If you’re injured while out on one of Maine’s waterways, the experienced team of personal injury/boat accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing are prepared to help you receive the just compensation you deserve. Boating is one of Maine’s most popular recreational pastimes. With thousands of lakes and ponds scattered from Berwick to Fort Kent, immense river systems draining tens of thousands of square miles of water, and over 3,700 miles of rugged coastline from Kittery to Eastport, the state is often regarded as a boating mecca.
There are well over 100,000 boats registered for recreational use in Maine, which doesn’t include the thousands of out-of-staters that come to enjoy Maine’s waterways. Though most boaters in Maine practice recreational boating safety, too many accidents are still occurring. In Maine boating accident reports compiled by the US Coast Guard, in one five-year stretch from 2018 to 2022, there were over 260 boats damaged in crashes, which resulted in 173 people injured and 32 fatalities.
Leading Causes of Boat Accidents
On any given day from June to September, there could be hundreds of boats motoring out on one’s favorite lake or cove. It is an unfortunate consequence of so much activity that a wide range of boating accidents can, will, and do happen due to carelessness, inattention, and irresponsibility. Any combination of operator inexperience, alcohol, excessive speed, and inattention is a leading cause of boat accidents. It should be noted that operating a boat recklessly or while intoxicated is a criminal offense. Boaters who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are especially a major problem. The report published by the US Coast Guard found alcohol use as the leading known contributing factor in boating accident fatalities.
Different types of watercraft have different responsibilities when on the water to avoid collisions and protect passengers or swimmers. The respective operators or owners that fail to follow boating laws can be held responsible for injuries or damages due to their negligence.
Accidents and fatalities can also result from boats that run aground or into other boats, submersible objects, or docks while operating at any speed. Accidents can result from bad weather, poor visibility, mechanical failures, and faulty equipment. Slip-and-fall accidents at marinas and public docks can occur due to slippery, rotted, or poorly maintained docks or wharves. Operators of jet skis and wave runners colliding with boaters, swimmers, or fixed objects are other types of accidents involving watercraft.
What are the Most Common Injuries Caused by Boating Incidents?
Some of the most common types of injuries caused by boating accidents that we see include the following:
- Broken bones—the wrist, elbow, arm, ankle, and leg fractures can result from a collision or other type of impact during a boating accident.
- Injuries to the shoulder, knee, or other joints caused by an impact with another boat or dock can limit mobility or lead to chronic pain.
- Lower back injuries from slip-and-fall accidents, being thrown from a boat during a collision, or running aground can have long-lasting effects limiting mobility.
- Lacerations can occur from impact with sharp objects during a collision or a fall from an unexpected acceleration of the boat, which may cause severe cuts that lead to scarring or permanent disfigurement.
- Neck injuries from impact or collision with another boat or stationary object can damage the muscles and ligaments in the neck, causing severe whiplash. This is where whiplash can occur.
- Spinal cord injuries and head trauma can occur during collisions, falls, or blows to the head or spinal cord from high impact leading to long-term rehabilitative care or permanent limited mobility.
- Fatalities, typically drowning, also occur during boating accidents. Falling or being projected overboard on impact can be fatal and the basis for a wrongful death claim.
Contact Maine’s Injury Lawyers
Boat accidents can lead to serious injuries like broken bones, burns, head trauma, neck and spinal injuries, and even fatalities. Our team of Maine boat accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have represented hundreds of victims of boating accidents over the years. If your injuries were due to the negligent actions of another or from faulty or improper use of equipment, we can help you get the compensation you deserve to get back on your feet. If you’ve been injured due to a boating accident, call or visit our office today for a free consultation.