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Have You Been in a Boat Accident? Here’s What to Do.

Every summer, thousands of people hit the water on boats and other recreational vehicles. For most of them, it’s a fun day in the sun. The last thing you want to think about is a boat accident. There are about 450,000 registered power boats in New York, which means that for some the day will include a boating accident, and for a few that accident will result in death.

As the operator of a vessel, you have certain responsibilities under the law for if you find yourself involved in a boating accident. If the accident results in death or injury the accident must be reported to the police immediately, and then you have 48 hours to submit a written report to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).

The owner/operator of a recreational vessel is required to file a boating accident report in writing whenever an accident results in the loss of life, disappearance, an injury requiring treatment beyond first aid, or property damage of one vessel in excess of $1000.  

If an accident should happen to you the first thing to do is check on the wellbeing of everyone involved. If anyone is in the water help them back onto the boat so that you can assess their health. If this is not possible make sure they have on a life jacket to keep them supported in the water. If everyone on both involved vessels is alright, contact the authorities. A report will need to be made in the same way a report must be made after any motor vehicle accident. 

Document The Boat Accident:

Similarly to a car accident, you will want to document the boat accident scene as well as any damage to your boat. If there are injuries to people, take photographs. You are basically looking to create documentation that will help to determine liability. 

Was there proper safety equipment on your vessel? Make a note of it and, if possible, a photograph because it can help your case should it go to court. 

If your accident involved other boaters you should exchange contact and insurance information. This should include full legal names, cell and home phone numbers, address, and insurance information. Photographing their license and insurance card may also be helpful when you need to contact your insurance company after all of the reports are filed. Make sure you also get the registration number of their vessel. The more information you can collect the easier your life will be later on, particularly if there is a case brought to court. If there were witnesses to the event collect their contact information as well. 

Who To Call:

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boat accident, after collecting all of the information and filing a report, you may want to consider contacting a law firm such as Friedman, James & Buchsbaum LLP, that has experience specifically in the field of maritime law

Remember, boating should be a fun summer activity, but should the day take a turn for the worst, a maritime law firm can help you to recover substantial compensation to help pay for medical bills or even funeral expenses, if necessary. Make sure that you don’t forfeit your rights; contact Friedman, James & Buchsbaum LLP, today.