Many of us look forward to spending time on the water during the summer months. Whether it’s boating at Lake of the Ozarks or simply spending time at the neighborhood pool, water activities are a refreshing way to relax and unwind.
However, when something goes wrong while you’re on the water, lives can change in an instant. Each year, thousands of children and adults suffer serious or fatal injuries while on the water. These accidents can happen at any time, and when they do, it’s important to be prepared.
Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader is the trusted name for boat accident lawyers in Kansas City. Our attorneys deliver the answers, accountability, and justice for victims of catastrophic boating accidents in Kansas City.
If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, it’s important to hire a qualified boat accident attorney in Kansas City to handle your case. In this blog, we will discuss everything you should know about boating accidents and when you need to hire a boat accident attorney.
Understanding Boating Accidents
While nobody expects an accident to happen at the lake, boating accidents can occur at any time. Operating a boat, riding as a passenger, or even being near a boat has a range of potential risks.
Types of Boats
Boating accidents can involve any type of watercraft, big or small. This includes:
- Jet Skis
- Fishing boats
- Cruise ships
- Cargo ships
Causes of Boating Accidents
Over 4,000 boating accidents occurred in 2022 alone. Of these accidents, over 600 individuals lost their lives and thousands were injured. According to data from the United States Coast Guard, the primary causes of boating accidents include:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failure
- Alcohol use
Many boat accidents are entirely preventable. If you were injured in a boating accident, it’s crucial to contact a boat accident attorney who can help.
How a Boat Accident Attorney in Kansas City Can Help
If you were involved in a boat accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer who can protect you and your rights. It’s not enough to hire any attorney—you need someone with experience in boat accidents and personal injury law for a successful outcome.
Our boat accident attorneys are here to support you through the entire legal process. When you work with BFRR, we will:
1. Determine Who Is at Fault
Boating accidents are often complex cases with many variables involved. An experienced attorney will use the evidence (witness statements, incident reports, medical records, physical evidence, etc.) to determine the responsible parties.
Oftentimes, several persons or entities may be liable for the resulting damages. Our skilled attorneys at BFRR work diligently to identify each and every liable party and maximize the potential insurance coverage available to you. Responsible parties may include:
- The operator (if you were a passenger in a boat accident caused by a negligent or reckless operator)
- The operator of another watercraft (if you were a passenger or operator involved in a boat collision caused by another operator)
- The operator’s employer (if the operator wasn’t trained adequately or following safety protocols)
- The owner of the watercraft (if the owner failed to maintain a safe vessel)
- The manufacturer of the watercraft (if the design, manufacturing, or production of the boat contributed to the accident)
- Other passengers (if their negligent or reckless behavior contributed to the accident)
- The individual or entity responsible for serving alcohol (if alcohol was involved)
In these types of personal injury cases, insurance companies will often attempt to assign partial (or full) responsibility to the victim in order to avoid paying the full claim. A skilled personal injury attorney will protect you against these counterclaims and prevent the insurance companies from jeopardizing your case.
2. Determine Fair Value for Damages
The law allows you to recover two types of damages in these cases—economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred (or will incur in the future) as a result of the accident. These can include:
- Medical expenses (hospitalization, surgery, medications, rehabilitation, appointments, etc.)
- Lost wages (if the injured party is unable to work)
- Lost earning capacity (when injuries result in long-term or permanent disability)
- Property damage (the boat itself, belongings that were lost or destroyed as a result of the accident, etc.)
- Funeral costs
Non-economic damages are those that don’t come with a clear price tag. These can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Trauma or psychological distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
In order to avoid significant payouts, insurance companies tend to value damages (particularly non-economic damages) as less than they are worth. Only a qualified boat accident attorney in Kansas City can help you overcome these obstacles and obtain fair value for damages.
What to Do if a Boating Accident Occurs
If you or a loved one is involved in a boating accident, your health and safety are the most critical. Follow these steps after an accident:
- Immediately Call 911
Call emergency services for medical assistance and report the accident. Even if you are unsure about the severity of injuries, it’s important to be assessed by a professional.
2. Check for Injuries
Carefully check yourself and others for injuries. Attend to any immediate medical needs and administer first aid if necessary.
3. Ensure Help Is on the Way
Make sure emergency services are on their way to the scene.
4. Document Any Damages
If you and those around you are safe, start documenting everything that happened. Document injuries on yourself and others, document damage to the watercraft and other property, and take pictures of everything.
5. Collect Contact Information
Collect the names and phone numbers of all parties involved, as well as anybody who saw the accident occur. If you need to pursue a legal claim down the road, this will help your case.
6. Contact a Boat Accident Attorney
After everyone is safe and has received proper medical care, it’s important to contact a boat accident attorney in Kansas City. Although a lawsuit may be the farthest thing from your mind after an accident occurs, an attorney can take the proper steps to preserve essential evidence to protect you and your family.
Are you unsure if you have a case? Our attorneys have created a free virtual case tool to help you determine eligibility for compensation. Alternatively, you can contact our office to get in touch with a member of our team.
Preventing Boating Accidents
Many boating accidents are preventable. If you are headed out for a weekend on the water, taking the following steps can help ensure the safety of yourself and others.
- Do not drink alcohol or use drugs while boating
- Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket
- Check the weather before going out and bring a radio to monitor changes in the forecast
- Follow all safety guidelines
- Ensure the operator is properly trained and attentive while driving
- Regularly inspect your watercraft and stay up to date on maintenance
- Obey speed limits and maintain a safe distance from other vessels
- Be prepared and knowledgeable of emergency procedures
When you take the proper precautions, spending time on the water is an enjoyable experience. However, when negligence leads to accidents, the consequences can be devastating. If you were involved in a boating accident due to the reckless or negligent actions of another party, it’s important to contact an attorney who can help.
Contact Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader When You Need a Boat Accident Attorney in Kansas City
The lawyers at Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader understand that your case is your only case. When we represent a client or a family after a boating accident, we devote the time, resources, and experience for the best possible result.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence on the water, you may have a case for a boat accident lawsuit in Kansas City. Contact our personal injury lawyers today for a consultation at no cost.
The above is not intended to be legal advice. Each individual case is different and must be analyzed on its own set of facts and circumstances. If you believe you may have a case, it is critically important that you timely contact a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.