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Phenix City Boat Accident Lawyer

The United States Coast Guard reports 4,463 recreational boating accidents occurred in 2016, resulting in 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries, and over $49 million in property damage. The state of Alabama accounted for 46 boat-related accidents in 2016, 12 of which resulted in fatal injuries, and all of which collectively caused $560,610 in property damage.

After a boat accident, you may have many questions and concerns about what to do, what authorities should get involved, and how insurance and medical claims may proceed. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney could discuss your case with you and provide guidance and legal assistance through the next steps in filing your claim and pursuing compensation. Speak with a Phenix City boat accident lawyer.

Alabama Boating Laws and Regulations

The Boating Safety Act of 1959, the Roberson/Archer Act of 1994, and the Boating Safety Enhancement Act of 2001 all govern the registration of watercraft and ensure the safety of individuals and property while operating personal watercraft and vessels within the state of Alabama.

In addition, the Alabama Marine Patrol, a division of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, has established boating rules and regulations for the operation of a vessel or personal watercraft within the jurisdiction of Alabama. These rules are meant to safeguard boaters who are using reasonable care while operating their personal watercraft or vessel, and include regulations such as:

  • All boats must be equipped with proper navigation lights
  • Operators, passengers, or persons being towed must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life preserver.
  • All watercraft must have a “kill switch” for the engine, unless the craft has a self-circling feature installed
  • Additional restrictions for individuals under the age of 12

Violation of these regulations can result in fines or, under certain circumstances, an immediate arrest. Speak with a Phenix City boat accident lawyer to learn more.

Reporting a Boating Accident

Reporting boat accidents in Phenix City is particularly important when the accident results in death, serious injury, or damages equal to or exceeding $50 in value.

After a boat accident occurs in Phenix City, Alabama, an accident report must be submitted to the Marine Patrol Division, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on forms provided by the Marine Patrol Officers, Marine Patrol Division or County Sheriff’s Offices.

The Alabama Marine Patrol Board allows individuals a period of 10 days after an incident to report it. This is a relatively short period of time to inform the proper channels of harm caused by another operator’s negligence, but a Phenix City boat accident attorney could help ensure all relevant deadlines are met.

Proving Liability

There are various ways boating accidents may occur in Alabama, such as:

  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Operator inattention or inexperience
  • Weaving in and out between other boats
  • Reckless or careless operation
  • Speeding

As with most personal injury accidents, negligence is typically a requirement for liability in Phenix City boating accidents. In addition, if a marine police officer or other law enforcement official has a reason to believe that the offending party contributed to the accident, Alabama § 33-5-76 allows them to make an arrest at the scene.

An arrest of the guilty party at the accident scene could assist in proving negligence on the part of the arrested party. An experienced Phenix City boat accident lawyer could create and file a boat accident claim on the person’s behalf based on this and other elements that may prove negligence by another.

Talk to a Phenix Boat Accident Attorney Today

The hours and days after being injured in a boat accident can be stressful and tumultuous, especially if they involve dealing with severe injuries or damage to personal property. By immediately contacting a Phenix City boat accident lawyer, you are more likely to be able to give your lawyer an accurate account of the events leading up to the accident and start effectively pursuing compensation. Call today to schedule a consultation.