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Phoenix Boat Accident Lawyer

Arizona has more than 200 lakes and reservoirs where boating is allowed. Maricopa County alone has more than 1,600 registered recreational boats. With so many boats comes the risk of personal watercraft accidents and personal injuries to boat operators.

Here we take a closer look at recreational boat accidents in Arizona: what causes them, the kinds of boating accident injuries you might suffer, and the kinds of boating accident claims that a boating accident injury can lead to.

If you have been in a boating accident, a Stone Rose Law Phoenix boating accident lawyer can help you understand the relevant boating laws that may be involved, and how to recover compensation for your boating injuries. You can find a Stone Rose Law boating attorney in Phoenix or Scottsdale by calling us at (480) 498-8998, or you can contact us here if you prefer.

Remedies For Boat Accidents

Arizona remedies for boating accidents are the same as for other personal injury claims.

What To Do After a Boat Accident

After a boating accident, it’s best to report it to law enforcement so they can investigate and document the circumstances of the accident.

In Arizona, the agency to report a boating accident to is the Game and Fish Department. You can obtain a boat accident report form at marinas, first-aid stations, ranger stations, from law enforcement personnel, or from the Game and Fish Department.

You will also want to collect as much important information as you can at the scene of the accident or as soon after the accident as possible. This includes the names, contact addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone involved in the accident and any eyewitnesses and insurance company information.

You will also want to let your personal insurance representative know about the accident as soon as possible after it happens.

What to do after a boat accixent

How To Prove A Boat Accident Claim in Arizona

Maritime claims involving personal injury, like a boat accident case, are subject to Arizona personal injury law. A plaintiff in a boating accident case can sue based on negligence, gross negligence, or even intentional behaviors.

The starting point of personal injury claims is meeting the statute of limitations. In Arizona, this is generally two years starting on the date of the boating accident or in some cases after the discovery of delayed injury symptoms or the death of a person involved in the accident.

If you satisfy the statute of limitations requirement, then you must prove all of the following to win a claim in Arizona court:

  • You must show that someone else, like the operator of another boat, owed you a duty of reasonable care.
  • You need to show that this duty of reasonable care was not met.
  • You must show that this breach of duty caused the accident.
  • You must show that you suffered injuries because of the accident.

To briefly summarize, boaters have a duty to use reasonable care in the operation of their watercraft and have a duty to comply with Arizona’s boating laws. Thus, for a personal injury claim to be legitimate, it must be shown that a boater breached their duty and that the breach caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries and damages.

Damages For A Boat Accident

The kinds of damages you can recover for boating accident claims are the same that you can seek after any motor vehicle accident. These include medical costs, lost wages and reduced earning potential, costs for physical, occupational, and mental health therapy treatments, property damage costs, and pain and suffering damages.

In some egregious cases, like an accident that involves a boating DUI or intentional behavior that led to serious injuries or death, exemplary or “punitive” damage may also be possible to recover. A boating accident lawyer can help you determine what remedies and damages can be available to you in a personal injury claim.

Common Boat Accident Injuries

We can compare a boating accident to a truck accident in one way: the size, power, and weight of a boat underway compared to a car means that the boat carries more kinetic energy as it moves. This energy translates into physical impact force when it comes into contact with another boat or a stationary object. This can lead to significant property damage.

This increased force on impact also means that boating accidents can easily cause serious injuries, like whiplash, broken bones, or an internal injury. More serious accidents can result in catastrophic injuries like a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injuries, or traumatic amputation from being struck by a propeller.

In the worst cases, boat accidents produce fatal injuries that can come from drowning, burn injuries, or trauma.

Who Can Be Liable For a Boat Accident?

A boat is a variation of a motor vehicle, generally. In Arizona, a person can become a responsible party to a boat accident by being the operator of the boat, the boat owner, or, in some cases of product liability, the manufacturer of the boat or its equipment.

Like with other personal injury cases, a boat accident can have more than one cause. A plaintiff boat operator involved in a collision with another boat can be partly at fault. If this happens, the maximum compensation that the plaintiff receives will be subject to reduction under the Arizona doctrine of comparative negligence.

An experienced boat accident attorney, like one of the boat accident attorneys at Stone Rose Law, can in a free consultation help you understand who might be held liable for your medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering damages, and other remedies available in a boating accident claim.

Boat Accident Causes

The causes of boat accidents in Arizona and across the United States are well known to the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard keeps detailed annual boat accident statistics. For the year 2022, for example, these statistics show the following top five kinds of recreational boating accidents:

top 5 primary accident types

What we can take away from this information is that collisions, either with another boat or with an object, account for a solid majority of boating accidents. Like with car accidents, many of these collisions are avoidable or are otherwise the result of negligence.

Next, we let the Coast Guard tell us of the behaviors and other contributors to these five kinds of boat accidents:

Top 10 known primary contributing factors of accidents

What are some observations we can take away from this information? Consider:

  • Factors that are out of control of the boater at the time the accident occurred, like bad weather or running afoul of another boat’s wake are the least two common among the top 10 causes.
  • Negligent behaviors, like boating operators who are not focusing on where they are going, not watching out for other boats and objects, and going too fast, are the predominant causes of boating accident cases.

For boat operators, understanding the fundamentals of safe boating is an obligation no less serious than the need of a car driver to know the rules of the road and how to drive defensively. The failure to take boat ownership and operation seriously is a leading source of marine accidents and boat accident claims.

Some specific examples of the kinds of negligent acts that lead to boat injury claims include:

  • Carrying too many passengers.
  • Allowing passengers to stand or sit in inappropriate places while the boat is underway.
  • Wake-jumping, or cutting across the path of another boat.
  • Attempting to splash other boats by drawing close to them, or otherwise operating an unsafe distance.
  • Failing to yield right of way to another boat.
  • Failing to comply with federal maritime laws and Arizona state laws governing recreational boat registration, operation, and insurance.
  • Not keeping or maintaining proper safety equipment like life jackets.
  • Not performing reasonable maintenance of the boat or its machinery.

Alcohol use is another kind of negligent behavior, in that no motor vehicle operator of any kind should be driving while intoxicated. Alcohol use can also subject a boat’s operator to possible criminal liability under Arizona DUI laws.

Call a Phoenix Boat Accident Attorney Today

Our Phoenix boat accident attorneys at Stone Rose Law proudly serve boat accident clients throughout Arizona. We do everything in our power to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve. Reach out to us online or call (480) 498-8998 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your boat accident case with a qualified car accident lawyer in Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, or throughout Maricopa County, AZ.

If your insurance company has denied your policy claim after you are in a boat accident, call us.

If you are unsure of what to do after getting into a boat accident and have a question about your Arizona legal rights in a personal injury case, call us.

Do you prefer to communicate with us online? You can reach us here to schedule a free initial consultation, or to ask a question to one of our dedicated Phoenix car accident lawyers.

Remember––the Arizona statute of limitations for personal injury boat accidents is only two years, and your insurance company might give you even less time to make a policy claim. Let us help you to protect your boat accident claim––call us today.