An injury or accident typically is the last thing on any boater’s mind when they set out to enjoy one of Pennsylvania’s hundreds of lakes or rivers. Unfortunately, boating accidents increased in the state from 2010 to 2011, according to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. A boating accident – such as a collision or capsizing – can have a tremendous impact on an injured victim, both physically and financially.
You or an injured loved one may face mounting medical bills, extensive property damage and lost income in the aftermath of a boating collision. A personal injury claim or lawsuit may help your family recover the financial resources you’ll require to move forward.
Our team understands the long-term economic and emotional implications of a boating accident injury. We offer confident legal representation as we pursue compensation on your behalf. With respect to the uncertainties you face, we have offered a brief overview of what you should know after having suffered injury.
Understanding Your Burden of Proof in a Boating Action Claim
A personal injury lawsuit is based on negligence. You must be able to prove someone else’s negligent actions – such as operating a boat while intoxicated – were the cause of your injuries. You also must be able to prove you suffered damages (such as physical injuries and financial loss) as a result of the other person’s behavior.
You may prove these elements of negligence with the presentation of evidence. This may include, but is not limited to:
- photos of the accident wreckage
- medical bills
- boating accident report
- witness statements
Failure to preserve and present compelling evidence severely limits your ability to pursue sufficient compensation in a personal injury claim.
Compensation Available in a Boating Injury Claim
The value of your boating injury claim is based on a number of factors, including:
- cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation
- lost income
- permanent disability or disfigurement
- out-of-pocket expenses (crutches, prescriptions, etc.)
- pain and suffering
Pennsylvania follows a system of modified comparative negligence, as established by 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7102. This law allows you to collect compensation even if you were partially to blame for an accident, provided you are no more than half at fault. However, your final settlement or award will be reduced in direct correlation to your own percentage of fault. In practice, this means if you are 10 percent at fault for the collision, the value of your award will be reduced by 10 percent.
Time Limits for Filing a Personal Injury Action
There is limited time in which to pursue compensation after an accident. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of the accident, as outlined in 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524. This brief timeline underscores the importance of taking quick action after having suffered injury.
Reporting a Boating Accident in Pennsylvania
State law requires you to report a boating accident within 48 hours of the incident, provided the accident involved an injury requiring first aid or a fatality. Owners of other involved vessels are obligated to make this report in circumstances where an injured operator is unable to do so. An accident involving property damage in excess of $2,000 must be reported to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission within 10 days.
Provide your injury lawyer with a copy of the accident report as quickly as possible. Such documentation likely will serve as evidence in a personal injury action.
Where to Turn When You Are Ready to Take Action