Going for a ride on a boat or jet ski on Lake Lanier can be a lot of fun, but that fun can quickly turn to pain if there is an accident. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 92 boat accidents in Georgia in 2014; 12 were fatal (13 dead) and 47 caused nonfatal injuries (81 injuries altogether). The accidents cost almost $400,000 in damages. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of an accident, talk to David Brauns, a boating accident lawyer in Gwinnett County. We help you figure out what caused the accident and prove it so you can get compensation for your damages.
The Different Kinds of Recreational Accidents
There are many types of recreational accidents, but a few of the most common are:
- Boat vs. boat
- Jet ski vs. jet ski
- Boat vs. jet ski
- Boat vs. swimmer
- Jet ski vs. swimmer
These accidents can be particularly serious because of the lack of protection afforded to occupants of boats and jet skis or swimmers involved in serious accidents with these vehicles.
What can cause a boating accident?
Below are some of the most common factors that cause or contribute to boating accidents.
- Inattention: An inattentive boater who fails to provide reasonable care to others can cause an accident. However, recreational accidents are not always the operator’s fault. An inattentive swimmer may cause an accident by failing to watch for oncoming boats or jet skis.
- Speed: Just as on roads and highways, boaters must operate their vessels at appropriate speeds. Failure to do so can result in an accident.
- Inexperience: In Georgia, those who are 16 and older may operate a boat if they have a driver’s license. Those born after January 1, 1998 must pass a boater education course. Anyone under 12 can operate a boat, 16 feet or shorter and 30 horsepower or less, with an adult present. Anyone ages 12 to 15 who wants to operate a boat, under 16 feet, must pass a boat education course and be accompanied by an adult.
- Operator error: A boater or jet skier who operates a boat incorrectly or recklessly can cause an accident.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is not just a big problem when driving a car; it is also a problem when operating a boat or jet ski. Out of the 92 boating accidents reported in Georgia in 2014, alcohol caused seven, which resulted in two deaths and seven injuries. Under the Georgia Boat Safety Act, it is illegal to boat under the influence (BUI).
- Weather: Weather is uncontrollable, but a conscientious boater will do his utmost to ensure his safety and the safety of those around him.
Do I have a valid boating accident case?
To have a case for a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your accident and subsequent injuries. To prove negligence, you must prove that another party operated his boat or jet ski dangerously and unlawfully, which can include (but is not limited to):
- Jet skiing too close to swimmers
- Driving too fast
- Obstructing the navigation of other boats
- Following another boat or jet skier too closely
If you can prove the operator of the boat or jet ski was engaged in any of these dangerous behaviors, you may have a case. David Brauns is a Boating accident lawyer in Gwinnett County who will investigate the accident, help find proof, and help you get medical care (with or without insurance). Contact the Brauns Law team today at 404-418-8244 and so we can get started on your case.