Although many day trippers may not realize it, operating a watercraft can be just as dangerous—and sometimes exponentially more dangerous—than driving an automobile. This is especially true if other boaters around you do not act in accordance with state boating regulations, operate their vessels in reckless or careless ways, or otherwise violate the duty all boaters have to watch out for each other and keep each other safe.
Fortunately, you have rights after a collision that a seasoned Bartlett boat accident lawyer could help you enforce. From start to finish of your settlement negotiations or—if necessary—civil court trial, a dedicated personal injury attorney at Reaves Law Firm, PLLC could provide tenacious legal support that is custom-tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.
State law requires anyone involved in any kind of crash or other accident while operating a watercraft to immediately stop their vessel where the incident occurred if it is reasonably safe and possible to do so, as well as to render aid to anyone in need of it so long as doing so would not endanger the vessel and/or other passengers. Once any immediate danger has passed, every involved party must contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and vessel operators must file a written report with the TWRA within 10 days if the incident results in $2,000 or more of property damage, or within 48 hours if the incident result in any serious injury, disappearance, or fatality.
It should also be noted that anyone born after January 1, 1989, must complete the TWRA Boating Safety exam, receive a Boating Safety Education Certificate, and obtain a Tennessee Certificate of Number before they can legally operate a watercraft. Additionally, every vessel must be equipped with Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices and throwable floatation devices in the state of Tennessee.
As an experienced Bartlett boat accident attorney could explain, failure to comply with these procedures before and after an incident could lead to an injured person being restricted from recovering for the full value of their losses—even if they were not at fault.
A comprehensive boat accident lawsuit or settlement demand should include both economic and non-economic repercussions the incident has, with both past and future losses relative to the initial filing date taken into consideration. Specific damages that often play roles in cases of this nature include:
Importantly, Tennessee Code §29-39-102 caps recovery for non-economic harm at $750,000 in total per plaintiff unless someone sustains a “catastrophic loss or injury” as defined under this statute, in which case the cap would be $1,000,000. A qualified boat collision lawyer in Bartlett could provide irreplaceable assistance maximizing available recovery with these and other legal restrictions in mind.
Accidents on the water can result in life-threatening impact injuries, pose an ever-present risk of drowning, and all too often result in fatalities or disappearances. Put simply, they are exceptionally dangerous for virtually everyone involved, and anyone who causes such an incident through negligence should be held accountable for their misconduct.