Philadelphia Boat Accident Lawyer
Spring and summer are here, and for many families in Pennsylvania and across the United States, that signals increased opportunities to go boating and enjoy the water. If you own a boat, you are fortunate in your immediate access to a popular recreational activity. However, boating accidents are common and can result in serious injuries, permanent disabilities, and fatalities. Some boating accidents can also result in lawsuits. If you think your boating accident may be worthy of a lawsuit, let Ciccarelli Law Offices guide you through the process.
Boating Accident Statistics
In our service area of Pennsylvania, boating accidents tend to increase incrementally from year to year. Our Boaters and Waterways Conservation Officers reported a 10% increase in boating accidents from 2012 to 2013 – 62 accidents total. Additionally, the total number of vessels involved in these accidents increased from 72 to 75 between 2012 and 2013. Of all sustained injuries, 38 required medical treatment. Capsizing, with 18 total victims, was the most common accident cause.
During 2013, boating accident fatalities also increased, up from 12 to 17. Fifteen of these victims were not wearing a life jacket, and seven neither wore life jackets nor had them onboard their vessels.
Boating accidents of all kinds continue to be a problem across the United States. In 2014, the overall fatality rate was 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered vessels. The Coast Guard reported 4064 accidents that year, which resulted in 610 total fatalities. Additionally, boating injuries increased 2.2% throughout the country from 2013 to 2014.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating instruction is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your passengers from a boating accident. Of the reported fatalities in 2014, 12% occurred on a vessel where the operator had no formal boating instruction or safety certificate. However, 23% occurred on boats with operators who had received adequate instruction. In those cases, inexperience, inattention, excessive speed, and alcohol abuse were often to blame. Additionally, only 12% of 2014’s boat operators had received a nationally approved boating safety certificate.
Drowning has always been another common cause of boating accidents. In 2014 alone, drowning accounted for 78% of boating accident fatalities. Of those, 84% were not wearing a life jacket, although life jackets were available on the boats. Of the 2014 victims, 12 were children under age 13, seven of whom drowned. Of the seven drowned children, only four were wearing a life jacket.
Boats Most at Risk
Boating always carries some risks, but some boats are more dangerous than others. The boat most likely to get into an accident is an open motorboat; 1,672 casualties were reported on these boats in 2014. Flooding, collision with other boats, and collision with fixed objects were the most common causes of these accidents after drowning. Personal watercrafts were a close second, with 626 casualties reported in 2014. Pontoons were least at risk that year, with only 114 deaths reported.
Protecting Yourself from a Boating Accident
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we are eager to help you with your boating accident lawsuit. However, we would rather see you safe and enjoying the water. To prevent a boating accident, take these steps:
- Make sure everyone operating your boat takes a safety course and receives a state-approved certificate.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs while boating.
- Always store life jackets on your vessel, and require that passengers wear them at all times. Carry extra life jackets as well.
- Do not speed.
- Maintain your boat; repair or replace broken or damaged equipment in a timely manner.
- Watch the weather and do not go out on a questionable day.
- Do not pilot an overloaded boat.
If you or loved ones have sustained injury or experienced fatalities from a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced injury lawyers for a free consultation with legal and medical experts.