Boating Accidents

Personal Injury

Boating Accidents


Boat Accident Lawyers in Huntsville, Alabama

Do you need a boating accident attorney? Boating is one of the most popular outdoor hobbies in Decatur, Guntersville, Athens, and Huntsville, Alabama. Boating and fishing are almost all state sports in Alabama. Many people enjoy spending time on their ski boats or fishing boats on the weekend or vacation. And though it is widely considered a fun and relaxing sport, recreational boating and fishing have a dark side. In 2023, boating accidents in the United States resulted in 3,331 injuries and 709 deaths. Waterways are second only to highways in terms of the number of accidental deaths occurring on them. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident due to someone else's negligence, you should contact a boating accident attorney today. At Ferguson and Ferguson, we have experienced Alabama boating accident attorneys who can help you if you were injured in a boating accident that wasn’t your fault. Call now for your FREE CONSULTATION. Call 256-534-3435. We are here to help you with your boating accident case.

Causes of Boat Accidents

The main causes of these boating accidents are attributable to the following acts of negligence:

  • Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol, even within legal limits, can impair a boat operator’s abilities, as the combined effects of sun and alcohol increase the risk of impairment. This can lead to dangerous situations on the water, where reaction times and decision-making capacities are crucial.
  • Excessive speed: Operating a boat at high speeds increases the likelihood of accidents, especially in crowded or narrow areas. High-speed collisions are often more severe and have tragic outcomes, including damage to the vessel and serious injuries to passengers and others on the water.
  • No proper lookout for boats, objects, and people: Failing to maintain a vigilant watch for other boats, obstacles, and individuals in the water can lead to dangerous situations on the water. The operator's failure to maintain a proper lookout can result in collisions. This includes being vigilant of other watercraft, swimmers, and potential hazards in the water, which are critical for avoiding accidents.
  • Inattentive operation of boats: Becoming distracted or not fully focusing on operating the boat can result in critical errors and potential accidents. Distractions such as electronic devices, conversations, or activities on the boat can cause the operator to lose focus. Momentary lapses in attention can have severe consequences if the boat drifts off course or approaches other objects too closely.
  • Inexperienced operators: Ignorance of the essential rules and regulations governing watercraft navigation can create confusion and hazards for both the boat operator and others on the water. Lack of experience can lead to errors in judgment and handling, particularly in challenging conditions or busy areas. Understanding and adhering to navigational rules are essential for safe boat operation, yet inexperienced operators might not be fully aware of these protocols.
  • General carelessness: These can include a range of behaviors from overloading the boat, operating in swimming areas to using excessive speed in poor visibility conditions. Each of these actions can drastically increase the risk of an incident.
  • Not knowing the navigational rules
  • Collisions with other watercraft: These are often due to excessive speed, inattention, or failure to observe right-of-way rules. Collisions can lead to significant damage and injuries.
  • Defective boat design: Boats with design flaws or construction defects can malfunction and cause accidents. Regular maintenance is crucial as equipment failure, such as engine issues or steering malfunctions, can lead to loss of control. To research or report a boat safety defect, one can consult the U.S. Government's database on boat recalls.
  • Equipment failure
  • Unfavorable weather: Operating a boat in bad weather can lead to accidents, especially if the boat is not handled properly or the operator decides to navigate in heavy weather conditions.
  • Defective boat construction or repair
  • Hitting a big wave or wake at an unsafe speed or angle: This can cause loss of control or ejection of passengers, leading to injuries or drowning.
  • Ejections from the boat due to improper operation or deciding to navigate in heavy weather: This can occur if the boat is handled recklessly or if maneuvers are made sharply at high speeds.
  • Contact with propellers<: This serious accident can occur while swimming near an operating boat or due to falling overboard and being struck by the boat’s propellers. /li>
  • Gasoline fire or explosion: Proper maintenance of fuel systems is essential, as leaks or faults can lead to fires or explosions on board.
  • Impacting a fixed object, such as a navigational aid, pier, or bridge: Collisions with docks, buoys, or underwater hazards are typically due to inattention or poor navigation.
  • Overcrowding and Overloading: Exceeding the boat’s capacity with passengers or equipment can compromise the boat’s stability and handling, potentially leading to capsizing or sinking.
Understanding these risks and practicing responsible boating will help in reducing the frequency and severity of boating accidents in Alabama, ensuring a safer environment for all watercraft enthusiasts.

Errors can also be caused by government or independent entities such as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) or the U.S. Core of Engineers. Not surprisingly, excessive alcohol consumption plays a role in 17 percent of boating accidents. Boating accidents involve many different types of watercraft. Open motorboats were responsible for 43 percent of boating accidents, personal watercraft for 23 percent, and cabin motorboats for 15 percent.

