Today, boating and sailing provide a source of fun and recreation for millions of people worldwide. Boating and sailing are not only one of the most popular pastimes today, they have been a popular means of transportation, recreation, and occupation, for nearly all of recorded history. While boating and sailing still maintain many of those roles today, for most of us, boating and sailing are a source of recreation, fun, competition, and relaxation.
Unfortunately, boating and personal watercraft accidents caused by distracted or inattentive operators can cause serious injuries. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that the total number of recreational boats has grown to more than 15 million. In 2011, the Coast Guard counted 4,588 accidents that involved 788 deaths, 3081 injuries and approximately $53 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Weather, training, experience, location, size of the boat, as well as the number of people on board can all play a significant role in boating accidents. Simple factors such as a high winds, coming around too quickly or perhaps failing to lower or raise the sail at the appropriate time, can result in a potentially serious boating accident. The harm is increased due to the fact the accident may result in the victim being underwater, which can result in the potential of drowning or the brain being starved for oxygen, resulting in serious and permanent brain damage, or even death.
In addition to State law, admiralty or maritime law may be applicable depending on where the accident occurred. This is the distinct body of law (both substantive and procedural), and the federal courts derive their exclusive jurisdiction over this field from the Judiciary Act of 1789 and from Article III, § 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which is regulated by Congress through the Commerce Clause.
When injured due to the negligence of another in a boating or other watercraft accident, you need a firm who understands the complexity of the law. Huber, Waldron & Williams, LLP, are experienced boat accident lawyers, who have represented injured victims of boating accidents.