety equipment, and instructions on the watercraft.

Common Injuries in Boat Accident

Recreational boating maybe New York’s preferred pastime, but it does not come without its inherent risks. Accidents occur at an alarming rate despite mandatory safety procedures. Injuries sustained by victims of boating accidents can range in severity depending on the type of the accident. Common injuries include the following:

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Head injuries and trauma
  • Drowning or a near-drowning experience
  • Death

Ferry Accidents in New York

There is no way of avoiding accidents and injuries when it comes to transportation methods. Every transportation mode comes with potential perils regardless of whether it is a motorcycle accident, bus crash, or motor vehicle collision. The same holds true in the case of ferry boats as well which provide transportation to thousands every day.

Were Coast Guard regulations followed by the ferry boat?

A thorough investigation is required into the incident's nature in the aftermath of an accident type. This is true of incidents involving ferry boat disasters as well. Water vessels are a highly used public transportation method and carry the potential for catastrophe if an accident occurs. Hence, it is important that circumstances leading to ferry boat accidents be thoroughly investigated.

Strict safety precautions and guidelines are put in place regarding the standard operation of ferry boats throughout the United States. These watercrafts are required to adhere to state-specific regulations. They are also subjected to US Coast Guard enforced federally mandated safety measures.

Standards of operation conducted at the time the accident took place need to be called into question. This makes it important to get in touch with a New York injury attorney.

The nation’s Coast Guard has set forth rules and regulations that need to be complied with by all ferry boats traveling along the country’s waters. Among the regulations, there are several requirements of providing an appropriate number of life rafts, being fully equipped with rescue boats, providing escape slides as per the number of crew members and passengers aboard the water vessel. The boat should also be equipped with the necessary firefighting gear.

There could be a serious cause for legal action if it is found that any of the above-mentioned requirements were neglected in the hours or days leading to the ferry accident.

Coast Guard Manning Requirements

The Coast Guard has extremely thorough regulations for a ferry boat in New York. In fact, the guidelines imposed on operators and owners of ferry boats are so extensive that they have included regulations regarding the appropriate action to be taken if there is an act of terrorism threatening the lives of the vessel.

Looking at the expectations of crew members aboard a ferry, it would seem that all possibilities of potential problems have been taken into account. From regular firefighting drills to abandon-ship protocols in the event of a disaster, there is a preventive measure in place for every issue.

Manning requirements for the US Coast Guard for ferry crew members exhibit a certain level of prevention planning and thought invested into the particular nature of the incident. For instance, the stipulations for running water vessels.

Ferries need to be equipped with a minimum number of seafarers that have the necessary predetermined designated ratings. These crew members must carry merchant mariners’ documents regarding their ratings. It should be documented within the Basic Training regulations certification requirements.

What to Do After a Boating Accident in New York

There are certain actions you should take to protect yourself regardless of the type of boating accident you are in. These are:

  • Reporting the accident to the US Coast Guard
  • Obtaining pictures for preserving evidence
  • Seeking medical attention after the injury
  • Acknowledging the fact that the insurance company does not have the same priorities as you
  • Hiring an experienced attorney for completing all filing and protecting your rights. The lawyer should also do everything possible to ensure that you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Filing a Boating Accident Insurance Claim or Lawsuit in NYC

You need in-depth knowledge of New York boating laws if you want to successfully litigate a boating accident case. You would also need to acquire proof that the accident was caused by the negligence of a boat operator. The attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff are competent and committed. We have the necessary experience and resources to help prove your case.

Our lawyers are here to help you navigate the boat accident claim process. We are prepared to gather all relevant information about the boating accident case. These are a few things we will do for you:

  • Review all your medical records for determining the severity of your injuries
  • Contacting and interviewing key witnesses to the accident
  • Investigating the background and driving history of the operator
  • Investigating the potential cause of the boat accident
  • Taking photographs at the accident scene, gathering testimonies, and collecting available evidence
  • Entering into negotiations with insurance companies for ensuring fair settlement

Consult with a Skilled NYC Boating Accident Attorney Today

There are several components to a boating accident claim such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering (past and future). Where necessary, we will retain third-party experts for proving pecuniary losses suffered by the next of kin if a loved one died.

The skilled team at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff in New York will investigate the causes behind the boating accident. We will gather all necessary evidence for building a strong case against the negligent party. This way you can focus your attention at getting the medical treatment and rehabilitation necessary for getting better. Give us a call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online.


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