Georgia Boating Accident Attorneys
The state of Georgia has over 425,000 acres of lakes and more than 70,000 miles of streams and rivers. Unfortunately, a picture-perfect day spent boating on one of Georgia’s waterways can be brought to a screeching halt if you are unexpectedly involved in a boating accident. Such accidents often result in damage to your boat as well as physical injuries to yourself and passengers. Unfortunately, this happens too often and, in almost all cases, could have been prevented. Accidents involving boats, wave runners, jet skis, and other watercrafts happen for many reasons, including:
- Driver inexperience is the leading cause of boating accidents. This is the result of not needing a license or any formal training to drive a boat. The law does little to advocate safe boating education.
- Operating a boat while intoxicated. Impairment due to alcohol or drugs is also a common cause of serious boating accidents.
- Driver’s lack of focus and failing to pay attention to proper boating operations.
- Inappropriate behavior on the part of the passengers or skiers, which cause a dangerous situation on the water.
- Unpredictable weather for which the boater is not properly prepared.
- Equipment failure due to defective design or neglectful maintenance of the boat. For example, failing to ensure the navigational lights work before having the boat out past sunset.
- Reckless operation of the boat and failing to understand and obey the navigational rules of the waterways. This includes operating at unsafe speeds.
- Having too many passengers on the boat, which leads to exceeding the maximum weight capacity and increased stopping distance?
- Shortage of life saving equipment, which can make a bad situation much worse.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INJURIES SUSTAINED IN A BOATING ACCIDENT?
A negligent boater is responsible for the accident he or she causes. A boater is considered to have acted negligently if they do not conduct themself as a reasonable person under similar circumstances, for example failing to obey all the safety rules of the waterway. In addition, under Georgia law O.C.G.A. sec. 51-1-21 and 51-1-22, the owner of a boat can also be held responsible for boating accident injuries caused by another person’s negligence, if the driver is a family member or the owner gave the driver permission to operate the boat. In those cases, the owner may incur both civil and criminal liability.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A BOATING ACCIDENT?
Determining liability in lake or river accident can be a difficult and tedious process. First, federal, state, and local laws all come into play during a boating accident claim. These laws are often confusing and complicated. Second, it is important to determine who is at fault. This frequently requires the assistance of experts and/or accident reconstructionists.
Finally, it can be challenging to find insurance proceeds to pay for lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. In other words, just because a person is driving a boat, it doesn’t mean they have the ability to pay for damage or injuries they cause.
For these reasons, an attorney experienced in boating accident law is essential to successfully recovering the most compensation for damages after an accident involving a boat, jet ski, wave runner, or other water craft. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Georgia boating accident, do not try to handle the situation yourself. Protect your rights and increase your settlement or verdict by immediately contacting the experienced boating accident attorneys at Randy Scott Slater, P.C. We represent clients that have been injured in accidents on any of our state’s lakes, including Clarks Hill Lake, Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, Lake Hartwell, and West Point Lake. Contact our office today at (404) 888-0500.