If you were harmed as a result of a boating accident in Georgia, you should talk with a boating accident lawyer. You will want to know your legal rights, including how to file a powerful lawsuit or insurance claim. Dozier Law has extensive experience helping injured individuals get compensation and justice. We will get you through this. For more information, contact Dozier Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 239-2129 or contacting us online.
Who Is Liable?
Boating on Georgia lakes in the summer is a great way to relax and enjoy swimming, water skiing, and tubing. However, driving a boat is very risky and requires skill and knowledge. When accidents occur while boating, people can be seriously injured on and around the boat.
In addition to the at-fault driver of the boat that caused injury, the boat owner may be liable to pay damages. In Georgia, boat owners are responsible for any injury or damage from an accident, whether they are the boat’s driver or not. The exception is if the boat driver did not have consent from the owner to drive the vessel. Consent is presumed if the driver is the spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other immediate family members.
This statute is called an “owner-consent” statute. Owner-consent statutes make proving liability after a boating accident much more straightforward than a typical auto accident.
Can I Sue The Boat Rental Company?
The boats used on Georgia’s waters are often rented from adjacent marinas. The boat rental company will require you to sign a lengthy rental agreement. This agreement will include language that the rental company does not give consent to operate in violation of the safety rules contained in the contract. If you get in an accident, they did not consent to your negligent operation of the vessel.
The agreement will contain a provision that attempts to contractually revoke the consent required for liability under Georgia’s owner-consent statute. However, Georgia law does not make exceptions for boat rentals to escape owner liability. Despite the law, boat rental companies will still try to argue that they are not liable, so you should contact a skilled boating accident attorney to help with your case.
Causes Of Boating Accidents
There are many causes of boating accidents. Sometimes the accident is due to driver negligence. Some examples of negligence behavior include:
- Speeding Or Racing Other Boats
- Allowing Passengers To Interfere With Boat Operation
- Consumption of Alcohol Or Drugs
- Inexperience With Boat Operation
- Failure To Properly Maintain Boat
Boating Accidents Caused By Defective Equipment
Not all accidents are due to the fault of the driver. As with defects in cars, there are also circumstances when boat parts are defective. For example, a defective fuel system may lead to a boat fire. When a boat manufacturer produces faulty parts, accidents may occur. Those injured can file a case against the boat manufacturer for product liability in that case.
Damages Recoverable From Boating Accidents
Similar to an auto accident, if you are injured in a boat accident, you may recover the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Statute Of Limitations
Boating accidents are personal injury claims. The general time frame to file your case in court is two years from the accident. The statute of limitations can extend up to six years if one of the negligent parties is charged with a crime. This allows the criminal case to be completed before the civil case is initiated. If the negligent party is a government employee acting within the scope of their work, the time to file your lawsuit could be reduced to six months. Because of these varying deadlines to preserve your claim, it is crucial to have a Boating Accident Lawyer review your case. You do not want to miss deadlines to file your lawsuit.
Georgia Boating Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were injured because of a boating accident in Georgia, then speak to a boating accident lawyer. They know how to help you evaluate your legal options and rights and how to go about bringing a successful insurance claim or lawsuit. Dozier Law has years of experience helping victims and their family members get the compensation they deserve. We will be there for you. To get started, get in touch with Dozier Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 239-2129 or contacting us online.