Boating Accidents

The Easton boating accident attorneys of Sousa & Sousa are recognized leaders in maritime personal injury law. We have successfully handled all types of boating accident claims, recovering compensation for injured victims throughout Massachusetts.

Recreational boating is an excellent way to get outdoors and see New England. With 1200 miles of coastline, Massachusetts residents can easily access a navigable body of water in under an hour. Because of the water’s proximity, recreational boating has always been a popular pastime. In fact, more than 40% of Massachusetts households list boating as their favorite outdoor activity.

Unfortunately, with the abundance of boats comes a higher incidence of accidents. Boating accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including the negligence of the driver, the seaworthiness of the boat, and the unpredictability of inclement weather. Sometimes, the accident can be harmless, causing a minor “bump” along the way. In other cases, the accident is caused by the negligence of the driver. Some of the leading causes of boating accidents include:

  • Capsizing
  • Anchoring to the stern
  • Overloading the vessel
  • Improper forward watch
  • Unsafe fuel practices
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Ignoring weather conditions
  • Inexperience of boat operator

When the driver is negligent or the boat malfunctions, injured parties have legal recourse under the law. The basic tenets of negligence state that a breach of duty owed to another results in liability for “proximately caused” injuries. In boating accidents, this means the inattentive driver or boat manufacturer is liable if their negligence results in injury to the passengers.

Boating can result in serious injuries, including propeller lacerations, broken bones, and teeth. Even while the vessel is moored, unstable footing can cause people to slip and fall. During improper loading or “overloading,” an uneven distribution of weight can destabilize the boat, causing it to capsize. One of the most common fatalities is falling overboard and drowning.

The laws governing motorboats and other vessels are set forth in Chapter 90B of the General Laws of Massachusetts. According to these laws, the operator of a motorboat involved in an accident must render assistance as far as “practicable” to save persons from danger. At-fault operators are required to provide identifying information to injured parties and the owner of any property damaged in the accident. Where the accident results in death, personal injury, or property damage over five hundred dollars, the operator must notify law enforcement so the accident can be investigated.

Because boating accidents take place on navigable waters, admiralty or maritime law may apply. Maritime law differs somewhat from tort law, further limiting or expanding certain rights of parties injured at sea. A boating accident outside Massachusetts shores may also involve issues of jurisdiction or the proper forum in which to file suit. A knowledgeable legal professional who understands these issues can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

The experienced Easton boating accident lawyers of Sousa & Sousa have years of expertise in maritime personal injury law. Whether you were injured on land or sea, we can help you identify all liable parties and achieve the best outcome possible in your case. At Sousa & Sousa, we understand boating accidents are traumatic and are dedicated to helping you get back on your feet. Our firm provides the highest quality representation to accident victims in Easton and other areas of Massachusetts. For a free consultation call our Brockton/Easton office at 508-230-5300 or Taunton office at 508-823-6111 or contact us online.

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