Fry | Goehring successfully helps the injured recover the compensation they deserve.
Boat Accident Lawyers in Atlanta
Boating is a popular activity on the many lakes and rivers in the Atlanta area and region. On any given day, you can find hundreds of Atlantans enjoying their time on the water — cruising around on Lake Lanier or fishing on the Chattahoochee.
However, this fun can take a tragic turn for those involved in boating accidents. Similar to car accidents, victims of boating accidents often suffer severe or even fatal injuries, making it crucial to know what to do when you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident.
At Fry | Goehring, we understand that boating accident cases can get complex due to state boating laws and the many parties that could potentially be liable for such accidents. Our experienced Atlanta boating accident attorneys can help determine whether you have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim after a boating accident. If you have a case, we can handle your claim to help you seek damages for your injury.
Call 404-948-3571 today to talk to one of our Atlanta boat accident lawyers and find out your legal options.
Types of Boat Accidents
Boating accidents may occur in multiple ways, but the most common involve collisions with other vessels or stationary objects. Other types of boat accidents that we can help with include:
- Fire and explosions
- Passenger falling overboard
Regardless of the type of boat accident, our experienced Atlanta boat accident lawyers can help investigate and build your case to get you the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents in the Atlanta Area
Boating accidents may occur for various reasons. While the circumstances surrounding such accidents vary, the most common causes of boating accidents include:
- Operator error or inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Operating while intoxicated
- Mechanical failure
- Reckless behavior
- Adverse weather conditions
- Violating navigational rules
Operators who fail to exercise caution while operating their vessels could be held responsible for any injuries or wrongful deaths in the event of an accident.
Risks Associated With Boat Accidents
Atlanta has many waterways and lakes, which are havens for boating enthusiasts. Lakes such as Lanier, Allatoona, Oconee, and others provide the perfect recreational fishing or boating spots. However, failure to observe navigational rules or exercise caution during such expeditions can lead to tragedy.
Due to the city’s abundance of waterways and lakes, the state of Georgia has put in place various laws to protect recreational boaters. For example, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources provides that individuals 16 years of age or older may operate any boat on Georgia waters, provided they have proper identification. The state also requires a Georgia Certificate of Boat Registration and a validation decal to operate your boat on public Georgia waters.
Despite the laws, boating accidents still happen. In 2022, Georgia recorded 103 boating accidents and 57 drownings. These incidents resulted in 69 injuries and 23 fatalities. Most of these incidents resulted from boating under the influence (BUI), as law enforcement recorded 305 BUIs.
Damages Available After a Boat Accident
Boating accident victims can recover damages if they suffer injuries and/or financial losses due to another party’s negligence. Specifically, such victims can recover economic and non-economic damages depending on the nature of their boating accident. Some of the economic damages available to boating accident victims include:
- Present and projected medical expenses, including medications, physical therapy, surgery, and other treatments
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capability
- Assistive devices
- Rehabilitation costs
Individuals injured in boating accidents may also seek non-economic damages, which may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Depending on the facts of your case, our experienced Atlanta boat accident attorneys can help you determine the damages that might be available to you and how to proceed with your Atlanta personal injury claim.
Determining Liability in a Boat Accident Case
Typically, the vessel’s operators are held liable when a boating accident occurs. However, that isn’t always the extent of liability for such accidents. Any other parties whose negligence or recklessness contributed to the accident may also be held responsible. Generally, the following parties may be held liable for an Atlanta boating accident:
- Boat operator
- Boat owner
- Boating company
- Boat manufacturer
- Boat passenger
Since any one or more parties may be held liable for a boating accident, our Atlanta attorneys can help evaluate your case and build a case to seek damages from all responsible parties. Specifically, we can help you establish liability in any of the following scenarios:
Recreational Boating Accident
Recreational vessels are the most common on Atlanta’s waterways and lakes, and most accidents likely involve these vessels. These vessels may include speedboats, small yachts, sailboats, fishing boats, catamarans, jet skis, and houseboats. Georgia boating state laws prohibit drivers or operators of such vessels from recklessly operating boats, as it is deemed a disregard for the safety of other persons or property.
Boat operators owe other people a duty of care to operate their boats in a manner not likely to cause harm to others. An operator found to be reckless, negligent, or boating under the influence and who causes a boating accident may be liable for the victim’s injury or losses.
Commercial Boating Accident
If you’re injured as a passenger on a commercial boat, such as a yacht, you might file a claim for damages against the boat company or owner. By establishing that the captain of a commercial boat failed to exercise utmost caution and caused an accident, the boating company or owner may be held responsible for any damages.
Boating Accidents Caused by a Company Employee
A boating company may also be held responsible for injuries or losses resulting from an employee’s actions. Employers are vicariously liable for any damages resulting from their employee’s actions and will likely be expected to cover the costs of another person’s injury or wrongful death. Boating companies may also be held directly liable if an accident occurs due to negligent hiring, which is usually true if they fail to properly train or supervise their employees.
Accidents Involving Defective Vessels or Equipment
Some boating accidents occur primarily due to defective vessels or equipment. When such accidents happen, you can bring legal action for damages against the boat manufacturer. For instance, a boat may sink or capsize due to a defect or malfunction. When this happens, the designer, manufacturer, or seller of such a defective product is strictly liable for damages resulting from using that defective product.
Since more than one party may be held liable in your boating accident case, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule allows individuals to seek damages even if they contributed to the accident. However, parties that share 50 percent or more of the blame for an accident may not recover damages.
How Our Atlanta Boat Accident Lawyers Can Help You
If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is vital that you speak to an experienced Atlanta boat accident lawyer. Your lawyer will evaluate your boating accident case to determine if you have a valid claim. At Fry | Goehring, our attorneys can help with your case in the following ways:
- Investigate your accident and build a strong case against the liable party.
- Negotiate with the insurance companies in question on your behalf.
- Take your case to trial if the insurance company declines to negotiate fairly.
- Represent you in court and argue your case before a judge for a chance at a fair award for damages.
Going alone in your boating accident case puts you in a disadvantageous position compared to the insurance companies and their defense teams. Having a boat accident lawyer from Atlanta on your side helps level the playing field, giving you a better chance of receiving fair damages after your accident.
Contact an Experienced Boat Accident Lawyer Today To Get Started
At Fry | Goehring, we believe that you and your family shouldn’t have to go through the pain and financial turmoil after a boating accident. Our Atlanta boating accident lawyers are experienced and aren’t afraid to take your case to court to get you the compensation you deserve.
We will work with you every step of the way to ensure all parties liable for your injuries are held accountable. Call us at 404-969-1284 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
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