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Common Boating Accidents and Personal Liability Claims

Boats, like other means of transportation, present the risk of negligent accident. Learn how you can receive compensation for your injuries.

boat accident: Gilreath Personal Injury Article


Tennessee is a beautiful state that abounds in rivers, lakes, and waterways.  Many visitors as well as residents take advantage of the amazing beauty of this state and enjoy various boating activities like fishing, skiing, tubing, and relaxing on the water.  Unfortunately, accidents can occur during these good times.  Personal injury resulting from a boating accident is handled similar to a car accident.

The TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) is responsible for regulating the recreational activities including, hunting, fishing, and boating.  They enforce all boating laws, patrol the waters for impaired boaters, and do their part to enforce safety regulations. Checking for current registrations is also one of their jobs.

Even though the TWRA does all it can to make the waters as safe as possible, there are still numerous accidents that occur during the summer months.  Below is a list of the most common boating accidents.

  • Your boat hits another boat.

    If one of the operators is injured, he or she may sue the operator of the other boat. It is possible that both boat operators are at fault, and if a personal injury has occurred, the plaintiff may sue both parties. In addition, if a motorboat hits a sailboat, generally the operator of the motorboat is at fault.

  • Your boat hits another boat’s wake.

    The operator’s liability in a boating accident is not always clean cut. Several circumstances have to be taken into consideration such as the size of the wake, the boat’s speed, the visibility, the traffic, and whether the operator warned the passengers about an upcoming wake.

  • Your boat hits a wave.

    Similar to a wake, but there is no other boat that could be held liable.

  • Your boat hits a submerged object, rock or land.

    In dangerous weather with poor visibility, it is easy for a boat operator to hit the coastline or objects. Whether the operator is responsible will depend on the circumstances, as well. Was the operator driving slowly and cautiously and using nautical charts, or was reckless driving responsible?

  • Failure to have proper safety equipment on board.

    This includes items such as lifejackets and vests.  If someone is personally injured, a negligence claim can be filed against the operator.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, you may likely receive damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, your lost earnings, and lost earnings capacity. If the person liable does not have assets or boaters insurance, they may not be able to cover your damages. Unfortunately, your motor vehicle insurance does not cover a boating accident; however, homeowners insurance will occasionally cover boating accidents.

According to Alllaw.com, “Unlike motor vehicle coverage that usually includes uninsured benefits, homeowners’ insurance policies almost never provide coverage for the actions of other people who do not have insurance.”

You can check out this article from our blog to learn how you can stay as safe as possible when you are enjoying boating or watersports. Call a Tennessee personal injury lawyer at Gilreath and Associates if you or one of your loved ones has been involved in a boating accident and obtained injuries due to negligence. We’re here to help.

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