Boating accidents are tragedies that can cause serious to fatal injuries. They are life-altering incidents that can lead to expensive medical bills, disability, and many related losses. Most boating accidents are preventable. If someone’s carelessness caused your boating accident, you may be eligible for compensation. If that is the case, an attorney can help you through this process.
If you were injured while boating on Diamond Lakes, Lake Olmstead, Clarks Hill Lake, or another body of water near Augusta, Georgia, contact the lawyers at Nicholson Revell LLP. Call (706) 722-8784 for a free consultation.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) compiles statistics on recreational boating accidents across the country each year. According to its 2020 report, 5.265 boating accidents resulting in 767 deaths, 3,191 injuries, and $62.5 million in property damage occurred in U.S. waters during that year.
The most common causes of 2020 recreational boating accidents include the following.
Hiring an attorney can help you avoid common mistakes during the boating accident claims process, such as missing your deadline to file or accepting a settlement that doesn’t adequately cover your losses and future needs. Your lawyer will understand personal injury laws and how to navigate the claims process in Georgia. An attorney can take care of the four key phases of a claim for you:
While you focus on healing from your serious injuries, your attorney can handle your injury claim on your behalf. You can rest assured that the abilities and skill of your attorney will obtain the best possible outcome for your claim. Having legal representation gives you an advocate to protect your rights and demand justice for you during the legal process.
Every year, hundreds of boating accidents get reported to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The vast majority of these accidents occur due to preventable boat operator mistakes and errors, such as being careless or reckless. At Nicholson Revell LLP, we accept all types of boating accident cases, including:
Our boating accident attorneys in Augusta have spent years representing clients and getting to the bottom of who and what causes collisions on the water. We believe most boating accidents are not accidents at all; they are preventable disasters that stem from negligence. We are passionate about holding those at fault accountable.
Negligence in personal injury law is a careless act or omission that leads to injury or harm to others. If your lawyer can prove that someone was negligent and this is what caused your boating accident in Augusta, you could receive compensation for:
The most common legal remedy for a boating accident is an insurance settlement. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair amount for your losses, your lawyer can take the case to trial instead.
If you are filing a boating accident claim, you will need to prove that another person’s negligence caused your accident and resulting injuries. Negligence refers to a party’s breach of a certain duty of care, which varies depending on the circumstances of an accident.
During the insurance claims process, an adjuster will conduct an investigation into the boating accident and determine who was responsible. He or she will review evidence from both parties, such as police reports and medical records. Based on his or her findings, the adjuster will determine whether the at-fault boater caused the accident and how much compensation you should receive.
If you are filing a boating accident lawsuit, proving liability will be slightly more complex. You and you attorney will need to supply enough evidence to prove the following four facts.
For example, say that you are injured in an accident with another boater who was drinking excessively and collided into your boat on the water. Since it is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated, the at-fault boater’s actions are negligent, and he or she breached his or her duty of care by boating under the influence. You can use police reports, witness testimony, and blood alcohol test results to establish the breach of duty.
Establishing causation can be more difficult—you will need to show that the accident would not have occurred if the other boater had not been drinking. Your Augusta boating accident attorney from Nicholson Revell, LLP can conduct an in-depth investigation into your accident and gather the evidence you need to prove causation and your right to damages. He or she can connect you to expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, who can testify on your behalf and validate your claim.
Although you may be able to establish the elements of negligence and prove that the other party breached his or her duty of care, complex liability issues may arise. The other boater may claim that you are partially responsible for the accident to defend himself or herself. If you are filing an insurance claim and the insurance adjuster believes the other boater’s statement, the adjuster may use this information to reduce or deny your claim.
If you are filing a lawsuit against the boater and the court believes you are partially responsible for the accident, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rules will apply. The court will reduce the amount of compensation you will receive by the percentage of liability you share. If you are 50% or more responsible for the accident, the court will prevent you from recovering any compensation.
For example, say that you are filing a lawsuit for $100,000 after a collision with a distracted boater. The other boater claims that you were drinking at the time of the accident. If the court accepts this claim and assigns you 40% of the fault, you will only receive $60,000. If the court assigns you 55% of the fault, you will not receive an award.
If you are injured in a boating accident caused by someone else, it is important to act quickly. Georgia imposes a filing deadline known as the statute of limitations for boating accident lawsuits. If you do not file your lawsuit within the appropriate time limit, the court will dismiss your case and prevent you from recovering compensation.
You have two years from the date of your accident to file a boating accident lawsuit in Georgia civil court. While there are certain exceptions to this rule, they are not always common in boating accident claims. It is important to speak with a lawyer at Nicholson Revell, LLP to determine your filing date.
For an insurance claim, different companies impose different time limits. You will need to verify your filing deadline with the at-fault boater’s insurance policy. Before speaking with an insurance representative, however, contact an attorney at Nicholson Revell, LLP. Your lawyer can handle discussions with the insurance company on your behalf and help you identify your deadline.
After your boating accident, a representative from the other party’s insurance company may contact you and ask for a statement. He or she may claim that providing a statement would enable the company to resolve your case quickly. However, you should not speak to the insurance adjuster before speaking with an attorney.
It is important to remember that an insurance company’s goals for your claim will differ from your own. While you may want to achieve maximum compensation, the company often wants to protect its bottom line. If you provide a statement too early in your case before you understand the full extent of your injuries and losses, you could receive an insufficient settlement for your needs. To protect your right to maximum compensation, speak to a lawyer before engaging with an insurance adjuster.
Discuss the details of your boating accident case with an attorney in Augusta for more information today. Our local lawyers at Nicholson Revell LLP are prepared to help you fight for the financial recovery you deserve. Contact us for a free case review today.