With over 100 miles of ocean shoreline, the Delaware River as a southern border, and dozens of other inland waterways, residents of New Jersey have the opportunity to enjoy ample time on the water. Common activities include swimming, fishing, boating, and watersports. Aquatic activities also come with the risk for accidents. In some cases, these accidents result from someone else’s negligence.
Boat captains or watercraft operators in New Jersey are viewed the same way as drivers of a motor vehicle; they are expected to maintain full control of their boat at all times and operate it safely. Just as accidents happen on the road when drivers succumb to drinking or distraction, captains can cause accidents on the water if they aren’t concentrating on what they are doing or drink alcohol while operating their watercrafts. These accidents range from collisions with objects, other boats, or people in the water; to misadventure due to water sports accidents and drowning.
Accident victims must be able to prove negligence occurred in order to prevail with their claim. If two boats collide, there is usually some sort of negligence involved. Passengers on the boat(s) can have their legal claims managed in a similar way as car accident claims. If the boats are of different sizes and makes, the courts will usually find the operator of the larger boat to have a greater percentage of fault for the accident.
Sometimes accidents occur when a boat collides with the wake of another boat. The impact can cause harm to passengers and in some cases, injured passengers can hold the driver liable for any injuries. Victims may have a claim if they can prove the operator did not maintain situational awareness, was operating at excessive speed, or failed to warn passengers about the upcoming collision. On rare occasions, the operator of the boat that created the wake may be held responsible if accident victims can prove they were in a “no wake” zone or were driving dangerously in a crowded waterway.
Boat operators can also be held accountable for collisions with submerged objects or land if they are boating in dangerous conditions, such as at excessive speeds, or without the proper navigation equipment. If the boat lacks the correct types and amounts of safety equipment, and a passenger is injured or suffers wrongful death because of it, the boat captain may be liable.
If a victim of a boat or aquatic related accident can prove negligence, they are entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. The type of insurance policy in place can impact compensation amounts. Boating insurance can be purchased separately or may be included in a homeowner policy. A savvy Monmouth County boating accident lawyer can determine whether or not filing an insurance claim will be an available path for pursuit of compensation.
Victims of a water or boating related accidents should contact a skilled Monmouth County personal injury lawyer to review their situation. Legal representation can consult with the police, maritime experts, and other relevant authorities to determine exactly what happened and how it could have been avoided. A savvy legal team can help determine if there was drinking involved, if the boat was safe and being operated correctly and if there was proper supervision and accountability for the boat operator/captain. Additional factors that may be relevant include the possibilities that a design or manufacturing defect or adverse weather conditions contributed to the accident.
If you have been injured or have suffered a wrongful death in your family from a boating or aquatic accident, please contact our legal team today at 732-493-9400 or complete our online form. The law offices of Fox & Melofchik are located in Eatontown and we are proud to represent clients in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, and Mercer County as well as the towns of Long Branch, Neptune, Asbury Park, Middletown, Ocean Township, Freehold, Wall, Belmar and Sea Girt. Our team prioritizes providing personalized services and working hard to get you the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. Your initial consultation is complimentary and we look forward to speaking with you.