Georgia Boat Accident Lawyers
When the weather gets warmer, many people like to spend time out on the water with their family and friends. Georgia has many beautiful lakes that attract visitors each year, including Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier. While boating is a very popular recreational activity, it can also be dangerous. The United States Coast Guard keeps statistics on the number of boating accidents that occur each year. In 2012, they report that out of 4,515 recreational boating accidents, 651 people were killed and over 3,000 people were injured. Approximately 71% of all fatal boating accidents, the victims drowned and of those, almost 85% were not wearing a life jacket at the time. Some of the leading causes of boating accidents according to Georgia boat accident lawyers include the following:
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time
- The driver was not paying attention
- Improper lookout
- The driver was inexperienced
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failure
- Navigation rules violation
- Force of wave or wake
- Hazardous waters
- Poor weather conditions
The most common types of vessels involved in an accident are open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (19%), and cabin motorboats (15%). Georgia boat accident lawyers advise anyone who operates a watercraft to undergo training to learn how to properly handle the vehicle. When boaters are unfamiliar with maritime laws and boating regulations, they endanger the lives of other people.
Obtaining Compensation For Your Injuries
When someone has been injured due to the negligence of another person, they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. Georgia boat accident lawyers can seek damages for the following:
- Cost of all medical treatment, including emergency room care, ambulance fees, diagnostic tests and prescription medications
- Money for lost wages because the injured victim could not return to work
- Compensation for emotional, physical and mental pain and suffering
- Temporary or permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life because the injury prevented the victim for engaging in recreational activities or hobbies
- Loss of consortium in the injured victim
In some personal injury cases, Georgia boat accident lawyers may seek punitive damages if the defendant’s behavior was malicious or reckless. Punitive damages are used to punish the defendant for their egregious behavior and discourage others from behaving in a similar manner in the future. The State of Georgia places a limit on the amount of punitive damages that can be recovered. However, the cap of $250,000 does not apply in cases that involve alcohol, drugs or intentional harmful acts.
Determining Liability in a Personal Injury Claim
One of the key elements in any personal injury case is to determine who is liable for the accident. The State of Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence “50% bar rule.” This means that the injured party can only recover monetary damages if they were less than 50% at fault. For example, let’s say that the plaintiff is suing for $100,000 but is found to be 20% responsible for the accidents. The comparative negligence law only allows the victim to obtain $80,000 in damages.
Georgia Statute of Limitations
Georgia boat accident lawyers will tell the victim that the law limits the amount of time in which a plaintiff must begin litigation. In the State of Georgia, Georgia boat accident lawyers must file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of their client within two years from the date the injury occurred. However, in some cases this statute of limitations can be extended. If the victim was a minor or mentally incompetent at the time, the period of time in which to pursue a claim is extended. In personal injury claims involving minors, the two-year statute of limitations is suspended until the child’s eighteenth birthday. In cases involving mentally incompetent victims, the law allows them to pursue a claim once they are no longer deemed mentally incompetent.
When to Hire Georgia Boat Accident Lawyers
In a boating accident, there may be more than one party that can be held liable. The captain or operator of the boat may be at fault, or the manufacturer may be to blame for defective equipment. Therefore, it is imperative to hire Georgia boat accident lawyers who have experience in litigating boat accident claims. They will conduct an investigation to determine which party is responsible and the percentage they were at fault. Please contact us today so that we can review the facts of your case.