Boating as a pastime is more popular than ever, with millions of people enjoying the water each year. However, devasting accidents can occur if a boat operator fails to keep a proper lookout for danger. Boat operators who violate their duty to keep a proper lookout can cause serious and potentially fatal injuries.
A skilled boat accident attorney could be helpful if you believe your injuries resulted from a boat operator’s failure to keep a proper lookout. Compensation can be difficult to recover, and a lawsuit might be the best option to recover the maximum amount to help with recovery. There are also important filing requirements for boat accident lawsuits, so filing in the correct court promptly will be vital.
The experienced boat accident attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. can help if you were injured by a boat operator’s failure to keep a proper lookout. Call us at (305) 204-5369 for a free case review.
The Boat Operator’s Responsibility to Keep a Proper Lookout
One of the primary responsibilities of a boat operator is to maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing at all times. When a boat operator fails to keep a proper lookout and causes an accident, they could be held liable for the injuries that result. Like car drivers on the road, boat operators should scan the water for potential danger.
To maintain a proper lookout, a boat operator should have visibility of the water in all directions, including from the bow and port and starboard sides. There should also be nothing on the helm that could block the boat operator’s view of the surrounding water. A boat operator must also maintain visibility of potential hazards nearby, like other boats, swimmers, and markers.
Environmental factors could also affect a boat operator’s ability to keep a proper lookout. Boat operators should be on the lookout for inclement weather that could threaten the safety of those onboard. Further, distractions from passengers and intoxicated passengers can also interfere with a boat operator’s ability to keep a proper lookout. Our boat accident attorneys can help you determine if a boat operator’s failure to keep a proper lookout contributed to your accident.
Suing for a Boat Accident Caused by the Failure to Keep a Proper Lookout
Boat accidents caused by a boat operator’s failure to keep a proper lookout are some of the most complex cases in personal injury law. The maritime laws controlling waterways will largely dictate where your lawsuit should be filed and how long you will have to do so. Once your lawsuit is filed, you will need to prove that the boat operator’s failure to keep a proper lookout caused your injuries.
Federal vs. State Waterways
Waterways come under the jurisdiction of either the federal government or a state government, depending on the characteristics of the body of water. If a waterway is completely within a state’s borders, without coming into contact with another state, it is considered that state’s property. It is considered federal waters if the waterway adjoins more than one state. Examples of federal waterways include the Atlantic Ocean, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The jurisdiction of the waterway that your accident occurred in is important because it will usually determine what court your lawsuit is filed in. Typically, you would file your boat accident lawsuit in federal court if your accident happened in a federal body of water. If your accident occurred in a state waterway, you would need to file your lawsuit in the appropriate state court.
The jurisdiction of the waterway will also determine how long you must file your boat accident lawsuit. Each state and the federal government have a statute of limitations that sets the time limit to file a lawsuit before the court no longer hears the case. The federal statute of limitations to file your boat accident is four years from the date of the accident. State deadlines differ and can be anywhere from two to four years to file, so it is important to confirm your state’s statute of limitations before it passes by. However, one thing they all have in common is that there are very few exceptions to the filing deadline. In most cases, if you miss the statute of limitations, your case will be over, and you will not be able to recover compensation through the court. Our boat accident attorneys can help you identify the jurisdiction your accident occurred in so that your lawsuit is timely filed in the correct venue.
Proving an Improper Lookout Boat Accident Case
A boat operator has a duty of care to their passengers and other boaters and swimmers around them. Maritime regulations require every vessel to maintain a proper lookout by sight, hearing, and all available means appropriate under the circumstances. When a boat operator fails to keep a proper lookout and causes an accident, they could be held liable for the injuries that result.
To prove your lawsuit, evidence will need to show that the boat operator failed to keep a proper lookout, and their failure to maintain a proper lookout caused the accident in which you were injured. You will also need to demonstrate with evidence that you suffered expenses and losses due to your injuries. If these elements can be proved in court, you could be awarded economic damages, like lost wages and medical expenses. You could also be awarded non-economic damages, which consist of the pain and emotional suffering you have endured since being injured in the accident. Our skilled boat accident attorneys can help you collect important evidence and develop legal strategies that best suit your case.
Our Attorneys for Boat Accidents Caused by Failure to Keep Proper Lookout Can Help
Our boat accident attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., have years of experience serving victims injured in accidents caused by an operator failing to keep a proper lookout. For a free case assessment, call us at (305) 204-5369.