Though less common than car accidents, boating accidents occur on a daily basis and can cause severe damage and significant injuries. In 2016, the United States Coast Guard reported 4,463 boating accidents, more than half of which resulted in injuries. If you suffered an injury in an Arizona boating accident, contact the Phoenix personal injury lawyers Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., for representation in your claim.
Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents
One of the most common causes of boating accidents is careless or inattentive operation. Many people view boating as a leisure activity, which leads them to take fewer precautions when operating a boat. They may make reckless decisions or not focus when driving. Boating requires just as much attention as driving a car, as it can lead to injuries that are just as severe. Also, like accidents involving cars, drinking or intoxication is a common cause of boating accidents. Alcoholic beverages and boating are commonly combined but can lead to deadly results.
Other boating accidents occur because of water hazards. Several different items can be floating in the water, which can affect a boater’s ability to safely navigate the vessel. Additionally, there may be people engaged in water activities ahead. If no one is paying proper attention, a boat can easily collide with another object or even hit someone in the water.
Boaters are more likely to put an inexperienced driver behind the wheel. As mentioned above, they often feel as if boating is a more relaxed, less dangerous situation. Without understanding the hazards that accompany boating, boaters may put teenagers or new drivers behind the wheel for fun, believing they can learn through experience. Inexperienced drivers are one of the top causes of boating accidents.
The driver does not always cause boating accidents. Passenger recklessness also causes many injuries and fatalities on the water.
Arizona’s Largest Bodies of Water
There are several large lakes and bodies of water where boating and other water activities are popular. Any place where boating is popular is a likely spot for boating accidents. These lakes include:
- Lake Mead – 28,537,000 Acre-feet of water
- Roosevelt Lake – 1,653,043 Acre-feet of water
- Lake Powell – 27,000,000 Acre-feet of water
- Lake Mohave – 1,818,330 Acre-feet of water
- San Carlos Lake – 900,000 Acre-feet of water
- Lake Pleasant – 688,500 Acre-feet of water
- Lake Havasu – 648,000 Acre-feet of water
Boating Accident Liability
In most situations, the operator of the boat is liable for accidents. The main part of proving liability focuses on proving negligence. With boating accidents, proving negligence is a bit less clear than in other personal injury cases. Some of the most common boating accident circumstances include when:
- A boat hits another boat’s wake
- One boat hits another boat
- A boat hits a wave
- A boat strikes an object
Because Arizona law follows the comparative negligence rule, the court would assign percentages of responsibility to each party and base compensation off the percentages. For instance, if one boater was drinking, slowing reaction time, and the other was driving recklessly, both parties may be at fault.
Accidents caused by your boat hitting the wake of another boat are less clear. Liability depends on factors such as:
- Size of the wake
- The boat’s speed
- The visibility of the wake
- Boat traffic around the accident
- Whether the operator warned passengers of the oncoming wake
- Whether it occurred on a motorboat or sailboat
Both the operator of the boat who was in the accident and the operator of the boat who created the wake could be liable for the injuries.
If the accident occurred because of a collision with an object in the water, liability depends on the circumstances. For example, if the operator was driving recklessly and the boat hit an object, Arizona law would most likely find the operator responsible.
Boating Accident Attorney
Injuries suffered on the water can be severe and debilitating. If another person’s negligence caused you to experience an injury in a boating accident, you may be eligible to file a claim. Contact the Phoenix boating accident attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., for dedicated and experienced representation in your Phoenix boating accident claim.