Once a boating accident has occurred, there are steps you need to take immediately. As with all accidents, the first actions should be to make sure you and anyone with you are safe. Steps to protect your rights come after, but are no less important, especially if you are seeking compensation for the accident.
Protect Your Health and Safety
Water is beautiful, but it can also be deadly after boating accidents. Immediately after an incident has occurred, check these things:
- If the boat has remained afloat, and you are still onboard, check yourself over to determine if you need medical attention. Once you have done that, check everyone else to see if they require help.
- Should someone have fallen overboard, bring them back onto the boat if possible.
- Steer the boat out of the way of oncoming watercraft and keep it out of harm’s way while you render aid to anyone in need of it.
- If there were other vessels involved, check to see if everyone aboard is unharmed or requires medical attention.
- Contact the U.S. Coast Guard to report the accident. Give them location and information on what medical assistance is needed.
- If the boat has broken apart, or is sinking, climb onto the parts still floating and signal for assistance. Keep your life jacket on, as most boating accident fatalities occur from drowning.
- Even if you initially believe you were not injured in the accident, it is still a good idea to see a doctor to verify your good health. Inform them you were involved in a boating accident, as they may want to perform certain tests for common ailments. Sometimes injuries take a day or two to reveal themselves.
Protect Your Rights
Information is key to receiving any deserved compensation after accidents. Once you know everyone is all right, gather the essentials:
- Collect the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone involved. This includes other boat operators, passengers, and any witnesses to the incident.
- Note the identification or registration number of the other vessels who were in the accident.
- Get insurance information, including company name and policy number of those who were involved.
- Take pictures of the scene if you can. Be sure to collect photos of the damage to the boats, the area the accident happened in, and anything else that seems important at the time. Back these pictures up, perhaps to a cloud storage service, so they are protected.
- Report the accident to the Coast Guard. Provide an accurate accounting of the accident, but don’t volunteer unnecessary information or speculate about what caused the accident.
- Do not accept responsibility for the accident. While you may be tempted to offer apologies if you believe you were at fault, hold off doing so. Determining the true fault for the accident requires facts and investigations. Instead, contact an attorney with experience in boating accidents.
Let Steven A. Bagen & Associates Help Keep You Afloat
The time after a boating accident is stressful. Let an experienced lawyer help guide you through the aftermath. Contact Steven A. Bagen & Associates for assistance in navigating these rough waters!