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Boston Boating Accident Lawyers

You May Be Entitled to Damages for Your Injuries

Boating can be a relaxing and therapeutic hobby, but like any vehicle, a boat is susceptible to accidents and collisions. Boating accidents happen every year, especially with the increase of registered recreational vessels.

Boating accidents claims can be complex to litigate, often times involving issues of boat or equipment defects, various liable parties, jurisdiction, and insurance disputes. Our experienced boating accident attorneys in Boston understand how to navigate these ropes to support your claim, and aim to get you the maximum amount of recovery.

Why choose Mitcheson & Lee LLP for your boating accident case?

  • We've recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for our injured clients
  • We deliver personalized, one-on-one representation for every client
  • We are intimately familiar with Massachusetts boating and maritime laws
  • We are backed by a proven history of success litigating against insurance companies

Call (617) 934-3207 today to schedule a free consultation at Mitcheson & Lee LLP

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2015, there were 11,867,049 registered recreational vessels in the U.S., up 0.5% from the year before. In that same year, there were 4158 reported boating accidents, 14% of which resulted in deaths. About 71% of boating accidents occurred where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. In terms of the types of boats more likely involved in fatal boating accidents, open motorboats account for 46% of deaths, kayaks at 12%, and canoes at 11%.

The primary cause of boating accidents may include, but are not limited to:

  • Operating under the influence.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Failure to vent.
  • Improper lookout.
  • Restricted vision.
  • Violation of navigation rules.
  • Overloading.
  • Machinery Failure.
  • Inadequately trained operators.
  • Operator distraction.
  • Inclement or unsafe weather conditions.
  • Fire on the boat.
  • Operating in hazardous waters.
  • Equipment failure.
  • Operating in congested waters.
  • Sharp turns.

For more information on boating safety, prevention, and statistics, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Massachusetts Boat and Recreation Vehicle Safety Bureau are great resources to refer to.

Eligible Compensation for Boating Accident Victims

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident caused by another party's negligence, you may have a claim to compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and other income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Vessel repair or replacement costs
  • Wrongful death (if a loved one was killed)

Massachusetts State Laws on Boating Accidents

Massachusetts has a state law governing boating accidents. M.G.L. c. 90B, § 1, defines “boating accident” as “…an occurrence in which a waterborne vessel subject to this chapter is involved, whether or not there has been any actual collision, and which results in damage by or to such vessel or its equipment, or by or to an object or person being towed, pushed or propelled by such vessel, or in which there is an injury to any person, loss of life, or disappearance of any person under circumstances which indicate the possibility of death or injury or disappearance of a vessel other than by theft.”

Boating Under the Influence Accidents

One common cause of boating accidents is the operation of a vessel under the influence of alcoholic or narcotics. M.G.L. c. 90B, § 8 prohibits the operation of any vessel on the waters of Massachusetts while the operator is under the influence intoxicating liquor, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressant or stimulant substances, or glue vapors. According this statute, violators will face either a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1000, imprisonment for not more than 2.5 years, or both. The violator may additional have his or her boating license revoked or suspended.

Boating Safety Equipment Violations

Another cause of boating accidents is the operator’s failure to equip a boat with safety equipment. A boat is required to be equipped with the proper lighting, signaling and fire extinguishing and control devices according to the boat’s class pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90B, § 5. In addition, every boat is to be equipped with a Coast Guard approved flotation device for each person according to M.G.L. c. 90B, § 5A.

What to Do If You're Involved in a Boating Accident in Massachusetts

In the event of a boating accident, the operator involved is to provide his name, address, and identification of his vessel to any injured person and to the owner of any damaged property pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90B, § 9. And according to this statute, should the damage exceed $500, the operator or any authorized person shall immediately notify the Division of Law Enforcement of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement. For every accident, the operator is to submit a written report within 5 days to the Division. In cases where a death resulted, the report shall be submitted within 48 hours.

Learn More About What Your Case is Worth

The proven Boston boating accident lawyers at Mitcheson & Lee LLP are ready to hear your story. Your health and safety are our top priorities. The goal at our firm is to obtain justice and maximum compensation for our clients and their loved ones.

If you or someone you know was injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of someone else, contact us online today or call (617) 934-3207.