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Boating Accidents in Maryland

Earlier this month, a man sustained a leg injury in a personal watercraft accident off the north end of Assateague. The man and his friends had been using personal watercraft around the Ocean City area when the incident occurred. The man’s friends flagged down the Coast Guard crew patrolling the area to rescue the man, whose leg was injured. The man displayed signs of hypothermia and was taken to Atlantic General Hospital, in Berlin, Maryland.

Boating can provide hours of entertainment and is a great way to enjoy nature and the outdoors, but boating or personal watercraft accidents can happen. When those accidents are due to another’s negligence or reckless behavior, the injured party may be able to recover monetary compensation in a personal injury suit.

Boating Accidents

Maryland’s coastline is long, and the state is filled with rivers and other waterways, so boating and water sports are popular. But boating comes with some hazards, and accidents occur. There are usually between 150 and 250 boating accidents every year in Maryland, generally resulting in numerous injuries and ten to 20 annual deaths.

Common causes of boating accidents in Maryland include:

  • Equipment failure;
  • Operator error;
  • Passenger error;
  • Weather conditions;
  • Unsafe speed; and
  • Excessive wake;

Alcohol, speeding, and other human error are the most common reasons for a boating or watercraft accident, above any dangerous weather conditions. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is involved in about 20% of all boating accidents. Accidents can be caused by collisions with other boats or with stationary objects, and falls overboard or inside the boat can result in injuries. Even if one boater is operating his or her craft safely, accidents can occur due to another boater’s recklessness or negligence.

Boating While Intoxicated

Intoxication while operating a boat is a major cause of boating and watercraft accidents. Maryland has a law against boating while intoxicated, similar to its DUI laws, which makes the operation of a boat or watercraft while inebriated a criminal offense. But violation of this statute can also result in civil penalties if the boater’s intoxication caused an accident and injury to another. Violation of a statute such as this one can constitute evidence of negligence and can be used in a personal injury suit.

Negligence

If a victim’s boating injury was caused by another person’s negligence, the victim may be able to obtain financial compensation from the responsible party. A boater’s duty of care requires compliance with boating laws, and safe operation of the watercraft, taking into account skill, weather conditions, and other factors. If a boater breached that duty of care, and an injury resulted, the victim may sue the boater for negligence.

Products Liability

If a boating accident was caused by a mechanical failure, the victim may be able to bring a lawsuit against the designer, manufacturer, or seller of the boat. This type of strict liability lawsuit does not require proving negligence. Instead, the victim must only prove that the boat or some component of it was defective, and that the defect caused the injury.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you have been injured by a boating accident in the state of Maryland, a personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Robert R. Castro can help. Please call us at 301-804-2312 today for a free initial consultation.

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