Boating Accidents

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Be Ready for Boating Season With Your Indiana Boating Accident Lawyer

Indiana is home to many recreational activities, and come summer, those activities include boating on Indiana’s many rivers and lakes. Taking the boat out for a weekday evening or a weekend boat day entails hours of fun. Whether it’s fishing or pulling the kids on a tube, boating is almost always a great time. But, unfortunately, with boating comes safety issues. 

Boating accidents can lead to harm and sometimes even death. It’s always a good idea to be safe and aware when out on the water. However, boating accidents may happen because of another person’s negligence. So if you have been involved in an accident while boating in Indiana, contact an Indiana boating accident lawyer at Wilson Kehoe Winingham to get the compensation and justice you deserve. 

Wilson Kehoe Winingham has represented many clients in Indiana who have suffered personal injuries or lost loved ones in boating accidents, and have gotten successful verdicts at trials in boating accident cases. If you—or a loved one—have been in a boat-related accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation.

Types of Boating Accidents

Boating in Indiana is a popular summer pastime. There are large lakes, both natural and man-made, that are great watercraft areas for motorized and non-motorized watercraft. Large rivers run across Indiana’s borders, providing natural scenery and relaxing days. Regardless of whether the water zone allows wake or not, boating accidents can happen in any capacity, with any craft.

Common causes and types of boating accidents include the following:

  • Collisions with objects or other boats
  • Flooding or swamping the boat
  • Grounding
  • Capsizing
  • Water sports accidents (jet skis, windsurfing, parasailing, etc.)

Although some of these accidents and their resulting injuries are easily recoverable, many boating accidents result in tragically severe consequences. 

As we’ve outlined, boating in Indiana, though enjoyable, does involve a certain level of risk. So to better prepare for summer, check out WKW’s summer boating safety tips to stay safe while out on the water! 

Lawsuits for Boating in Indiana

If you get injured in or on the water because of someone else’s negligence, pursuing a lawsuit is not restricted to boating accidents by boat. The boating accident lawyers here at WKW work on cases that involve the following types of water and water sport accidents:

  • Kayak accidents
  • Canoe accidents
  • Drownings
  • Motorized and non-motorized watercraft accidents and injuries
  • Negligence at a marina
  • Jet ski accidents
  • Drunk boating accidents

Don’t let the term “boating accident” deter you from seeking legal assistance. Your WKW Indianapolis boating accident lawyer will represent you in any form of negligence that is covered under Indiana boating laws.

Jet Ski Laws In Indiana

We understand the rush of excitement you feel when you hit a wave on a jet ski. Jet skiing is a fun water sport that makes summer more exciting. Yet, similar to motorcycles or bicycles on a road, jet skis are extremely dangerous in the water due to the rider’s lack of exposure to others. 

Jet ski accidents are extremely common, whether they are collisions with another jet ski or with a boat. Jet ski injuries can include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Neck and spinal damage
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones

If you have been injured in a jet ski accident, contact your Indiana boating accident lawyer at WKW. We want to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your recovery.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

The injuries sustained from boating accidents can be extremely harmful and life-altering. In reality, many accidents can be avoided by being careful and following Indiana boating laws. Below are some of the primary causes of boating accidents in Indiana.

Boating While Drinking

Indiana’s boating laws do not prohibit drinking while on a boat. However, it is illegal to operate a watercraft under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and for good reason. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 658 fatalities due to recreational boating in 2021. Alcohol was the leading cause of those fatalities at 100 deaths. 

If a person is operating a boat while intoxicated, they can face a boating DUI charge. They will also face punishments, penalties, and be responsible for damages done while operating the vessel while drunk. All too often, people are injured due to operators who drive boats while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Boating while intoxicated is sometimes referred to as BWI. If a person operates a boat while intoxicated, they are breaking not only state laws, but federal laws too. 

