When you spend time on one of Georgia’s pristine waterways—boating, kayaking, waterskiing, or sailing—you must balance your outdoor adventure with the rules the state imposes to keep everyone safe. While you may carry the required personal flotation devices and refrain from drinking too much, other boaters who are not as conscientious often cause accidents with injuries to others.
Failing to equip a boat properly or drive one responsibly endangers swimmers, other boaters, personal watercraft operators, and sailors. When another boat operator’s careless or reckless conduct results in your injuries, a seasoned injury attorney could help you pursue justice. A Dalton boat accident lawyer could investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, collect evidence to prove another person’s fault, and seek comprehensive compensation for your losses.
Georgia requires most water vessels operating in the state to be registered, with appropriate decals displayed onboard. Boaters born after 1998 must take a state-approved safety course, although Georgia encourages all boaters to do so.
Depending on the size and type of watercraft, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division reports that boaters must carry specific equipment on board, including:
Some equipment is contingent on the size of the vessel and the age of those onboard. For instance, children younger than 13 years of age must always wear PFDs, while older boaters must have one available. Required equipment saves lives and could be cited in a negligence case if the lack of certain equipment causes an accident with injuries. An experienced Dalton boat accident attorney could review the facts of a specific incident to determine fault and negligence.
Negligence is established when a person with a duty to act in a way a reasonable person in a similar situation would act fails to do so—breaching their duty and causing an accident resulting in injuries. If any of these elements is lacking, negligence cannot be established.
For example, the boat captain who forgets to carry the vessel’s registration is not negligent if an intoxicated passenger wearing a PFD falls out of the boat and breaks an arm because forgetting the decal did not cause the accident. But if the boat captain does not carry life preservers or PFDs and the same passenger falls overboard and drowns, the captain may be at least partially responsible because a life preserver or PFD probably would have saved the passenger from drowning. In such a situation, a determined boat injury lawyer in Dalton could hold the boat captain accountable by fighting for wrongful death damages.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 9-3-33, people injured in boating accidents due to someone else’s carelessness have two years to file a claim to recover compensation for their losses. Limited exceptions apply. Failing to file a timely lawsuit means the injured party will lose the right entirely.
Hopefully, you will never be the victim of a boating accident. But if you are, consider how you will get by. You may miss work, lose your paycheck, and incur drastic medical bills, although you still must take care of your family.
When someone else’s negligence put you in this devastating position, you deserve compensation. Call a Dalton boat accident lawyer today to coordinate a strategy that could lead to a settlement or damages award.