Holding Negligent Boaters Responsible
Georgia’s popular lakes, rivers and coastline provide residents and visitors with opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing, and more. Georgia lakes have speed boats, pontoons, and jet skis all sharing the water during the warm summer months. Rivers draw people throughout the year for rafting, canoeing, fishing and kayaking.
Boating is a fun pastime for many Georgians. However, it’s not without its dangers. Boat operators will often take risks they probably would never consider taking behind the wheel of a car. This may include speeding, drinking alcohol or not paying attention to the dangers on the waterway. The Georgia boating accident lawyers at the McArthur Law Firm fight for victims of boating accidents to ensure accountability for the negligent boat operator. We have the resources to assist those hurt on the water from across the state, including working with those living in Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus as well as individuals and their families from Augusta, Albany and in or around Macon.
Boating Accident Lawyers with Years of Georgia Boat Accident Law Experience
A few years ago, we represented one of the families of two young boys on a banana boat pulled by a motor boat. An inexperienced teenage boat operator was speeding on a lake and hit the banana boat. This seriously injured the one young boy and killed the other. One result of the lawsuit was the passage of the “New Boater Education Requirement”. This requires new boat drivers to pass an education course to obtain a boating license. Similar boating accidents on Lake Lanier (not handled by our firm) involving the death of children also resulted in new laws lowering the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for drunk boating to .08. They also require young children to wear life vests.
Wrongful death lawsuits from tragic boating accidents will never change the past. However, it is our hope that these cases result in better safety regulations, boating accident laws and awareness to keep everyone safe on the water.
What are the Common Causes of Boating Accidents?
According to the United States Coast Guard, more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents occurred in 2015. These resulted in 626 deaths and 2,613 injuries. Drowning is the most common cause of death in fatal boating accidents. However, collisions with other boats or people can also cause serious injuries. These may include traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.
The contributing factors in boating accidents are:
- Operator inattention or inexperience handling a motor boat or jet ski
- Drunk boating
- Defective machinery
Does a Boat Operator Face Criminal Charges After a Boating Accident?
Often, when a boat operator injures or kills another person due to drunk boating, speeding or inattentive boating, he or she may face criminal charges. It is important to understand that a criminal charge or conviction is not necessary to hold boating operators accountable in civil court.
For example, if a boat operator who hit another boat and injured people had a BAC of .06, he or she might not be criminally charged with boating while intoxicated or other crimes, as .06 was within the legal limit. However, a person injured due to the boat operator’s actions can still file a personal injury lawsuit against the boat operator.
If you or your relative was a victim of a negligent boat operator, a criminal case will not pay for medical bills, lost wages and other civil damages. Always contact a personal injury attorney with experience in boating accidents as soon as you can.
Boating Accident Attorneys in Central Georgia for Nationwide and Statewide Representation
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on the water, contact the boating accident attorneys at the McArthur Law Firm. We want to hold negligent boat operators accountable. But, we also hope that civil lawsuits bring awareness and better safety standards for the public.
We have earned a solid reputation as aggressive attorneys for people who might otherwise lack a voice. Reach out to our office today. We offer a free consultation at 478-238-1150 or fill out an online form about a boating accident. We serve injury victims throughout Georgia and nationwide.