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Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson
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West Virginia Boat Accident Lawyers

Recreational boating is a fun pastime that is popular across West Virginia. Whether you are kayaking, white-water rafting, or water-skiing, there is much to enjoy. Unfortunately, boating accidents are much more common than people realize. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a boating accident in West Virginia, contact our West Virginia boat accident lawyers for a free consultation on your legal options.

Common Boating Accidents

Our accident attorneys are prepared to help you and your family if someone has been hurt or killed in an accident involving any of the following:

  • Motorboats
  • Sailboats
  • Kayakers
  • Swimmers
  • Duck boats
  • Jet skis, wave runners, or other personal watercraft (PWC)
  • River cruises
  • Water skiers

The most common types of boating accidents include collisions with another recreational vessel, crashing into a fixed object like a rock or tree, flooding or swamping, grounding, and falls overboard. Any one of these accidents can lead to serious injury or worse, particularly given the lack of rescue personnel available in an isolated setting. We can help you and your family recover if someone negligently injured you in any of these situations.

Serious Injury Can Occur in a West Virginia Boat Accident

Motor vehicle accidents already pose serious risks to life and limb, and boating accidents have the added element of being on the water and the risk of drowning as a result. According to data from the U.S. Coast Guard, the vast majority (around 71%) of boat accident fatalities resulted from drowning. On top of the added risk of drowning, being in the middle of a lake or other isolated area with a body of water also means that rescue and medical attention will likely be delayed, increasing the risk of serious injury or death. If someone gets caught in a propeller, crashes into rocks on a rapid, or gets tangled in a rope and dragged below the surface, emergency workers may be too late to stop catastrophic injury.

Boating Accident Statistics Reveal the Dangers of Boating and Operator Negligence

According to a report from the Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, there were 4,291 recreational boating accidents across the U.S. in 2017, resulting in 658 deaths. The highest number of accidents occurred in the summer, peaking in July with 114 accidents. The vessel type with the highest number of recreational boating fatalities is an open motorboat, followed by canoes/kayaks, pontoon boats, PWCs, and cabin motorboats. Open motorboats were involved in the accidental deaths of 305 people across the country in 2017, and they injured another 1,000.

The Coast Guard’s list of common causes of recreational boating accidents makes it clear that boat operators commit many of the same driving sins as do drivers on U.S. roadways, and they are just as dangerous. The most common factors associated with boating accidents, in order of frequency, include:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Machinery failure
  • Alcohol use
  • Excessive speed
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Weather
  • Hazardous waters
  • Force of wave/wake

The vast majority of the accidents reported by the Coast Guard were caused by some sort of operator error. If you were a passenger in someone else’s boat or were swimming or driving your own boat and someone collides with you due to their negligent or reckless behavior, you should be compensated for your injuries.

Know Your Rights

Boat operators who flaunt safety regulations, consume alcohol, or operate their boat while distracted should be forced to compensate you and your family for any injury or other damages they have caused. Boat accident cases can be tricky to prove, given that the evidence by its nature tends to wash away. But a skilled boat accident lawyer can help you collect the necessary evidence and prove your case in order to hold accountable the person or persons who caused your accident. Our West Virginia boating accident attorneys can help you recover for property damage, injury, medical bills, loss of limb, pain and suffering, and emotional distress associated with a serious accident, among other types of damages. We will work with you to maximize your recovery and make sure that the appropriate parties pay you the compensation you are owed after your accident.

Help Is Available For Boat Accident Injuries In West Virginia

For dependable, professional, and knowledgeable legal help after a West Virginia boat accident, contact the Martisnburg law firm of Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson for a free consultation on your case at 304-263-0900, or 304-LAWYERS.

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