What to Do if You are Involved in a Boating Accident

Watercraft Injury Attorney Serving Maryville and East Tennessee

A boating accident may be traumatizing for victims or for family members who witness a loved one die. People who are injured or who lose a loved one may have a claim against the boating operator of their own boat or someone driving another boat. All boat operators in East Tennessee are supposed to practice good seamanship, keep a lookout for danger, and maintain safe speeds and distances. They are required to use reasonable care to avoid injuries to their passengers or others. You may be wondering what to do if you have been involved in a boating accident. Maryville boating accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe is ready to help you assert your rights.

What to Do If You Are Involved in a Boating Accident

In Tennessee, everyone on the water has a responsibility for safe navigation and taking the steps necessary to avoid collisions, injuries, and deaths. This includes keeping safety equipment onboard for all passengers, avoiding horseplay, not drinking and boating, avoiding excessive speed, staying out of areas that are filled with swimmers, and going back to shore if weather conditions make an accident likely. Once an accident happens, a boating operator must stop the vessel immediately and help anyone who has been injured, unless doing this would endanger their own vessel or passengers.

An operator of a boat involved in an accident must immediately notify the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), which enforces and administers the Tennessee Boating Safety Act. Specific information must be provided to an investigator. The boating operator should fill out and file an accident report form within 48 hours if someone dies, disappears, or is injured so badly that they require medical treatment beyond first aid. When the damage is greater than $2,000, the accident form must be completed and filed within 10 days of the accident. The report from a boating accident may be used as evidence in both a criminal and a civil action.

Under Tennessee Code section 69-9-220, wildlife officers and other enforcement officers are authorized to stop and board boats. They may arrest on sight someone whom they have probable cause to believe has violated section 69-9-216(a) by recklessly or negligently endangering others or has been boating under the influence, which is prohibited by section 69-9-217(a). When you are on bodies of water that are federally controlled, the U.S. Coast Guard has authority to enforce laws.

After an accident in which you have been injured, you should contact the TWRA. To the extent possible, you should also take photographs of your injuries and any dangerous conditions on the boat, such as alcohol or broken safety equipment that may have contributed to the accident. If there is property damage after a collision, it may be useful to photographically document it, as well as the weather.

You should seek prompt medical attention after a boating accident. In some cases, people suffer serious injuries as a result of a boating accident, and these are not always obvious and visible, particularly if someone experiences near-drowning injuries or a concussion.

Retain Maryville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe Following a Boating Accident

Victims of boating accidents deserve knowledgeable legal guidance and vigorous representation. It may be difficult to know what to do in these situations. Maryville boating accident attorney Mark Hartsoe can help you seek compensation if you were a victim of negligent or reckless boating, either as a passenger or as someone operating a boat that was involved in a collision. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to set up a free appointment. Mark Hartsoe represents people who need a watercraft injury lawyer throughout East Tennessee, including in Blount, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.

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