Taking to Alabama’s lakes and Gulf Coast waters can be an exhilarating experience. However, boating can also result in injury and financial losses if you have an accident. A boating accident claim requires you to prove your injuries and damages resulting from someone else’s negligence.
Negligence comes from acting with a lack of reasonable care. As a result, you and your Montgomery boat accident lawyer need to build a strong case with compelling evidence for insurance companies to show the extent of the liability for the accident and win compensation for injuries sustained in the incident.
Pictures and videos of the boat accident can reconstruct how the accident occurred and determine the fault. Visual evidence can help show if the boat operator was speeding or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Photos taken from multiple angles can provide an overall picture of the damage to the boat.
Visual evidence can also show hazards that contributed to the accident and the resulting physical damage. Images of the accident site can include any hidden objects in the water, docks, buoys, or bridges that contributed to the accident.
Visual evidence of these hazards could help prove that they contributed to causing your injuries. It could also show that the boater and owner were neglectful in noticing these hazards and preventing injuries.
It is in your best interest to obtain a statement from witnesses who had a clear and unobstructed view of the accident. Witness statements can give you and your lawyer more insight into what happened before and after the boat accident.
If your boat accident involved another vessel, the witnesses could tell you who collided with who. For example, they can describe the lighting, weather conditions, and speeds both vessels were traveling at the time of the collision. Their observations of the accident’s aftermath can also include how the boat operators reacted and if they called for emergency assistance and exchanged contact and insurance information.
The right-of-way rules are essential to prove liability in a boat accident. Under these rules, vessels passing head-on must keep to the right. If a vessel is overtaking another boat from either side of the waterway, it must give right-of-way to the other boat. When boats pass each other, the vessel on the right side must let the other on the left pass.
Watercraft must slow down and maintain speeds when yielding the right-of-way to avoid collisions. A boat operator can fail to follow these rules. In that case, this could be considered negligent behavior that contributed to an accident or crash with another boat.
An active boat license can also prove if the boat operator had the training and knowledge to operate the boat legally. Alabama requires all boaters over the age of 12 to carry boat licenses. A boat license holder aged 21 or over must supervise boat operators under 14 years of age. The boat operator must have a boating license whenever the boat is in operation.
Alabama assigns points for boat licenses if the boater operates a boat recklessly or doesn’t follow waterway rules. The state can suspend boating licenses when a boat operator has been convicted of violating waterway rules. The police can find out if the boat operator had points on a boat license or lacked a valid boat license at the time of the boat accident, which can further assign liability to the boater.
Local cities such as the City of Orange Beach and Lake Harding have designated no-wake zones for docks and shorelines. A no-wake speed is the slowest speed for boat operators to maintain course and headway. Boat operators must avoid operating their boats at high speeds in their wake that could endanger others.
Your lawyer can review evidence showing that the boat operator was near a wake zone. Photos, videos, and witness statements can show that a boat operator caused damage to property in a wake zone by the wake of their boat.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a boat accident, turn to The Vance Law Firm to help you start your boat accident claim. Our lawyers will take time to understand what happened, gather evidence, and record witness statements to build a legal compensation claim.
Call our law office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a boating accident lawyer to start your case.