When to Hire a Boat Accident Lawyer

speedboat on a lake

Boating is a favorite summer pastime, and with warmer weather fast approaching, we can expect to see more and more of these vehicles out on the lakes. In Colorado alone, there are around 80,000 recreational boaters. While boating can be an exciting activity, boat owners must take steps to ensure the safety of everyone else on the lake. Collisions with other vehicles can cause significant injury or even death. In 2021, 658 people were killed in a boating accident, and another 2,641 were injured. Read our article to determine when to hire a boat accident lawyer and what to expect.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents

Determining liability in a boat accident will depend largely on what caused the collision. There are many different potential causes of a boat accident, including:

Operator Error

A boat accident may be caused by inexperience on the part of the driver. He or she may have failed to notice or avoid a hazard, used poor judgment, or could not stop in time. Likewise, if the owner failed to perform routine maintenance on their vessel and this caused the accident, he or she may be found responsible by a boat accident lawyer. 

Keep in mind that, in Colorado, boaters are not required to take any safety courses or be licensed prior to getting on the water (unless they are under the age of 16). You can thus assume that there are a fair number of inexperienced boat owners. If someone appears to be a rookie driver but is at least attempting to drive safely, just give them a wide berth. 

Boat Driver Negligence

In many cases, a boat accident occurs due to direct negligence on the part of the driver. This means engaging in reckless behavior that resulted in the crash. If the owner of the vehicle was intoxicated, speeding, tailing another boat, or failed to provide passengers with adequate safety equipment, he or she may be found liable for the collision and any injuries or property damage that occurred. 

Manufacturer Defect

Sometimes, a mechanical malfunction can lead to an accident. If a part was installed incorrectly or failed during operation, a boat accident lawyer may investigate the manufacturer as a possible cause. 

Leasing Company Negligence

Many boats are rented from leasing companies who have a responsibility to make sure their vessels are in good working order. If an accident was caused due to lack of maintenance by the leasing company, they may be held at least partially liable. 

What To Do If You Are in A Boat Accident

Operators of all vehicles involved in an accident are required by Colorado law to exchange names, addresses, vessel ID, and the name of the owner if it is different from the driver. If the collision resulted in severe injuries, property damage in excess of $2000, complete loss of the vessel, or loss of life, the operators of involved vehicles must fill out a boat accident form and submit it to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

This boat accident form is largely for statistical purposes and cannot be used as evidence in a personal injury or wrongful death case. However, failure to complete one within five days following an eligible accident can result in a misdemeanor. 

In addition to the form, if you are in a collision that was not your fault, you will want to consult with an experienced boat accident lawyer. He or she can help you pursue compensation for damage to your property, the cost of treating injuries, and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. 

If you are involved in a boat accident in Colorado, please contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Dave is a highly experienced personal injury attorney who works diligently and compassionately on behalf of his clients. Call or go online today to schedule a free consultation. 

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Heather Kleinman