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What to do After a Boating Accident

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A boating accident can get even more horrifying with the possibility of drowning or sustaining severe injuries. While the accident can put you and other passengers in panic mode, it is essential to remain calm. Taking the proper steps after a boating accident can save you and other people on board from sustaining more severe injuries. In addition, what you do immediately after the accident can affect your decision to pursue compensation later.

Tennessee laws allow accident victims to seek compensation for damages resulting from boating accidents. At The Law Office of G. Turner Howard III, we will help gather evidence, file a claim and offer legal representation to ensure you recover rightful compensation. However, it's up to you to take proper steps to protect yourself legally and medically.

The Initial Steps 

The first thing to do immediately after the accident is to ensure everyone on board is safe. Check whether you or the people in the boat require medical attention. Assist victims who have fallen overboard in getting back on the boat as soon as possible. If a part of the boat is sinking, climb on the floating part and signal for help. A significant percentage of boating accident deaths result from drowning, so it's advisable for everyone on the boat to have a life jacket on. 

Once you ensure everyone is out of danger, move the boat away from oncoming vessels' paths. If the accident involves more than one boat, it is also essential to ensure that people in other vessels are safe. It is not advisable to leave the accident scene if people require assistance.

You should seek medical help even if you don't believe you sustained severe injuries. Even though they might not seem noteworthy at the time, minor injuries can get progressively worse as time goes on or remain unnoticed until it's too late to do something about them. It is essential to inform your doctor about the accident so they can perform specific procedures and tests.

Collect Information about the Boating Accident

Apart from reporting the accident, you may also want to gather information about the accident scene, the people involved, and any other evidence that can affect your case. You can start with gathering the names and contact information of the boat operators, other victims, and eyewitnesses. You may also need to record the registration number of the vessels and the boat operator's insurance company name and policy number.

 It is also advisable to take photos of the accident and the damages caused. Collecting this information before you leave the accident location can help you build a strong case against the party responsible.

Reporting the Boating Accident

Reaching out to the Coast Guard immediately after the accident is the best way to seek help, particularly if you require medical assistance. Nevertheless, reporting the accident is a federal law requirement. The US Coast Guard requires victims to report accidents immediately, mainly if it results in:

  • $2000 or more property damage
  • Destroyed vessel
  • An injury that requires more than just basic first aid
  • A fatality or a missing person

You may also need to file a report with the Tennessee state agency responsible for boating regulation. When filing the report, it is advisable to ensure you provide accurate information and avoid speculating the cause of the accident.

Don't accept the blame even if you believe your negligence caused the accident. Investigative authorities should consider everything when determining the fault for the accident. Therefore, the last thing you want is to say something that will jeopardize your ability to recover compensatory damages. Reach out to a Knoxville boating accident attorney to get the legal assistance you need to file appropriate reports.

Make Insurance Injury Claims

If another person's negligence caused the accident, you might have to file a claim against their insurance company. The insurance company should process your claim and offer the compensation you deserve; however, the insurance company may try to undermine your rights by denying claims that their customer was at fault.

In some cases, you may need to turn to your insurance carrier. Your insurance company will determine who is to blame for the accident. If another boater's negligence caused the accident, you might have to take legal action to pursue compensation. The compensation should cater to medical expenses, pain and suffering, wrongful death, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Sometimes, the boating insurance claims process can be frustrating. Common reasons for insurance claim denials include:

  • Failing to claim on time: Most insurance companies require customers to file claims immediately after the accident. It is advisable to do that before witnesses disappear or the evidence gets muddled. The insurer can set a time limit ranging from one to 20 years. Therefore, reaching out to a Knoxville boating accident attorney will help you make a claim within the set time limit.
  • Delayed medical care: You may not know the severity of your injuries unless you seek medical assistance. If you delay seeking medical care, the insurance company may get suspicious about your boating accident claim. The best way to ensure your rights are upheld is by working with a boating accident lawyer.

If the insurance company denies your claim, request them to explain the reason for the denial in writing. You may need to understand the exact reason and seek legal assistance you need to appeal the claim denial. Don't dispute the insurance denial on your own. The Knoxville boating accident attorney from the Law Office of G. Turner Howard III will offer the legal representation you need to ensure you recover compensation for the damages.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Regardless of whether you intend to pursue compensation, you must consult your attorney immediately after the accident. This way, you will get the advice suited to your case. Contact us today to learn more about how you can benefit from our legal services.

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