There is no shortage of opportunities for boating enthusiasts to enjoy a day out on one of the many rivers and tributaries in our community. Given how many boats cast off into those waters every day, plenty of serious and even life-threatening boat accidents happen near Gainesville regularly.
If you were recently injured while piloting a personal watercraft or riding in one someone else operated, you may have questions regarding what you should do next and what impact your actions may now have on your ability to recover financially. While it is always worth discussing your specific situation with a skilled boat accident attorney from Smith Hulsey Law, here are a few basic steps to take after a boat accident in Gainesville that apply to just about every incident.
Much like automobile crashes, state law requires boat operators to report the following types of accidents to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in writing soon after they occur:
For most accidents, the reporting deadline is five days after the incident occurred, but the deadline is 48 hours for any accident resulting in injuries needing professional medical care or that caused disability for more than 24 hours, any disappearance, or a fatality that happened within 24 hours as a result of the accident. A Gainesville attorney at our firm could help make sure all the necessary steps are taken after a boating accident so that a claim is as strong as possible.
Even though it may affect the reporting requirements mentioned above, it is a good idea for anyone involved in a boating accident in Gainesville to make going to an urgent care clinic or emergency room one of the first steps they take. On top of identifying any injuries that may not have produced obvious symptoms and providing appropriate care for them, doctors treating individuals who sustained injuries in a boat accident will also produce medical documentation that will be crucial to establishing exactly what injuries the incident caused and what losses may need to be incorporated into an ensuing civil claim.
Anyone involved in a boat accident around Gainesville should make sure they keep other evidence that might prove relevant to a civil claim they need to pursue. Depending on the circumstances, this could include anything from boat rental records to photos/videos of vessel damage to contact information from people who witnessed the incident but were not directly involved in it.
While everything mentioned above should be a high priority for you if you have been hurt in an accident on the water, the single most important step to take after a boat accident in Gainesville is almost always contacting professional legal counsel. Without a capable legal professional on your side, you may have much more trouble getting any civil restitution.
The experienced legal team at Smith Hulsey could show you your best legal options and offer guidance about how to enforce your rights during a private initial consultation. Call our firm today to schedule a meeting.
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