As the warmer months are approaching, more and more people are making their way to beaches and lakes for some fun on the water. However, this fun can quickly turn into dangerous and devastating accidents if they are not careful.
The Coast Guard reported almost 700 boating accidents in the United States in 2021. While these accidents have a variety of causes, one of the most common causes of boating accidents is bow riding. Bow riding is when a person or group sits on the front end of a boat while it moves across the water. The “bow” is located at the front of the boat and usually can be located by its point. This point helps guide the ship through tough or resistant waters.
Many people believe that it is safe to sit on the bow of a boat. However, the truth is that boats experience the greatest amount of movement toward the front. Therefore, if anyone is sitting on the bow of a boat, they have a high chance of being ejected from the boat anytime the waters become rough or unsteady.
How bow riding accidents occur
A common accident that occurs from bow riding is when the boat accelerates, slows down, takes a sharp turn, or hits a wake, and the individual on the bow is thrown overboard the boat. Sometimes, these individuals are able to be pulled back onto the boat without a scratch, but it is not unusual to experience severe and life-threatening injuries from these types of accidents.
If the driver of the boat is not aware that someone has fallen overboard from the bow, they may continue to move forward. This can cause the individual to come into contact with the propeller, which has several sharp blades. Needless to say, this can become a deadly situation quickly.
Serious injuries that result from bow riding
There are many different injuries that bow riders may experience if they are in a boat accident. The most serious injuries can include:
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Broken, crushed, and fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Head and skull injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve injuries
Injuries like these can have life-altering repercussions. Many of them will leave a person permanently scarred or disfigured, and potentially unable to live a “normal” life.
How can a Charlotte boat accident attorney help with my case?
If you suffered injuries from a boating accident, our Charlotte attorneys will review any police records of, and evidence from, the incident, determine who is at fault, and hold the parties liable for your injuries and damages. The first thing we will do is look for signs of negligence or reckless behavior by the operator. Some of the more common acts of negligence by boat operators can include:
- Failing to follow traffic laws on the water
- Crossing over wakes
- Failing to pay attention to other operators or swimmers around them
- Purposely taking turns quickly to throw people off balance
- Operating a vessel while intoxicated
Once we review the evidence (like social media posts, crash reports, videos and/or photographs), we can make a better argument for liability.
We also review your medical records from before and after your injury. We want to see how you loved before your injury, and understand the true scope of its impact on your life. Are you able to work? Are you able to care for yourself? Are you able to spend meaningful time with loved ones? Is your pain chronic and/or constant? Are there medical treatments available that will heal you, or will you spend the rest of your life managing this injury? These are the types of questions we ask to help us – and a jury – understand just how severe your losses are.
Our Charlotte boat accident lawyers believe in holding responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions, and we will do everything we can to fight for fair compensation to cover your ongoing medical expenses and lost wages.
Seven tips to stay safe while boating this spring and summer
While we know it is impossible to prevent every single boating accident, many of these accidents are caused by simple mistakes and errors. (An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.) We want you to enjoy your time on the water, so here are some tips for protecting yourself this year:
- Never consume alcohol while driving a boat: Some people want to relax, let loose, and have a good time on the boat. But operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous. It can reduce your reaction times, make you tired, and affect your decision making abilities.
- Ensure that you and everyone else is wearing a life vest: It is important that everyone wears a life vest on a boat. No matter if you and your boat guests know how to swim, you never know how someone will react when they fall overboard the boat.
- Have an emergency kit on board and prepare a plan in case there is an emergency: Boating accidents happen all the time. You should have an emergency kit with bandages, OTC medicine, and other tools that may become useful. You should also have a plan in place and let everyone on board know about the plan in case an emergency occurs.
- Stay up to date and aware of the boating laws in Charlotte, NC: Just like motor vehicle laws, some states implement new boating laws every year. It is important to stay up to date on these laws to ensure that you are following them while on the water.
- Always make sure that everyone is seated within the boat: Don’t let your passengers hang off the side or stand while the boat is in motion. Certainly don’t allow them on the bow while the boat is moving. Treat your vessel like a roller coaster car: keep hands and feet inside at all times while the boat is in motion.
- Drive at safe speeds: We know the urge to speed in a speedboat is strong. We also know that speeding near other vessels or people, or in rough waters, is asking for trouble. We’re not saying you should travel at paddle boat speeds, but you should keep safety in mind first before you lay on the gas.
- When the boat is in drive, make sure you are paying attention and not distracted: It may be easy to grab your cell phone, listen to music through headphones, or to look at other boats passing by. However, it is critical that you focus on steering the boat to prevent an accident.
Boat accidents can cause painful and life-changing injuries as well as emotional and mental distress. If you have been injured in a boat accident and are curious about your options, the Charlotte personal injury lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free case evaluations and serve clients in and around Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton. Give us a call today or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Attorney Doug Petho is the owner and founder of Price, Petho & Associates. His primary focus is the litigation of plaintiff’s personal injury suits, and he has successfully tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict involving car accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and work-related accidents. Contact his office in Charlotte today.