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Arizona Boat Accident Lawyers
Arizona has 63.73 square miles of water, including over 50 creeks and rivers and 128 lakes. The Grand Canyon State may be known for its stunning deserts, but there are many opportunities for swimming, water skiing, boating, and fishing.
There may be nothing quite like watching the sunset from your boat on Lyman Lake, the Imperial Reservoir, or your favorite fishing spot, but boating comes with risks. Unfortunately, boaters face the risk of accidents and serious injuries every time they’re on the water.
When a serious boating accident causes you to lose work or requires you to pay for hospital bills or boat repairs, it may be time to contact a boat accident attorney at Gerber Injury Law. You have rights, and our family-oriented firm will fight with your best interests in mind. Our experienced team of attorneys has a 99% success rate, and we’re happy to set up a free consultation so you get to talk to a boating accident lawyer and ask questions before you decide what to do next.
What State Laws Could Impact My Boating Accident Claim?
To keep everyone safe on the water, Arizona has rules and laws to prevent collisions. For example, all boat owners need to register their watercraft with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Just like when you’re on the road, boating has its own set of navigation rules you must follow. You can learn these rules as well as safety best practices by taking a boater education course with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
If you’re an avid boater, your watercraft also needs to meet all the current marking and registration requirements.
Have you been in a boating accident? In situations where the other watercraft operator violates the law, Arizona criminal codes may apply, and that person may face criminal charges, fines, and even jail time.
If someone’s negligence caused your boating accident and injuries, Arizona civil law may allow you to file a claim. You may be able to seek compensation for your boat repairs, medical bills, lost time at work, and other losses. Depending on your situation, you may have a claim against another operator, the manufacturer of faulty boating equipment, or another liable party.
One thing that sometimes confuses people is the idea of negligence. Unless you’re an attorney, you may have a hard time understanding whether negligence played a role in your injuries and whether you have a case. Check out this video the team at Gerber Injury Law has put together to help you understand negligence more. While you’re there, check out the other videos we’ve created to help you understand your options and your rights after a serious injury.
Or, better yet, reach out to our friendly team at Gerber Injury Law for a free consultation where we can explain whether you might have a claim. Our team doesn’t use jargon, so you’ll walk away from your conversation understanding exactly how Arizona laws affect your case and what your choices are.
What Causes Boating Accidents in Arizona?
The 2022 United States Coast Guard annual report found that Arizona had 124 boating accidents in 2022, including 12 fatalities, amounting to over $1.8 million in damages. These represent only the boating accidents reported to the Coast Guard.
So, what causes these boating accidents?
Boating Under the Influence
Arizona’s operating under the influence (OUI) law states that any watercraft operator is over the legal limit if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
Those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause boating accidents because their response times and judgment are impaired. They can face fines and jail time as well as civil suits from those they injure.
Operators who speed can lose control of their watercraft and have a harder time stopping in time when they see an obstacle. On some waterways, there are posted speed limits.
In “no wake” areas, operators need to adopt a speed that doesn’t create a wake. This is always less than five miles an hour. In all other areas, operators need to operate their watercraft at a safe speed for the conditions.
Distraction is deadly on our roads and on our waterways. When operators are distracted, they can miss navigational signs or obstacles, which can cause boating accidents.
Failure to Obey Navigational Signs and Rules
It is the responsibility of operators to understand the rules Arizona has created for boating and to follow the law. They’re also required to follow any posted signs in waterways.
Operators who don’t have many hours of experience can make dangerous mistakes. Taking safety training is an important way to prevent these types of accidents.
Storms, rain, poor visibility, and other bad weather can make it hard to control a watercraft or to see obstacles in the water. It can be hard to stay away when the water calls, but it’s up to operators to check weather forecasts and to stay off the water when conditions are unsafe.
Poorly designed or maintained watercraft and other equipment can perform unexpectedly, causing accidents. Boat manufacturers can be held liable if they create watercraft, safety equipment, or boat parts that lead to accidents and injuries.
What Are Some Common Types of Boating Accidents in Arizona — And What Injuries Do They Cause?
No two Arizona boating accidents are the same, but many incidents on the water involve:
Collisions. When one watercraft hits an object in the water or another watercraft, it can cause serious injuries, including drownings, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and other life-threatening harm.
Drowning injuries. Anyone who falls from a watercraft can take in water and struggle to breathe or get back on the boat. Without help, someone who can’t get to dry land or onboard can lose consciousness and can pass away.
Fires. Engine trouble, a fuel leak, or mechanical problems can cause a watercraft to catch fire. This can cause burns and drowning if occupants can’t get to land in time.
Wake-related accidents. A “wake” happens when a watercraft is moving fast enough to cause a wave of water. If another boat causes a wake, it can make it harder for you to navigate your watercraft and can even cause you to capsize.