Reckless Action by Boat Operator 

Operating a boat means that a person takes responsibility for their actions; it is their duty to protect the people on their vessel and those on the water around them. A boat operator needs to pay close attention to avoid accidents and potential injuries. 

If a person is acting carelessly while operating their watercraft, motorized or not, they need to be held accountable for their actions. Reckless boat operating behavior includes:

  • Driving the boat at unreasonably high speeds
  • Not paying attention to those around you
  • Carrying too many passengers
  • Operating the vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Whether intentional or not, accidents happen when boat drivers act recklessly. However, if the recklessness is intentional and willful, the person doing those reckless acts while operating a boat will face major consequences. That is why it is crucial to be aware of the people in and around a boat. Reckless behavior can lead to harm for anyone near the driver.

To operate a boat, a person must present:

Included under the umbrella of carelessness and recklessness is allowing children to drive a boat. If a minor does operate a watercraft, they need to take the DNR education courses for boating. Additionally, children under 15 years of age cannot drive a boat that goes over 10 horsepower. 

Find more information about how to safely prepare for boating season on our blog. 

Boat Driver Negligence

Similar to recklessness, boat driver negligence can cause serious harm and damage to anyone adversely affected. Not only can the driver put their passengers and themselves at risk, but also individuals nearby, including those on jet skis, tubes, kayaks, and other water vessels. 

Examples of boat driver negligence include:

  • Reckless driving of the boat
  • Failing to repair damage to the craft
  • Colliding with other watercrafts or objects in the water 
  • Driving a boat without the proper licensing 
  • Not wearing proper gear, such as a life jacket/personal flotation device (PDF)
  • Not having proper safety gear like a fire extinguisher, air horn, and tow line

Negligence can include both action and inaction. If you have been injured because of a boater’s negligence, contact your Indianapolis boating accident lawyer at WKW today.

Determining Who Is Liable for a Boating Accident

Several factors can contribute to accidents involving watercraft, and WKW makes use of in-house investigators and the latest digital technology to research and recreate the conditions and factors leading up to a boating accident.

These factors may include:

  • Operator error or inexperience
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Equipment failure or malfunction
  • Adverse weather or water conditions

As a general rule of law, a boat operator and its owner must exercise the highest degree of care to prevent injuries to passengers, swimmers, or others in the water or other watercraft around them. 

Our experienced attorneys will discuss your situation and review the options available to you. In addition, we will work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to ensure all of your needs are handled quickly and appropriately.

Compensation for Boating Accidents

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you can fight for compensation.  Although money can’t undo an accident, it can help to alleviate the stress and pressure of paying bills as you recover. 

Some forms of compensation you can recover after a boating accident include:

  • Medical costs, including hospital visits, surgeries, physical therapy, doctor’s visits related to your accident, hospital stays, and more.
  • Pain and suffering involve a change in lifestyle because you are negatively impacted physically, mentally, and/or emotionally due to the boating accident. And others around you may need to change their lifestyle to help care for you.
  • Physical harm includes the current pain you are in. Physical harm can also impact your physical appearance. You may have experienced scarring or disfigurement as a result of your boating accident. Your injury may also lead to permanent disabilities. You can get compensation for the physical harm that was done to you.
  • Lost wages are for when your ability to work is impacted by your injuries. If you are unable to return to work, then you cannot get paid. When you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you can get compensation for the wages you would have made if you were otherwise not injured. 

If you have been injured in a boating accident, your WKW Indiana boating accident lawyer is here for you every step of the way—and beyond—in your pursuit of justice and compensation. We want to make sure that you can focus on your recovery.

Injuries that happen on or because of boats due to the actions or inactions of boaters need to be addressed. You deserve to be supported. WKW’s knowledge of Indiana boating laws, combined with our experience and resources will help you get the compensation you deserve. 

Contact a Boating Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a boating accident, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis boating accident attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. We can help you get full and fair compensation. Call 317.886.1924 or fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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