Indiana boasts a network of lakes and streams perfect for boating, canoeing, and fishing for bass and trout. Boaters must follow certain rules in order to use them. They must pass a boater education class sponsored by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and carry an ID card showing they can operate a motorboat safely and legally.
Unfortunately, not all boaters contemplate safety when it infringes on their fun. Boaters drink, speed, show off, and may not even know how to operate their crafts. Any of these unwelcome people at the helm can cause serious accidents for other boaters, jet skiers, swimmers, and passengers. If you are injured on one of Indiana’s pristine lakes around Marion County, a Beech Grove boat accident lawyer could help you hold the negligent boat operator accountable. Our experienced personal injury attorneys know exactly what to do to in this situation.
Most boating accidents are caused by negligence, although some occur because of defective parts or poorly performed maintenance.
To prevail in a negligence lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove four elements of the civil tort. First, they must prove they had a duty to others to share the waterways to act responsibly. If so, they must then prove the duty was breached. The third element to prove is that the breach of duty caused an injury, with the final element being the injuries led to compensable damages. Check with a Beech Grove boat injury attorney to discuss whether an accident amounts to negligence.
According to Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4, persons injured in boating accidents or any other personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages. Limited exceptions include plaintiffs younger than 18 or who are mentally incapacitated, where the two-year clock does not begin to tick until the person turns 18 or competence is restored.
It is possible that both boat operators are responsible for an accident. Thirty-three states, including Indiana, look to a modified comparative negligence rule, under IC § 34-51-2-6. The court will compare the degree of fault between the plaintiff and defendant. If the plaintiff is more at fault than the defendant, recovery of damages is barred. However, if the defendant is more at fault, the plaintiff can recover the percentage of the damages caused by the defendant.
For example, the jury awards $1 million in damages to a plaintiff who is assigned 20 percent of the fault in a boating accident. The award will be reduced to $800,000, since the degree of fault assigned to the defendant is 80 percent.
Compensatory damages repay plaintiffs for monetary losses like present and future medical care if it is related to the accident, as well as more subjective losses, such as the emotional distress the accident triggers or disfigurement from burns suffered when the boat explodes.
A boat crash attorney in Beech Grove may request punitive damages be awarded to punish a defendant who acts outrageously, intentionally, or with extreme disregard for someone else’s well-being.
If two watercrafts collide, boaters risk getting burned if there is a fire and drowning if they are thrown unconscious into the water. Swimmers can lose limbs from propellers and easily drown if caught beneath a boat. You should remain vigilant and follow safety rules to help yourself.
When you are in an accident because another boater is reckless or careless, you should take the opportunity to hold that person responsible for your injuries and other losses. Negligence lawsuits are built on evidence that a Beech Grove boat accident lawyer could gather and present to get you the most compensation possible. Contact us today to get help.