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Who is Liable in a Boating Accident?

By Kadish Twersky on

We’re lucky to live in an area where many people can spend time on the water, whether swimming or on ferries, motorboats, sailboats, stand-up paddle boards, jet skis or kayaks. Unfortunately, injuries happen, and people on boats can get injured because of someone else’s fault. If you or a loved one is hurt while out on the water, consulting a boating accident attorney can help get you the compensation you deserve.

The main causes of boating accidents are:

  • A collision between two boats
  • A boat hitting another boat’s wake
  • A boat striking a wave
  • A boat colliding with a submerged object or land
  • Alcohol or drug use by the operator of the boat.

A boat operator assumes a legal duty of care to drive in a way to protect the safety of his passengers and others on the water. Failure to do this makes him negligent — if a boating injury is caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages. At our personal injury firm, we work hard to figure out who was responsible for your injuries. How you were injured makes the difference when analyzing the case.

If you are injured in a collision between two boats, both boat operators may be held responsible. For obvious reasons, a motorboat is more likely to be at fault than a sailboat in an impact.

Should an injury be caused by another boat’s wake, both your boat’s operator and the operator that caused the wake may be held liable. Usually, the driver of your boat will be considered responsible depending on a variety of circumstances, including:

  • size of the wake
  • the boat’s speed
  • boat traffic
  • whether the boat is a motorboat or sailboat
  • visibility
  • whether the driver of the boat causing the wake was in a no-wake zone

When hitting a wave or colliding with a submerged object, similar conditions will apply. If the operator is driving a reasonable speed and using proper safety equipment, it’s unlikely they’ll be at fault.

Alcohol is the largest contributor to fatal accidents on the water. While having a drink on the water may sound like a great way to unwind, drinking and driving a boat is just, if not more dangerous, than drinking and driving a car.

At Kadish Twersky, our boating accident attorneys in Everett have more than six decades of experience in personal injury law. Contact our Everett personal injury firm today for a free consultation.

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Located in Everett, Washington
In Snohomish County


2920 Colby Avenue, #102
Everett, WA 98201


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