Enfield residents who enjoy fishing or paddling on the Scantic, or boating on one of the nearby lakes, appreciate the peace that time spent out in the water can bring. Unfortunately, irresponsible boaters could easily ruin the experience by acting carelessly, which could lead to dangerous or even fatal accidents.
If a boater’s negligence caused injury to you or a loved one, a skilled attorney could help you pursue the compensation you deserve. An Enfield boat accident lawyer could help you navigate the process of bringing a claim against the at-fault party or parties.
Common Types of Boating Mishaps
Watercraft accidents could happen in a variety of ways. Negligence, which is a failure to exercise proper caution, is often the root cause of wrecks. Boating mishaps that could lead to injury include:
- Collisions between two boats
- Capsizes when a canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or personal watercraft encounters a wake thrown by a larger vessel
- Falls onboard or overboard due to rough waters, large wakes, or operating at excessive speeds
- Impacts between a vessel and a submerged object
- Forceful contact between a boat and a dock or launching ramp
Many of these accidents result from operator negligence. Using drugs or alcohol while boating is illegal, but still many operators indulge in alcohol while on the water, leading to reckless operation or inattentiveness that causes accidents. Inexperience is also a factor in many boating mishaps, as operators often take their boats out only a few times every summer.
An Enfield injury attorney could review the circumstances of a specific accident to identify parties besides the operator who might have liability. Potentially responsible parties could include a boat’s owner if they were not the operator. The state or local government agency responsible for maintaining the waterway, launch, or dock might have some liability. If mechanical failure had a part in the accident, the boat’s manufacturer could bear some responsibility as well.
Important Boating Laws in Enfield
Under state law, watercraft operators must have a boating license. Connecticut General Statutes §15-140e requires that operators have either a Coast Guard boating license or a certificate confirming they have completed a safe boating course. Personal watercraft operators must complete a safety course specific to those vessels. Vessel owners are responsible for ensuring that anyone operating the boat is properly licensed and able to drive the boat safely.
There are special requirements for boaters who tow water skiers and personal watercraft operators. No one under the age of 16 may operate a vessel towing water skiers, and every boat towing a water skier must have a lookout who is over the age of 12.
Any watercraft accident that causes death, the disappearance of a passenger, or an injury requiring medical attention beyond first aid triggers a responsibility to report. Operators must immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency of the accident and file a written report within 48 hours with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. An attorney well-versed in boating mishap cases could further explain the state’s rules and regulations regarding boating.
A Claimant’s Actions Could Impact Damages
A claimant who is found to be partially responsible for the accident that led to their losses may not be able to receive full compensation for the extent of their injuries. Failure to comply with the above boating laws, or any others that apply in a particular situation, could be evidence of negligence.
Negligent plaintiffs are entitled to damages as long as they were not primarily responsible for their injuries. However, their damages will be reduced by an amount that reflects their partial responsibility for the accident. A skilled Enfield attorney could help establish a plaintiff’s lack of fault in a boating mishap case.
Reach out to an Enfield Boating Accident Attorney Today
Seeking damages after a boating accident could be a complicated endeavor. Trying to handle a claim without sound legal counsel might cost you significant time and money.
An Enfield boat accident lawyer could work to secure you an adequate settlement that provides appropriate compensation for your losses. Schedule a consultation today to review your case with an experienced legal professional.