Maryland Injury Lawyers Protecting Victims of Boating Accidents
Helping those injured or killed in lake, river, or ocean accidents for more than 30 years
Maryland has 7,719 miles of shoreline—miles and miles of gorgeous water available to the citizens of our state for recreational water activities like boating, sailing, fishing, canoeing, jet-skiing, and all sorts of watercraft. As more and more people discover the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and inland waterways, the risk of accidents increase. Most boaters operate their vessels in a safe manner, but the reckless or negligent behavior of others can turn a beautiful day out on the water into a nightmare.
The injury attorneys at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. represent people like you who have been injured through no fault of their own, whether in a sailing accident, boating accident, or other watercraft accident. We have experience working on these types of cases in Baltimore, Columbia, and throughout the state. Whether your accident resulted in property damage, serious injury, or wrongful death, our legal team is here to help.
Types of boating accidents
Even though boats, jet skis, sailboats and the like are technically “recreational vehicles,” that doesn’t make them any less dangerous when they’re operated by someone without proper training, or someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under the control of the wrong person, a boat can cause serious or catastrophic injuries just as debilitating as those one would suffer in a car accident.
There are many different kinds of accidents that can happen in Maryland’s waters:
- Boat crashes
- Collisions with other vessels or objects
- Capsizing and sinking
- People falling overboard
- Fuel fires or explosions
- Slips and falls on the boat
- Striking underwater objects
- Wake damage
Causes of Maryland boat accidents
In 2016, there were 150 boating accidents in Maryland, with 16 fatalities. The numbers don’t lie: boating accidents happen too often on our waterways. We know that the majority of boat owners exercise the highest level of caution when out on the water to prevent injuries from fellow boating enthusiasts. However, it only takes one careless person to cause a dangerous situation that can cause injury and tragedy to multiple people.
Just like car and truck accidents, there are many reasons boat accidents happen. Responsible boat owners learn how to drive their boats and watercraft safely, and thoroughly understand the rules of the waterways. They should understand their obligation to exercise caution on the water and their responsibility to prevent harm and injuries from occurring to their passengers, other boaters, swimmers, and anyone else in the ocean, bay, or river where they’re operating their watercraft.
Common causes of Maryland boating accidents include:
- Operator inattention or inexperience. A boat operator who’s distracted can easily cause a crash. Much like distracted driving, if someone isn’t paying attention behind the wheel, they can’t quickly maneuver out of the path of an obstacle or see upcoming hazards. Further, an inexperienced watercraft operator is very dangerous, as they may be uneducated about basic boating rules and regulations or what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Alcohol or drug use. Boaters in Maryland must adhere to the same drinking and driving laws as motorists. They are considered impaired if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs can slow reaction time, cause careless behavior, and result in tragic accidents.
- Reckless behavior. Boating accidents are often caused by the reckless behavior of both drivers and passengers. For example: driving too close to other boats or watercraft, jumping the wake of another boat while on a jet ski, allowing passengers to ride on the bow, or racing another boat.
- Failure to yield. Many inexperienced or careless operators can misunderstand or ignore navigational rules and cause a crash.
- Excessive speed. Today’s boats and personal watercraft have the capacity to travel at top speeds, which makes them all the more dangerous. When a boat is speeding, especially in a congested area, the operator can have difficulty stopping or slowing down, seeing other boaters or swimmers, or recognizing objects or hazards in the water.
- Overloading. All boats and watercraft have a maximum number of people allowed on board or weight capacity for safety reasons. Typically, this is because there won’t be enough safety equipment on board in the event of an emergency. If a boat owner or operator disregards these safety rules, injuries or fatalities can occur.
- Equipment failure. Watercraft can’t operate safely unless they have proper working equipment and parts. If a boat malfunctions, it can cause serious accidents. Boat owners must ensure their boats are always properly maintained, and keep up on all repairs, or they’re risking equipment-related accidents.
- Weather. It’s true that the weather is unpredictable. Sudden bad weather, like rainstorms or heavy winds can lead to boating accidents. However, it’s also up to boat owners to take proper safety precautions for bad weather, and have emergency weather plans in place, including all safety equipment.
A boat crash can result in physical harm ranging from spinal cord injuries to head trauma—causing challenging financial issues like medical bills and lost wages. Knowing where to start with your legal options can be daunting. Let the team at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. help.
Skilled Maryland boat accident attorneys work to get you compensation
Boating accidents can quickly turn disastrous. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a watercraft accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the Maryland personal injury lawyers at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. are ready to help. We will fight tenaciously to get you the compensation you deserve. To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation, please call 410-988-4449 or fill out our contact form.