How to Handle a Yacht Accident


It’s nice to have a friend with a boat. You get all the fun and none of the responsibilities. But some people were made to be on the water and buying a yacht is the piece that brings them closer to it. There’s also the benefit of being able to go out whenever you want. But owning a boat isn’t all fun and games, especially if someone gets hurt or there’s an accident involving another boat.

Knowledge is power. If you’ll be partying on a yacht this summer, it’s smart to prepare yourself for a potentially negative outcome. Whether an accident occurred because of your own carelessness or someone else’s negligence, here’s how to handle a yacht accident.

What Caused the Injury?

Yacht parties usually mean a fair amount of alcohol, which often leads to injury. But the most important question a potentially liable yacht owner needs to find an answer to is, “What caused the injury?”

A boat captain is required to be aware of and adhere to certain safety rules, just as the operator of a car or other motor vehicle. This responsibility is present whether the boat is docked or cruising around the water. If there’s alcohol involved, the captain must remain sober. Being unaware of the rules or purposely not following them is grounds for negligence on behalf of someone seeking damages for an injury.

On the other hand, if your guest is acting completely reckless and injures him or herself while on your boat, it becomes more complicated.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove your claim, you have to understand first where the common yacht-related injuries are coming from. Here are a few situations where negligence might be claimed:

  • A collision with another boat or a fixed object
  • Navigation in poor weather
  • Operating at an unsafe speed or angle that can cause collision with wave or wake
  • Lack of actual knowledge in navigating the yacht
  • Operating a boat while under the influence
  • Defective boat design, construction or repair
  • Already exceeded maximum capacity
  • Delegating the boat’s operation to someone who should not be at the wheel (minor, impaired, inexperienced)

If an injured party can prove that the boat captain did anything relating to these situations, they’ll have a solid case for negligence.

Damages can include medical bill coverage, settlement for pain and suffering depending on the injury, as well as lost earnings. The more severe the injury, the larger potential for damages. Obviously, it’s within a yacht captain’s best interests to follow the rules when going out on the water with others onboard.

What if My Boat Gets Hit by Another Boat?

So far, this article has talked about physical injuries a person might sustain while on a boat, and how to handle a yacht accident. But what happens if your boat gets hit by another boat?

As with any other legal proceeding, it’s important to document the situation. Take pictures of the damage, gather witness statements and contact information, and make sure to also call the police. A police report is necessary when attempting to claim insurance money.

Before attempting to file an insurance claim, it’s smart to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. They’ll make sure that you communicate with your insurer in a way that gets you the most money back possible. If it was your fault, they’ll make sure that you don’t implicate yourself unnecessarily.

No insurance? Still make sure to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. They’ll help you find the best solution for your problem.
Therman Law Offices has lines that are open 24/7 for situations like these. If you’re not sure how to handle a yacht accident, our staff will help guide you through what to do. Call 312.588.1900 for a free consultation!

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