With our beautiful rivers and ocean beaches, boating is a popular pastime in Savannah. While some people have their own boats, many people (citizens and tourists alike) will charter a boat. Chartering a boat is a popular way to enjoy the water and take in scenic views. However, accidents on charter boats can happen, and when they do, it’s important to determine who is liable for any injuries or damages that occur. There are various factors that can contribute to charter boat accidents, and liability can lie with the boat owners, operators, and other parties involved in the incident.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our Savannah boat accident attorneys excel at investigating accidents and looking at all the evidence to determine which parties are responsible for any injuries you may have suffered while on their boat. While the process can be complex, our knowledgeable legal team will ensure that you undergo as little stress as possible as we sort out the case, and obtain the settlement you deserve.
What is the duty of care for boat owners and operators?
Boat owners are responsible for ensuring their vessels are safe and in good working condition. They have a duty to maintain their boats and make any necessary repairs to keep them seaworthy. If a boat owner fails to properly maintain their vessel, and an accident occurs as a result, they could be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur.
Similarly, boat operators (who might be the owner of the boat, but not necessarily) have a duty to operate the boat safely and follow all applicable laws and regulations. This includes maintaining a proper lookout, operating at a safe speed, and avoiding hazards on the water. If a boat operator is found to have operated the boat in a negligent or reckless manner, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
Who else can be held liable?
In addition to the boat owner and operator, other parties may also be held liable for a charter boat accident. For example, if the boat was chartered through a rental company, the rental company may be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur if they failed to properly inspect or maintain the boat before it was rented. Similarly, if the boat was chartered for a specific purpose, such as a fishing charter, the charter company may be held liable if they failed to provide appropriate safety equipment or failed to properly train passengers on how to use it.
Other potential at-fault parties may include:
- Manufacturers, if a defective part or system is the root cause of the accident;
- Other passengers, if their reckless or negligent actions contributed to your injuries; and
- Other operators of boats or watercraft if their actions caused your charter boat to crash or capsize.
Additionally, if the accident occurred due to a navigational error, such as a failure to properly chart a course or account for changing weather conditions, the boat operator or charter company may be held liable.
How can a Savannah boat accident lawyer help me?
If you have been injured in a charter boat accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. After seeking medical attention, you should contact an attorney with experience handling maritime claims to discuss your legal options. Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and pursuing compensation for your injuries and damages, including:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages and loss of future earning potential,
- Physical and mental pain and suffering, and
- Property damage
If the accident causes fatal injuries, we can help you with a wrongful death claim. This would allow you to seek additional compensation for funeral and burial costs.
Determining liability in a charter boat accident can be complex and will depend on the specific circumstances of the incident. To determine liability in a charter boat accident, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible. This may include witness statements, photographs/videos of the accident scene, and any documentation related to the boat’s maintenance or operation. An experienced Savannah injury attorney can help with this process and will be able to analyze the evidence to determine who may be liable for the accident.
Charter boat accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, and determining liability can be complex. Boat owners, operators, rental companies, and other parties may be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur. If you have been involved in a charter boat accident, it’s important to seek medical attention and contact one of our experienced boat accident attorneys to discuss your legal options. To schedule a free consultation, call Harris Lowry Manton LLP at our Savannah office, or use our contact form. We maintain an additional office in Atlanta.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.