Boat Accident Lawsuit In 2024 | Guide Steps, Claim, and Settlement

Unlike other transportation accidents, boating accidents are the most complex as they often involve both state and federal laws. However, filing a boat accident lawsuit by taking professional assistance from an experienced attorney will increase your chances of recovering damages. 

In 2020, 767 people died and 3,191 people were injured in boating accidents. Compared to the previous year, the number of deaths and injuries directly linked to boating accidents increased considerably. 
Boat accident lawsuit

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The leading causes of boating accidents

  • Alcohol use. 
  • Environmental complications.
  • Improper lookouts.
  • Excessive speed. 
  • Machinery failure. 
  • Operator inattention.
  • Operator inexperience.
  • Restricted vision.
  • Rules of the road infraction. 
  • Sharp turns. 

Other reasons

  • Boat fire/explosion.
  • Boat sinking or tipping.
  • Collisions with fixed objects. 
  • Collisions with other boats, personal watercraft, or swimmers. 
  • Fall or slip due to a wet surface. 

Federal boating laws

Federal laws, called Admiralty or Maritime laws generally govern boat accident lawsuit that occurs:

    • On navigable waters (bodies of water that provide a channel for the transportation of goods and people).
    • Involving traditional maritime activities (commercial activities rather than recreational activities). 

Determining liability in a boat accidents

Just like car accidents, you generally have to prove that some other party was negligent in a boating accident. It will help you recover the damages for your injuries. Here are the common examples of individuals and parties that are held liable for boating accidents.

  • A boat operator.
  • A boat owner. 
  • A manufacturer. 
  • An employer. 

In addition, if you collide with another boat on the lake, you have to prove that:

    • The operator of the boat breached that duty of care. 
    • The operator of the boat owed you a duty of care. 
    • The breach was the proximate cause of your injuries. 

Compensable damages in a boat accident lawsuit

  • Emotional trauma.
  • Loss of wages and work time. 
  • Medical expenses. 
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Property damage. 

Nevertheless, if a wrongful death occurs because of the boating accident, certain family members of the deceased can file a boat accident claim for:

  • Funeral costs.
  • Lost companionship.
  • Lost wages.

Steps to take after a boat accident

It’s important to take stock of any injuries, including your own. Moreover, if the boat appears to have been damaged, ensure everyone is wearing a life jacket and drop anchor. 


You should call 911 immediately. Or else, you can use a VHF radio to make a distress call. 

You need to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Therefore, collect as much information about the accident as you can. It includes:

  • Names and contact information of any witnesses. 
  • Names and contact information of any parties involved. 
  • Photographs of any injuries or damages. 

Submit a Boating Accident Report (BAR) with the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the accident occurred. 

A skilled and experienced boating attorney will help you investigate the accident. In addition, they will make efforts to file an insurance claim and collect the damages to get maximum compensation.

Deadlines to file a boating accident

  • Federal regulations require the filing of a boat accident report (BAR) within 48 hours when someone dies, disappears from a vessel, or is seriously injured. 
  • It must be filed within 10 days when a vessel’s damages exceed $2,000 or the vessel is completely lost. 

If you want a lawyer who cares about you and the outcome of your boat accident lawsuit, choose Ethen Ostroff. He and his professional connections will ensure you get every dollar possible for what you went through.

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