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Boat Accident FAQs

Boat Accident

Do Massachusetts and Rhode Island require boaters to wear personal flotation devices (PFDs)?

In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, only certain boaters are required to wear PFDs. However, all boats are required by law to have a certain number of PFDs on board. Even though not every passenger is required to wear a PFD, you’re more likely to survive in a boat accident if you do wear one. You can still pursue a claim even if you were not wearing a life jacket at the time of your accident.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a boating accident claim in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?

Typically, you have 3 years after the accident to file a claim. However, the sooner you file your claim, the sooner you’ll be able to recover the compensation you deserve.

Do I have to pay money upfront to hire a boat accident lawyer?

No. We take all boating accident claims on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t pay anything upfront, and we won’t send you a bill. You’ll only pay us after we’ve helped secure compensation for you—that’s our No Fee Guarantee®.

Should I work directly with the insurance companies?

Insurance companies will try to get you to settle before you know the extent of your losses—which means you may not get all the compensation you deserve. Hiring a boat accident attorney to deal with the insurance companies for you can help you avoid mistakes that might jeopardize your claim. You can learn more in our free publication, here: Insurance’s 5 Best Kept Secrets.

Can waiting to file my claim hurt my chances of getting compensation?

Potentially. After any type of accident, it’s important to get legal help right away. Evidence needs to be collected and preserved as soon as possible, and you may need medical treatment records from the accident to help prove your claim. A delay won’t necessarily hurt your claim, but it’s best to speak with an attorney as soon as you can.

Is seeking compensation for a boat accident different from seeking compensation for other types of accidents?

Yes and no. Like other personal injury claims, boat accident claims for compensation are typically based on someone else’s negligence. In order to recover maximum compensation for your losses, you’ll need to hire an attorney to investigate and collect evidence to prove that someone else was at fault for the accident.

However, boating accidents often result from boat-specific issues, like improper boat maintenance or reckless boating. Those may be in addition to issues like driving while distracted or intoxicated, which often occur in other types of accidents. To identify all possible sources of compensation for your losses, it’s important to hire a knowledgeable attorney with specific experience handling boat accident claims in Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

What percentage of boating accidents result in injuries and fatalities?

The Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard report that among the top 10 causes of boating accidents in the US, 66% result in injuries and 12% result in fatalities. Most of these injuries are a result of alcohol use, and most deaths are the result of operator inattention.