What Should I Do If I’m In a Boating Accident in Arizona?
Even if you’re an experienced boater and take Arizona watercraft laws very seriously, you can still find yourself in a boating accident. Here’s what to do:
Call emergency services if you or anyone at the scene is seriously hurt. Just like in a car accident, you’re obligated to stop and offer aid if anyone at the scene is hurt. The additional complication is that you may need to call for help to get your watercraft to shore to make sure emergency personnel can get to anyone who’s hurt.
Exchange contact information. If there’s another watercraft involved, exchange addresses, names, and the identifying numbers of your vessels with the other boaters.
Take care of your health. You may have been lucky enough to walk away from a boating accident with minor or even no injuries, but it can be hard to tell. Your adrenaline is high, which can hide pain, and you may be so upset after the accident that you miss symptoms. It’s best to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible, just to be safe.
Report the accident. Call authorities if you suspect another watercraft operator is under the influence or there is any other illegal activity. You will also need to report the accident directly to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. You must report within 48 hours if someone has died or been injured because of the accident or within five days if property damage in the incident is over $500. In addition, report the accident to your insurance company.
Contact a boating accident attorney. Even if you have a great insurance policy in place, it’s worth your time to talk to a boat accident lawyer. You’ll find out how much your boating accident is likely to cost and how the attorney may be able to negotiate with your insurer to get you a fair recovery. Your boat accident attorney can also explain if you can file a legal claim. You’ll be able to see more clearly how much compensation you can get and what it would take to secure financial recovery.
Do I Qualify For Compensation?
In Arizona, if a vessel operator’s or another party’s negligence caused the accident or your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation. For example, if another watercraft operator was under the influence and crashed into your boat, you may be able to file a claim. You can seek financial recovery for all your accident-related losses, including:
Lost income if you can’t work because of your injuries
The current and expected future medical expenses related to your accident injuries
Pain and suffering
Boat repair or replacement costs
Rarely, liable parties also need to pay punitive damages. These are awarded if the at-fault party showed a serious disregard for other people’s safety. The idea is that these additional damages will discourage the person from acting recklessly in the future.
We want to make it very clear that if you’ve been injured in a boating accident, the costs of medical care, lost wages, boat repairs, and other expenses can add up quickly. If these costs aren’t covered by insurance or a legal claim, they’re coming out of your pocket, and that can cause serious financial worries.
Attorney Ken Gerber and the rest of the team at Gerber Injury Law have met with clients who have come to us because they’ve literally been losing sleep due to financial worries. Our job is to get to work and pursue any compensation possible so you can worry less.
It’s often hard for someone to tell whether they qualify for compensation after a boating accident. That’s why speaking with a boating accident lawyer is a good next step. As soon as possible after your boating accident, contact Gerber Injury Law for a free consultation. A boating accident attorney on our team can review your insurance policy and take a look at how much your total accident costs may be and how much compensation you may qualify for. With this information in hand, you’ll be in a better position to decide what action you want to take next to protect your rights.
Do I Really Need a Boat Accident Lawyer?
For many boat owners in Arizona, their boat is their “baby.” Seeing their boat damaged and experiencing an injury is extremely upsetting, but many boat owners breathe a sigh of relief knowing they have an insurance policy.
The trouble is that insurance companies are responsible for making money for their shareholders. They are not obligated to give you the maximum payout for your losses and injuries. In fact, they have a financial incentive not to. When they pay you less, insurance companies profit more.
Even if you’re very sure you have a good policy and aren’t certain you have the right to compensation, there’s no risk in speaking with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer at Gerber Injury Law. We have nearly thirty years of experience, including trial and negotiation experience, so we have the option of taking your case all the way to court if that’s the best way to refuse a lowball offer.
Attorneys Ken Gerber and the rest of the team work hard to earn the trust and respect of our clients. In fact, we’re very proud of the fact that many people come to us through the enthusiastic recommendations of our clients. Our clients really appreciate that we treat them like family and work tirelessly on their behalf.
Contact Gerber Injury Law Today
When you need a boat accident attorney, what you really need is a team of legal professionals willing to look out for you. At Gerber Injury Law, we’ve intentionally kept our law firm small while creating a large network of professionals who can help us build strong cases.
We also only focus on personal injury law, so we have an advantage over firms with broader scopes. These decisions have allowed us to recover over $100 million for our clients while providing tailored legal strategies and a respectful, caring approach for you.
We’re proud to serve Surprise, El Mirage, Glenville, Buckeye, and all of Arizona. If you need a boating accident lawyer, contact Gerber Injury Law as soon as possible after your injury to set up a free consultation.
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