Residents and visitors alike come to Massachusetts and Rhode Island to enjoy miles of coastline and the world-class boating opportunities that only New England has to offer. From the Providence River to the Boston Harbor and everywhere in between, both experienced and amateur boaters take to our region’s waters for sport, relaxation, and just generally enjoying life in the Northeast.
Experienced Legal Representation for Boating Accident Victims and Their Families
Unfortunately, each year numerous of boaters have their outings cut short by accidents. An accident in the water – especially in the open ocean – can be terrifying, and they often lead to serious injuries. In the absolute worst of scenarios, fatal accidents leave family members struggling to cope with the tragic and unexpected loss of their loved ones.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident, then it is important to hire an experienced boat accident attorney to help you stand up for your legal rights. The insurance companies are not on your side (despite what they may tell you), and the unique legal issues involved in offshore boat accident cases make it critical that you not hire just any personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. At Bottaro Law Firm, we have experience in complex boat accident litigation, and we can take on the insurance companies to make sure that you receive the compensation deserved.
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Are You Entitled to Financial Compensation for a Boating Accident?
The only way to find out if you are entitled to compensation for a boating accident is to hire an experienced attorney to conduct a prompt investigation, and provide a thorough evaluation of your legal rights. That said, there are many common scenarios where victims and their families can often secure financial compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses. Some of the most common boating accident claims include:
- Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol – Alcohol consumption is a major issue on the water, and many people fail to appreciate the effects that consuming alcohol can have on their ability to safely operate a boat in traffic. As a result, alcohol impairment plays a central role in many boating collisions.
- Inexperienced Boat Operators – Operating a boat safely requires experience at the helm. From occasional boaters to vacationers who rent boats to get out on the water for the first time, inexperience is a key factor in many boating collisions, as well.
- Negligent or Reckless Boat Operation – Speeding, creating a large wake, and failing to observe other rules of the water are also common factors in boating accidents. Many people mistakenly believe that they can do whatever they want on the water, and this simply isn’t true.
- Negligent Boat Maintenance – Boats must be properly maintained in order to ensure that they are operating safely at all times. Failure to conduct necessary maintenance, and faulty maintenance work can both increase the risk of a serious boating accident.
- Distracted Boating – Just like on the road, distractions create risks on the water, as well. Texting, talking on the phone, watching water skiers, and other distractions can all increase the risk of boating collisions.
Reasons to Choose Bottaro Law for your Boating Accident Case
- Millions recovered for our clients
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Attorney Mike Bottaro Answers Your Questions about Seeking Financial Compensation for Boating Accident Injuries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
1. Will it cost me any money up front to hire a boating accident lawyer?
No. At Bottaro Law Firm, we take all boating accident claims on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you don’t pay anything up front, and you will never receive a monthly bill. You only pay after we’ve helped you secure financial compensation. Read more about our “No Fee Guarantee.”
2. Should I work directly with the insurance companies?
The insurance companies will try to get you to settle quickly and for as little as possible – usually before you know the full extent of your losses. By hiring a boating accident law firm to deal with the insurance companies for you, you can avoid making mistakes that could jeopardize your claim. Read more in our free publication, Insurance’s 5 Best Kept Secrets.
3. Will delays hurt my chances of recovering financial compensation?
Potentially. After any type of accident, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible. Evidence needs to be collected and preserved, and you need to make sure that you get the medical treatment necessary to prove your claim for compensation. A delay won’t necessarily harm your claim, but to avoid the risk, you should speak with an attorney right away.
Schedule a Free Boating Accident Consultation at Bottaro Law Firm
To find out if you have a claim for financial compensation, contact us today and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. We regularly conduct consultations over the phone and online, and a member of our team will even come to you. Stand up for your legal rights – call (401) 777-7777 or get in touch online today.
4. Is seeking compensation for a boating accident different from seeking compensation for other types of accidents?
Yes and no. In a typical boating accident case, your claim for compensation will be based on someone else’s negligence – just like any other personal injury claim. This means that, in order to recover for your losses, you will need to hire an attorney to investigate and collect evidence demonstrating that someone else was at fault in the accident.
However, boating accidents are unique in that there are a variety of boat-specific issues – such as improper boat maintenance and creating a large wake – that can lead to dangerous collisions. These, of course, are in addition to issues like being drunk or distracted that can apply in other types of accidents as well. In order to identify all possible sources of compensation for your losses, you should hire an attorney who has specific boating accident experience and who is familiar with the unique issues involved in boating accident claims.
5. What types of evidence can you use to prove that someone else is to blame for my injury?
In a typical boating accident case, there will be several types of evidence that we can collect to help prove your claim for compensation. These include things like:
- Photos – Did you or anyone else take photos at the scene of the accident?
- Witness Statements – Are there people who can corroborate your version of the events?
- Police Records – If the police responded to the accident, there may be a police report indicating that the boat operator who hit you was speeding, drunk, or being reckless when the collision occurred.
- Phone Records – If you suspect that the boater who caused the accident was distracted, we can request a copy of his or her phone records to confirm it.
- Medical Records – Your medical records can help establish both the timing and cause of your injuries.
6. What are the most common types of boating accidents?
There are five main types of boating accidents: Collisions with other vessels, collisions with fixed objects (such as a dock), flooding/swamping, grounding, and towing accidents. The vast majority of boating accidents involve open motorboats (such as fishing boats, center consoles, and bowriders), though we frequently see cases involving personal watercrafts (jet skis), pontoons, cabin boats, and non-motorized vessels as well.
7. What are the most common causes of boating accidents?
On the open water, it doesn’t take much to cause a serious and potentially dangerous accident. According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the top 10 causes of boating accidents in the United States are:
- Operator Inattention
- Operator Inexperience
- Improper Lookout
- Machinery Failure
- Excessive Speed
- Alcohol Use
- Hazardous Waters
- Navigation Rules Violations
- Force of Wave/Wake
As you can see, the majority of these involve some element of human error. This means that, in most cases, accident victims will be entitled to seek financial compensation for their losses.
8. What percentage of boating accidents result in injuries and fatalities?
According to the USCG and DHS, among the top 10 causes of boating accidents in the United States, 66 percent of accidents result in injuries, and 12 percent result in fatalities. Despite being the sixth-leading cause of boating accidents, alcohol use is responsible for the most accident-related deaths and the fifth most accident-related injuries. Operator inattention, the number one cause of boating accidents, is also the leading cause of boating accident injuries.
9. Do Massachusetts and Rhode Island require boaters to wear personal floatation devices (PFDs)?
In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, only certain boaters are required to wear a PFD. However, pursuant to USCG regulations, all vessels must have certain legally required PFDs on board. Wearing a PFD is certainly a good idea – the USCG’s and DHS’s data show that you are far more likely to die in a boating accident if you are not wearing a life jacket. That said, even if you were not wearing a life jacket at the time your boating accident, you can still pursue a claim for financial compensation.
10. What is the statute of limitations for boating accident claims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?
In most cases, the statute of limitations for boating accident claims in Massachusetts and Rhode Islands is three years. But, remember, the sooner you file the claim, the sooner you will be able to collect the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.