It’s summertime and everyone is looking for outdoor recreational activities. While Pennsylvania is not a coastal state, you may be surprised to learn that it has 85,000 miles of rivers and streams, 76 natural lakes, and over 700 square miles of Lake Erie, all of which are prime for boating. In fact, 306,781 boats are registered in Pennsylvania, and it consistently has more boating accidents than at least 30 other states nationwide. As boating and jet skiing increase, so too does the risk of tragic accidents.

Negligence in Boating Accidents

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you are not alone. Approximately 633 people are injured in boating accidents and 2,511 are injured in boating accidents each year nationwide. 12 of these deaths occur in Pennsylvania waters. In Pennsylvania, the leading cause of boating-related deaths is capsizing, with the second leading cause being collision with a fixed object. Other causes include collision with a submerged object, ejection from the boat, people falling overboard, fires, and accidents involving skiers. It’s worth noting that fires can sometimes be caused by a malfunction of a component of the boat’s engine, which can be a product’s liability issue. In these cases, you can also sue the manufacturer of the boat and/or engine as a party to the lawsuit.

A Case Study

In one case, a man standing on a boulder swung a long branch at a passing jet skier, causing him to swerve out of the way and into the path of a speeding motorboat. The jet skier was killed as a result. Both the man on the boulder and the driver of the motorboat (who ultimately was discovered to be both speeding and intoxicated) were sued in addition to being charged criminally. They settled out of court with the victim’s family.

Establishing Negligence in Boating Accidents

Just like drivers on roadways, operators of boats owe a duty of care to everyone else on the water. When they operate boats or jet skis while intoxicated, above the speed limit, or in violation of area rules and regulations, they breach this duty of care and become liable for any injuries or harm that occurs as a result. There must be a causal link between the way in which they were negligent and the harm that was caused.

Bringing a Lawsuit

A successful personal injury lawsuit aims to restore you to the position you would have been in financially had the accident not occurred. By bringing a lawsuit, you can seek compensation for all costs related to the injury, including medical and rehabilitation costs, property damage to your boat, and any lost wages or reduced earning potential that occurred as a result of the accident. Additionally, you can pursue compensation for pain and suffering caused by the physical and emotional trauma of the injury.

Schedule a Personal Injury Consultation

If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania boat accident, you have legal avenues available to help you. Schedule a free initial consultation with the  personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.

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