A trip out on Lake Lanier or any of the other bodies of water in the Gainesville area can be a great way to spend a day outside with family and friends. Unfortunately, this peaceful pastime is not free of risk. Just like motor vehicle drivers, boat operators have a duty to act responsibly at all times while in control of their vessels. A failure to do so could have catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers, and anyone else out on the water.
If you recently got hurt in a waterborne collision, a Gainesville boat accident lawyer may be able to help you seek fair compensation through a civil lawsuit or settlement demand. An experienced personal injury attorney at Smith Hulsey could go over your legal options, determine who might be liable for your injuries, and fight tirelessly for your interests.
While federal maritime laws apply to boating accidents that occur in international or interstate waters, most local boat collisions will fall within the jurisdiction of state civil law. This means that a Gainesville boating accident victim and their attorney generally must prove legal negligence by another individual in order to hold them financially responsible for damages.
Many of the same behaviors that would constitute negligence in a car wreck also apply for waterborne accidents. For example, operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in the same criminal penalties and degree of civil liability in the event of a crash, as per Official Code of Georgia §40-6-391.
Importantly, Official Code of Georgia §51-1-22 establishes that boat owners are liable for the negligent behavior of anyone operating their vessel with implicit or explicit consent, even if the owner was not physically present at the time of the incident. Depending on the circumstances, this could have a significant impact on who serves as the defendant in a Gainesville boat accident claim, which a skilled attorney could explain in greater detail.
Unfortunately, even boat collisions that occur at low speeds can have serious and life-threatening consequences. Drowning is the top cause of fatalities in these kinds of incidents, and other common injuries include:
To some degree, the severity of injuries sustained in a boat wreck directly correlates with the value of recoverable damages. For instance, major injuries tend to require more extensive and expensive medical care and more time spent out of work, leading to lost income. A well-practiced boat accident lawyer in the area could help calculate the economic damages of an injured victim and pursue recovery on their behalf.
Similarly, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are also different for every individual plaintiff. It is best to work with an experienced local attorney to determine what damages may be recoverable after a serious boating crash.
Boat accidents can be incredibly dangerous due to the risk of drowning and lack of safety devices like seatbelts and airbags. Accordingly, civil recovery may be especially important if you were injured in an incident caused by a negligent boat operator.
Whatever your circumstances are, reach out to a Gainesville boat accident lawyer at Smith Hulsey. Our legal team could work tirelessly to pursue any available options for your civil recovery. Call today to learn more.
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