When watercrafts collide, the resulting losses can be devastating, and even deadly. Since these accidents occur on water, injured occupants have a higher risk of drowning. If you recently sustained injuries from a crash with a negligent boater, you may wish to contact a Montgomery County boat accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Experienced personal injury attorneys in Montgomery County, PA understand the legal responsibilities of watercraft owners and could determine if a breach of duty occurred. Skilled legal counsel could also calculate what damages you could claim and provide representation in and out of court.

How Do Boating Collisions Occur?

Boating accidents have numerous causes, most of which stem from negligent or reckless behavior. Operating a boat while drinking alcohol or taking a controlled substance, for example, can result in crashes with other vessels or rocks. Excessive speed, operator inexperience, attempting to navigate hazardous or prohibited waters, and other careless boat operation could also result in a wreck.

These accidents often result in catastrophic harm. Common injuries local attorneys see in boat crashes include:

Family members can file a wrongful death claim if the watercraft crash resulted in the untimely passing of their loved one.

Boat Operation Requirements in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission outlines state watercraft regulations in their official Pennsylvania Boating Handbook. It is unlawful to control a watercraft in a “reckless, negligent, or dangerous manner,” such as speeding in a no-wake zone or operating a pontoon boat at any speed while one or more individuals are not within the passenger area.

Age Requirements

All boat operators must have a Boating Safety Education Certificate to operate a vessel in the state, and those born after January 1, 1982 cannot operate a watercraft with horsepower greater than 25 unless they have the safety certificate. Individuals aged 11 or younger cannot operate a personal watercraft, nor can those aged 12 through 15 with passengers who are 15 years or younger on board. All personal watercraft operators must obtain their safety certificate prior to operation.

Life Jacket Requirements

Additional boating handbook guidelines include equipping watercrafts with USCG-approved wearable life jackets. There must be a jacket for each person aboard, all of which must be “readily accessible,” or stowed in a place where they are easily reachable.  Anyone under 12 years of age must wear a life jacket while on a boat, including kayaks and canoes. Individuals who are water skiing or otherwise getting towed behind the vessel must wear life jackets as well.

The handbook suggests seeing if the life jackets fit by doing the “touchdown test,” or raising both arms directly above the head. If the jacket comes up higher than the chin, it is too large, or the straps need tightening.

Operators who do not comply with these and other state boating regulations could be held liable by a Montgomery County attorney in the event of a collision. Therefore, it is highly advisable to follow all safety code to prevent harm and potential liability.

Discuss Your Boat Wreck with a Montgomery County Attorney

If a watercraft collision left you injured, you should contact a Montgomery County boat accident lawyer to review your case and determine what damages you could be entitled to. Depending on the type of crash, you could receive damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, permanent disfigurement or disability, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Do not wait. Contact our office today to speak with one of our trustworthy injury attorneys.