Spring is finally here, and summer is just around the corner. This means that many New Yorkers will be preparing to hit local waterways in their boats.
Although boating is an enjoyable summer pastime, it can also be quite dangerous. Around 15-20 boaters are killed in New York annually, and many more sustain serious and debilitating injuries.
Worse, the number of boating fatalities is increasing.
Unfortunately, the great majority of boating accidents occur due to negligence, and are preventable with proper operation of the boat. Because of this, if you are injured in a boating accident, it’s important to know what to do after the accident – including seeking damages if appropriate.
To help you out, we’ve put together this guide for New York boaters covering common boating accident injuries and what to do if you’re injured.
Common Boating Accident Injuries in New York
Boating accidents can cause a number of injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to serious injuries that are debilitating and potentially fatal.
Serious boating accident injuries include:
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
Serious injuries such as these will have a significant, long-term impact on your quality of life and ability to financially support your family. For example, a neck or back injury will affect your mobility, and may render you unable to work. A brain injury may be fatal, and if survivable can result in headaches, cognitive problems, dementia, and permanent memory loss.
If you sustain a serious injury, consider seeking compensation to secure your family’s financial future. This will not only help you to address financial concerns such as medical bills and lost wages, but also hold the responsible parties accountable for the negligent actions that contributed to your injuries.
What to Do after a New York Boating Accident
If you are involved in a boating accident, seek immediate medical attention – even if you’re not sure whether you’ve been seriously injured. Remember that adrenaline masks pain, and you may not be able to feel the extent of your injuries for hours – or even days – after the accident.
First and foremost, this will protect your personal safety. Secondly, in the event that you need to seek compensation for your injuries, this will be important in documenting their severity and extent. To further document your injuries, take photos and keep a journal of how they are impacting you.
It’s also important to document the details of the accident while your memory is still fresh. Write a date-stamped account of the accident as soon as you are able, being sure to note information such as the names and contact information of witnesses and parties involved in the accident.
For ongoing injuries, you will want to find a doctor familiar with personal injury cases.
Filing a NY Personal Injury Claim
If you are injured in a boating accident due to the carelessness or negligence of another, the owner or operator of that boat can be held legally responsible for your injuries.
If you determine that it’s appropriate to seek damages for your injuries, you have three years to file a personal injury claim. However, taking action as soon as possible will increase your likelihood of success.
The investigation will be most informative if conducted as soon as possible after the accident. Further, if you wait a significant amount of time before pursuing damages, this may call the severity of your injuries into question.
Why do it?
The aftermath of a serious boating injury can be devastating. You may be left in severe physical pain, unable to work, and facing other financial concerns.
Seeking financial compensation for your injuries can be a big step towards recovery. This can help you get the medical care you need to recover, and reduce the overall stress and burden on your family. Holding the responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions can also help provide closure.
In your personal injury claim, you may be awarded damages for:
Past medical bills. Serious boating accident injuries often require extensive and costly medical treatment. You can demand that you be reimbursed for prior medical expenses. You will need to provide documentation for the expenses such as bills and receipts, and be able to tie these expenses to treatment of the injuries caused by the accident.
Future medical bills. A serious and debilitating injury may require months or years of treatment, or even lifelong medical care. For example, if the victim is left paralyzed or sustains a severe brain injury, lifelong medical care will be necessary.
Lost income. Debilitating injuries may leave the victim unable to work – temporarily or permanently – after the accident. Lost pay, sick days, and bonuses are included in damages.
Pain and suffering. This refers to physical pain and suffering as well as the mental pain and suffering endured by the victim and his or her loved ones.
Rethinking going boating this year? Take a deep breath. The vast majority of outings on the water don’t result in any injuries. However, you should always be careful out there, and know what to do if you’re involved in a boating accident.