Families and individuals of all ages enjoy boating as a recreational activity. During the spring and summer months, many people rent boats for water skiing, tubing, cruising about a lake or other body of water, or simply anchoring in the middle of a lake to swim. Negligent boating can result in tragic accidents, however, due to lack of proper safety devices or inattentive boat operation.
Accidents and injuries may also result from defects in the design or manufacture of a boat or any of the safety devices employed while boat users are on board. The U.S. Coastguard investigates claims regarding recreational boats and equipment, including those related to reported or suspected defects. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls boats and boat equipment reported or suspected to have defects due to poor manufacture or design, or inadequate warnings or instructions.
If your child has sustained an injury in a boating accident as a result of a defective product or someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible. Call child boating accident lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to schedule a free consultation regarding the particulars of your case.
The Importance of Personal Flotation Devices
The law requires that all recreational boats be outfitted with an adequate number of personal flotation devices (PFDs) for every passenger on board. Children must have life vests that are sized for their small frames and statures; vests that are too large will easily slip off and fail to provide proper safety protection.
Boat-rental companies bear the responsibility of ensuring that all passengers have life vests that are functioning and readily accessible. If your child has suffered an injury as a result of a boat-rental company’s failure to provide your child with a proper life jacket, the company and the employee who rented the boat to you may be held liable for any injuries sustained by your child as a result.
Children are much more difficult to see than adults when they are swimming or floating in water. Boat operators have a duty to watch for swimmers of all ages when navigating these powerful, motorized devices through open water. Negligent boating, especially in the form of boating while intoxicated, can result in severe injury or death to swimming children or children in other boats.
Legal Liability for Injuries Sustained in Boating Accidents
Boating accidents may result from someone’s negligence or from a defect in a boat’s design or manufacture. The cause of a boating accident resulting in injuries to your child will determine which type of claim will be brought.
The negligence of any number of parties may result in a boating accident in which your child sustains an injury.
- Negligence of Boat Operators
If your child sustained an injury while in a boat operated by a boat-rental or other company’s employee, that company as well as its employee may be held liable for the injuries sustained by your child if the boat operator’s negligence is determined to have been a cause of those injuries.
If the injury was caused by a failure of the boat company to provide proper PFDs, the company itself may be found liable in negligence if the absence of a PFD for your child was a cause of your child’s injury.
- Boat Collisions
Boating accidents often occur when two (or more) boats collide. The liability in such cases is determined in much the same way as is the liability for injuries sustained in other vehicle accidents. If you were the operator of one of the boats involved in the collision, you may be found to have contributed to the accident’s occurrence through your own negligence. The degree of fault attributable to each boat operator will need to be determined in such a case.
- Violation of Boating RegulationsAccidents often occur as a result of a boat owner’s violation of boating regulations. If your child’s injuries were caused as a result of a boat operators violation of regulations, you may be able to recover damages for the injuries sustained if the violation is determined to constitute negligence.
Federal (see chapter 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations) and state regulations include requirements that boat operators remain attentive and watchful for any potentially hazardous conditions. Regulations regarding boat speed and operation under certain weather conditions may also apply.
Accidents may result, for instance, when a boat gets into another boat’s wake. The particular circumstances of the incident will determine the existence or absence of negligence on the part of either or both operators.
A wake that is too large because of excessive speed may impose liability on the part of the operator who had exceeded an acceptable speed. Collisions with submerged objects may also be caused by an operator’s negligence. If the objects are known to an operator, but the operator fails to take precautions to avoid them through the use of maps or other positioning devices, the operator may be liable for injuries sustained as a result of a collision with the submerged object.
Boating accidents may also occur as a result of a defect in the manufacture or design of a boat or any of its component parts or the same sort of defect in safety equipment. If your child sustained an injury in a boating accident and a defect in the boat or in a PFD or other safety device is found to have been a cause of your child’s injuries, the manufacturer and anyone else in the chain of distribution of the defective product may be held liable in a product-liability action for the injuries suffered by your child.
If your child has been injured in a boating accident as a result of a defective product or someone’s negligence, contact child boating-accident lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal options.