During 2015, there were 32 boating accidents on Maine waterways. Seven of these accidents were considered fatal resulting in eight deaths. While the overall death toll was slightly higher in 2015 than in prior years, there were fewer accidents in 2015 than in prior years. Maine’s coastline is 230 miles long, offering boaters plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. With more than 100,000 boats registered in Maine, all boat owners and operators must ensure they are safe on the waterways.
Maine Boating Accidents: A Small Percentage
According to U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, during 2015 there were more than 4,000 boating accidents in the United States. There were more than 11 million watercrafts registered in the United States in 2015. Boating accidents resulted in more than 600 deaths during 2015. Of the reported deaths, 22 were children under the age of 13. These are frightening statistics when we consider how many people use and enjoy the waterways in warm weather.
Leading Causes of Fatal Accidents
The Coast Guard identified five primary factors that contributed to a potential boating accident during 2015. These factors were:
- Operator inexperience
- Machinery failure
- Excessive speed
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
It is worth noting that 17 percent of all accidents involved an operator under the influence of alcohol.
Watercraft Accident Injuries
Further investigation of the report issued by the Coast Guard shows that 2,613 people in the United States were injured and that an estimated $42 million in property was damaged in watercraft accidents. June, July, and August are the months with the highest number of reported accidents. The majority of those accidents occurred on Saturdays and Sundays. Across the United States, victims suffered the following types of injuries:
- 592 Lacerations
- 487 Broken bones
- 355 Scrapes and bruises
- 240 Concussions
- 173 Hypothermia
- 161 Sprains/strains
- 125 Burns
Given these statistics, victims of boating accidents may need the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Holding Boat Operators Accountable for Injuries
Boat operators have a duty of care to their passengers. If you lose a loved one to drowning, the most common type of death in a boating accident, you may have the right to sue the boat operator for wrongful death if negligent operation caused or contributed to the drowning. If you suffer an injury including concussion, sprain or burn in a boating accident, you may have the right to pursue the boat operator for your medical bills, for your time lost from work and for any additional costs you incur as a result of an accident. Boat operators, like automobile operators, may be responsible for damages if the operator was negligent. Boat operators are required to pay attention to water traffic, to obey the rules of the waterway and to have the proper safety equipment, including the proper number of life jackets available.
Maine Personal Injury Statutes: Why They Matter
Victims of an accident caused by a third-party must act promptly due to the statutes of limitations. Under Maine law, wrongful death cases must be filed by the decedent’s personal representative not later than two years after the date of death. In cases of injury, the victim usually has six years to file a civil lawsuit. Maine recognizes the defense of comparative negligence This means if the plaintiff’s own negligence was equal to or greater than the other party’s negligence, the plaintiff loses and does not recover any damages.
Preventing Boating Accidents
At The Law Offices of Fales & Fales, P.A, we understand the importance of boating safety and are avid supporters of creating a float plan in order to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur on our waterways. By taking the necessary steps for a safer boat outing, lives can be saved and boating activities can continue to be fun had by all.
If you lost a loved one or you were injured in a boating accident on Maine waterways, consider contacting The Law Offices of Fales & Fales, P.A, at (888) 526-9408 for a free consultation.
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