St. Charles Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating is a great way to get out and relax during the warm summer months, and it is a common pastime in the St. Charles community. Unfortunately, boating can also be a dangerous activity, and an accident can cause a day spent out on the water to end in tragedy.
Accidents on the water are often more serious than accidents on land because they carry the risk of drowning or near drowning, and expert medical help is not as readily available in the case of a boating accident. If you were injured on a boat, you might be able to seek compensation from any negligent parties involved. Consult with a St. Charles boat accident lawyer as soon as possible after your personal injury to get advice about whether negligence was a factor.
What are the Boating Laws that Watercraft Operators Must Follow?
In Missouri, the State Highway Patrol is responsible for enforcing boating laws and regulations. The law requires boaters to register their vessels just as they would their cars. People under age 14 may not operate a boat, and parental supervision is required for operators under age 16. Anyone born after January 1, 1984, must take an authorized boater safety course and pass a test before operating a vessel on a lake in the state.
The boating accident course covers applicable navigation and safety equipment regulations. Non-compliance with any of these regulations could potentially lead to fines if the vessel is stopped by the marine enforcement authorities. A nearby legal professional representing a person who was injured in a boat accident could determine whether anyone involved in the crash has ever received a citation while operating a vessel.
In the event of an accident on the water, in most cases the vessel operator(s) must file a report with the Missouri State Highway Patrol within five days. However, reports must be filed within 48 hours in the event that the accident causes injury or death.
When Negligence Causes Boating Accidents
Boating accidents often are the result of human error. Inexperienced boaters might violate speed limits, operate their vehicle recklessly, or disobey navigation rules, whether through ignorance or willful recklessness. Drunk boating is a serious problem and is responsible for many accidents that cause death or injury. Poor maintenance or mechanical defects may also form the basis of a negligence action.
When a person seeks damages for an injury sustained in a boating accident, they must show negligence on the part of the responsible party. Violations of applicable laws and regulations is an indicator of negligence, but a plaintiff need not prove a violation of law. A person is negligent if they fail to take the care a reasonable person would take in similar circumstances, and someone is injured because of that failure of care. A local attorney could investigate the boating accident and identify potentially responsible parties who might be liable for a plaintiff’s injuries.
Can a Plaintiff Recover Damages if They Bear Responsibility for Their Accident?
In some cases, a plaintiff’s own negligence contributes to their injuries. Missouri Revised Statutes §537.765 allows a negligent plaintiff to recover damages from other negligent parties. However, the amount the plaintiff can collect will be reduced by a percentage that reflects their degree of fault.
Seek Help from a St. Charles Boating Accident Attorney
Boating accident cases can be difficult because there can be multiple defendants, each trying to diminish their own potential liability. Negotiations for an adequate settlement can be contentious, stressful, and time-consuming.
Do not attempt to handle these complex legal matters on your own. Instead, contact a St. Charles boating accident lawyer who could handle your claim with sensitivity and professionalism. Schedule a case review today and start preparing your case.