Boating Accident Attorney in Janesville, Wisconsin
Although landlocked, Wisconsin’s lakes provide beautiful recreational boating spots—and, unfortunately, ample opportunity for accidents.
Being involved in a boating accident can be terrifying, especially if you or a loved one has been hurt. To pile onto the stress you’re already feeling, boat accident laws are different and more complex when compared to car accident laws, making them much more daunting to navigate if you want to seek compensation for any injuries or other damages.
If you’ve been hurt in a boat accident in Janesville or Beloit, Wisconsin, call me at The Paul Benson Law Firm. As an experienced boating accident and personal injury attorney, I can offer you a realistic assessment of your case and aid you in the pursuit of the maximum compensation you deserve.
Boating Accidents in Wisconsin
First, let’s go over some common facts about boating accidents, as well as the laws surrounding them in Wisconsin.
Boating accidents can occur on commercial or recreational vessels. A commercial boat in navigable waters (that is, those that transport commodities or passengers) is usually governed by federal boating laws. Many of these are designed to protect boat workers.
State laws generally come into play with recreational watercraft on bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. These can include airboats, kayaks, tugboats, jet skis, wave runners, speedboats, sailboats, fishing boats, etc.
No matter the circumstances of your accident, it’s crucial to consult a Wisconsin attorney with experience handling boating injuries. When you’re ready to discuss your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to my firm in Janesville, Wisconsin.
In order to receive compensation, you need to prove boating negligence. You must prove that someone involved with the operation or manufacture of the boat or dock owed you a duty of care that they did not deliver, and that your injury occurred because this duty was breached.
If you were in a recreational boating accident, it is advisable to contact a boat accident attorney. They will aim to prove your injuries were the result of negligence and that the negligent party is therefore liable for the accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Boat Accident?
The driver of a boat should always have their passenger’s safety in mind, but they can be proven negligent in a variety of cases.
In the case of a collision with another boat, both drivers can be found negligent if they were driving recklessly. If the other boat driver caused a wake in a no-wake zone such as a marina and your driver hit the wake, you could have a case against the other driver as well.
A driver could collide with another boat, another boat’s wake, a wave, an object, or the land. You are more likely to win compensation in the first two cases, as a driver should be able to detect hazards in the surrounding area, but the driver has less control over waves that are unavoidable and submerged objects that are invisible even when the driver is taking proper care.
If your driver runs aground, proving negligence will depend on how much care the driver was taking. For example, if they run aground because of poor visibility, they might not be found negligent, but they can be found negligent if they were driving recklessly.
Lack of Equipment
All boats in Wisconsin are required to have such implements as personal flotation devices, visual distress signals, navigation lights, and fire extinguishers on board. If your injury was caused by lack of such equipment, you can hold the boat driver or owner liable.
Any driver who was drunk is liable for a boating accident, as it is illegal to operate a boat in Wisconsin if your BAC is at or over 0.08%.
Other Negligent Behavior
In Wisconsin, strict regulations determine everything about how the vessel can be operated. If your lawyer can prove that one of these rules was broken— for example, your driver was found to have caused injuries due to overloading a boat—then you may have a strong claim to pursue compensation.
The Boat Manufacturer
All manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for their intended use. If a boat has a defect that renders it unreasonably dangerous or not fit for its intended purpose, and this defect directly causes an accident that results in injuries, the manufacturer may be held legally liable.
The Dock Owner
If your injuries were caused when your boat driver hit a dock, the owner of the dock might be liable. Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn others of any known hazards. This duty extends to docks and other waterfront structures. If the dock owner fails to fulfill this duty and their negligence contributes to an accident, they may be held legally responsible for resulting injuries.
Possible Damages Available to Recover After a Boat Accident
Wisconsin does not require boats to be insured. However, with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can still sue the at-fault party whether or not they have insurance. You can sue for economic damages such as injury and lost wages, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. In the case of a wrongful death in a boating accident, the family may also be able to sue for funeral expenses and lost wages.
Boating Accident Attorney in Janesville, Wisconsin
If you’ve been in a boating accident in Wisconsin, call me, Paul Benson, at The Paul Benson Law Firm in Janesville. Serving Janesville, Beloit, and all of Rock County, I am a community-minded, dedicated personal injury attorney with extensive jury trial experience. I will be committed to fighting for the remuneration you deserve. Call today for a consultation.