Types of Huntsville Boat/Water Craft Accidents

Boating accidents can occur in various situations and involve different types of boats. Some common types of boats involved in accidents include sailboats, motorboats, jet skis, and pontoons. Accidents can also occur due to collisions with other boats, hitting underwater objects or rocks, capsizing, or falling overboard. It's essential to follow proper safety guidelines and have the right safety equipment on board to minimize the risk of accidents while boating. We represent people injured in the following types of boating accidents including:
  • Airboats
  • Cabin Cruisers
  • Boat Tenders
  • Canoes
  • Defective Boats
  • Falls onboard or overboard
  • Fishing charters
  • Go-fast boats
  • Inflatable boats and inner tubes
  • Jetskis
  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Personal watercrafts
  • Runabouts (e.g., bowriders, center consoles, cuddy cabins, and walkarounds)
  • Sailboats
  • Cruise Ships
  • Wakeboarding
  • Waterskiing
  • Waverunners

Safety Tips to Reduce Risks of Boating Accidents

  • Stay sober while operating a boat
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out for a boat trip.
  • Keep your boat under the maximum capacity
  • Keep a floatation device for each passenger on board
  • Complete a course on boating safety
  • Inspect your boat before you head out
  • Be cautious of propeller safety, especially if children are on board
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on your boat

Injuries in Boating Accidents

Common injuries suffered in boating accidents include the following:

  • Death
  • Amputation
  • Bleeding
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Burns
  • Cuts/bruises/abrasions
  • Fractured/Broken bones
  • Head injury
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of vision
  • Paralysis
  • Permanent scarring
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Sprained muscle
  • Torn ligament
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Whiplash

Damages You Can Recover

The Law Office Of Ferguson and Ferguson is an experienced boating accident law firm with a long track record of obtaining for clients the compensation and accountability they deserve. An individual who negligently operates a boat may be liable for a wide variety of damages that an accident can cause, including but not limited to the following:

  • Disability and Disfigurement
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Mental and Emotional Distress
  • Out of Pocket Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Property Damage
  • Wrongful Death

What communication tools should you have for emergency boat accidents?

To be prepared for emergencies, it is important to have the appropriate communication tools readily available. One recommended tool is a VHF radio, which can be carried with you to ensure effective emergency communication. Alternatively, a cell phone can also be a valuable communication tool, especially when placed in a waterproof case to protect it from potential water damage. These tools, whether a VHF radio or a cell phone, can facilitate the transmission of vital information during emergencies, allowing for swift and efficient communication with the necessary authorities or individuals in charge.

What emergency procedures should you be aware of when boating?

To ensure safety, it is important to be familiar with various emergency procedures. These procedures encompass a range of potential situations, such as fires, man-overboard incidents, and taking on water. By understanding what actions to take in these scenarios, you can effectively respond and minimize risks.

What distractions and emergency procedures should you be aware of when boating?

When boating, it is important to steer clear of certain distractions that can compromise safety. Two major distractions that should be avoided include texting and excessive drinking. Engaging in text messaging diverts attention away from the water surroundings, impairing judgment and reaction time. Similarly, excessive drinking impairs coordination and decision-making abilities, making it difficult to effectively navigate the boat and respond to potential hazards. To ensure safety on the water, maintain a proper lookout and remain alert at all times.

Don’t let an insurance company decide what your personal injury claim is worth, contact us today. It’s our job to get you the money you’re truly owed.

Why Hire a Boating Accident Attorney From Ferguson and Ferguson

The law offices of Ferguson and Ferguson take pride in giving each client individual and personal attention.

  • We are committed to excellent client service.
  • We care about our clients, and have patience.
  • Free phone consultation 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays
  • We answer all our client's calls or return them promptly.
  • We keep our clients informed of the status of their cases.
  • Free office consultation as late as 7 p.m. and Saturdays also
  • Locations near you
  • We make sure that our clients understand each step of their case.
  • We have great compassion for the physical, emotional, and financial problems that our clients suffer, and will do everything possible to get them through their difficult times.

Free Boat Accident Consultation
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a boating accident, call the boating accident attorneys at Ferguson and Ferguson. Your initial consultation is always free, and we do not get paid until you do. If you or a family member finds yourself the victim of a boating accident, consult attorneys trained in the rules and regulations governing boating accidents. At Ferguson and Ferguson, you will find experienced professionals who will evaluate your boating accident case and explain your legal rights. We take every necessary step to investigate the possible causes of your accident so that you receive full compensation for any pain and suffering your boating accident has caused you. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a boating accident, call a boating accident attorney at Ferguson and Ferguson at (256) 350-7200 or 256-534-3435. If we take your case, we work on a contingent-fee basis. That means you pay us only if you receive a monetary reward or recovery of fees. Call us now, because you may have a valid claim entitling you to compensation for the injuries, pain, and suffering a boating accident has caused you. We have offices conveniently located in downtown Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama. We are here to help.

Huntsville Office Location:
303 Williams Avenue SW
Suite 321
Huntsville, AL 35801

Our boating accident attorneys serve every city and county in the State of Alabama.