Being involved in a boating accident can be disorienting and confusing. However, it is important to take certain actions immediately following the crash in order to protect your legal rights and access help. Here are some key steps to take after a boating accident:
Seek Medical Treatment
This should always be the first priority after any accident. Even if you don’t think you suffered serious injuries, it is important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries like concussions or internal bleeding may not be immediately noticeable. Getting prompt medical care can positively impact your recovery. Make sure to document your injuries and any treatment received.
Report the Incident
You’ll need to report the boating accident to the appropriate maritime authorities. This is required by law and should be done as soon as you are able. Contact local law enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, or your state’s boating regulatory agency to file an official report. Provide details like the time, location, weather conditions and parties involved. Get a copy of the accident report for your records.
Take photos of damage to all boats, equipment and anything else involved in the accident. Also photograph injuries or clothing damage. If possible, gather contact details and statements from witnesses while everything is still fresh in their minds. Try to get names/numbers of responding law enforcement or medical personnel. This evidence could help prove liability later.
Consult a Maritime Lawyer
Contact an experienced boating accident lawyer as soon as feasible. Do not provide recorded statements or sign anything from insurance companies until you speak with counsel. A lawyer can handle the claims process on your behalf and make sure your legal rights are protected. Here is our in depth article on how to Choose the Right Boating Accident Lawyer .
While it may be difficult to think clearly after a traumatic boating crash, following these steps can optimize your ability to recover damages. Focus first on medical care, then report details to proper authorities. Finally, contact a qualified maritime attorney to discuss your options.