Being out on the water is one of the best ways to enjoy summer. However, boating also comes with risks. Even when you take every safety precaution possible, you may still find yourself in an accident due to factors outside of your control. If you are involved in an unexpected boating accident, here’s what you should do.
1. Check for Injuries
The first step you need to take after an accident is to check yourself and other passengers for any injuries. Serious injuries will require immediate medical attention. However, it is also important to note that some injuries may not be noticeable right away. Additionally, adrenaline rushing through the body after an accident tends to mask the pain of being injured. In this case, you may not feel hurt at all, but actually have a serious injury.
Even if you don’t feel hurt or see any physical injury, don’t make any definitive statements that you aren’t injured. If you do discover injuries in the next few days and choose to file a personal injury claim, the fact that you unknowingly said you weren’t injured at the scene can hurt your case.
2. Call For Help
The next thing you should do after an accident is call for help to prevent further damage or injury. You may call the local police, the Coast Guard, 911 for medical attention, or even flag down another boat on the water.
3. Collect Evidence
In all of the chaos after an accident, you may be tempted to skip this step and rely on your memory and passenger statements. However, collecting evidence is crucial in order to prove liability and damages.
When possible, take pictures of:
- Damage to your boat and the other driver’s boat
- The other driver’s contact and insurance information
- The scene of the accident from different angles
- Anything you believe may have caused the accident (beer cans on the other boat)
- Safety devices onboard
You and the other driver may report conflicting information about the accident; having photographic evidence can clear up confusion and help tell the true story of what happened.
4. File an Accident Report
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you are required by law to file a report.
You must file a marine police report if:
- A person is killed
- A person disappears from the boat
- A person is injured for more than 72 hours
- The accident resulted in over $2,000 of property damage
You have 10 days after the incident to submit a report.
5. Contact an Attorney
Working with a personal injury attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to after an accident. Insurance companies know that you want the settlement process over with quickly and will offer you less than you deserve, in the hopes that you will take it without further negotiation. When you work with an attorney, they can handle communication with the insurance companies and provide guidance about what is a fair settlement.
At Cunningham Bounds, LLC, we have obtained record-breaking settlements for our clients. Call us today at (251) 299-0101 to set up a consultation and discuss your case with our Alabama personal injury team.