Were You Seriously Injured in a Boat Accident? Contact Our Office for Help
Anyone who lives or visits the Portland area likely knows that it is a wonderful place for boating. People around the Portland area have many opportunities to get out on the water, whether it is in their spare time or to earn a living. You can head out to one of the many lakes in the region, the Columbia, Snake, or Willamette Rivers, or even venture over to the Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of fishing boats and barges on the water, as well as cruise lines that travel from the Port of Portland for scenic voyages along the west coastline.
No matter what type of boating is involved, there are always serious risks to boat operators, crew, and passengers. If someone is negligent and an accident occurs, victims can suffer severe injuries or even fatal drowning. According to statistics published by the U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon had an average of 63 reported boating accidents per year over five years, as well as an average of 12 fatalities per year. In addition to the fatalities, many more people suffered catastrophic injuries.
Injuries from boating accidents can be extremely costly in financial, physical, and emotional ways. Boat operators and owners are required to act in a reasonably safe manner to prevent harm to passengers and other boaters. When they fail to do so, they are acting negligently and can be held liable for the losses of accidents victims.
Boat accident cases can be complex, as admiralty and maritime laws often come into play in addition to Oregon state law. These are highly complicated laws and boating accident victims should always seek help from an attorney who fully understands these laws and how to apply them to injury cases. If you have been injured on the water, please do not hesitate to contact Rizk Law in Portland for a free consultation. We can advise you of your rights under the law and help our clients hold any negligent parties accountable for their losses.
Causes of Boating Accidents
Like other types of vehicle accidents, there can be many different causes of boating accidents. In some cases, a boat accident may be truly unpreventable, however, most accidents could be avoided if everyone had taken the necessary care. The following are some examples of negligence that cause boating accidents;
- Inexperienced boat operators
- Distracted boat operators, which is common on recreational boat trips
- Boat operators who are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Excessive speed
- Making sharp turns too fast
- Not having the necessary safety equipment – such as life vests – on a boat
- Overcrowding of a boat
- Allowing passengers to sit or stand in unsafe places while a boat is moving
- Not following proper safety protocols in emergency situations
- Not following all of the rules of the waterway
- Negligent hiring or supervision by commercial boat companies
- Not performing necessary inspections or maintenance on a boat
- Boating in dangerous or restricted areas
- Defectively manufactured boats
Any of the above can result in a boat crashing into the shore, into another vessel, or into an obstacle. People may also get thrown overboard or boat operators may injure swimmers, skiers, tubers, or those riding on personal watercraft.
Boat passengers may also be seriously injured in the absence of a crash. For example, passengers on ferries, cruise ships, or tour boats may slip and fall due to dangerous conditions on the boat deck. Cruise passengers may also be assaulted if a ship fails to provide adequate security. Many amenities on cruise ships can also result in accidents and injuries to passengers. People can get injured on excursions or when they rent jet skis. As you can see, there are numerous circumstances under which anyone working on a boat or taking a boat ride can suffer severe injuries or drowning.
Losses from Boat-related Injuries
We all know that treating an injury can be expensive and boat-related injuries can be particularly serious. A crash can result in a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more. If you are thrown overboard, you can experience a near-drowning incident, which can cause anoxic brain injuries and permanent damage to the lungs, among other organs. Many boat accident victims require emergency treatment and may require extensive treatment for a long period of time.
Some losses at issue in boat injury cases include:
- Medical bills – Boat accident victims can incur bills for emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitative treatment, medications, medical equipment, home health assistance, and the estimated costs of future treatment.
- Lost earnings – Serious injuries will often prevent a victim from working some time while they are recovering, resulting in the loss of wages. If a victim suffers permanent disabilities, they may lose significant earning power for the rest of their lives and should be compensated for all estimated future lost income.
- Pain and suffering – Not all damages are tied to financial losses. Boat accident victims can seek compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced from their injuries. These accidents can also be traumatic, especially in cases of near-drowning. Victims may experience mental injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and can recover for their mental trauma, as well.
- Permanent disabilities – Some injuries, including brain injuries, can result in permanent impairments that affect a victim for the rest of their life. These disabilities can require many adjustments and can limit a person’s opportunities and ability to enjoy their life as they once did.
- Wrongful death – Some boat accidents tragically result in a victim’s death. When this happens, family members may have the right to seek financial recovery for the losses associated with the wrongful death.
Consult with a Portland Boating Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Rizk Law can help boating accident victims hold negligent parties liable for all of their injury-related losses. We have experience handling these complicated cases and are here to help. If you would like to discuss your rights after a boat accident, please call 503-245-5677 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.