Baltimore residents are fortunate to enjoy recreational boating activities, including sailing, motorboating, and kayaking throughout the summer months. If you are hurt in a boating accident, that enjoyment can quickly change course. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.
At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, our experienced Baltimore boating accident lawyers are here to fight to get the compensation you deserve. Over the past 40 years, we have built a reputation for providing smart and sound legal advice. Call us today to get the benefit of over 80 years of collective experience on your side.
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How WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help if You Were Injured in a Baltimore Boating Accident
Recovering compensation after a boating accident in Baltimore, MD takes much more than filing a simple insurance claim.
To get the money you need, you have to:
- Prove what caused the accident
- Identify the party who is legally and financially responsible for the accident
- Provide strong evidence to establish the value of your claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies whose goal is to minimize your payment
In some cases, you might even have to go to court to get a fair compensation award.
Some accident victims encounter roadblocks at every turn. The insurance company might start asking disturbing questions. What was your role in the accident? Did you really need the medical care you received? Can you prove that you are unable to work?
Others face a problem they might not even recognize. The insurance company might immediately offer a settlement. But is that settlement award fair?
Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers are here to help you navigate these and any other questions that arise. We are just a phone call away and will handle every aspect of your case, including:
- Conducting a full investigation into the accident
- Interviewing witnesses
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Defending you when someone else tries to blame you for the accident or the severity of your injuries
If you have any questions at all about your injury claim, getting legal help is always a good idea. Our Baltimore personal injury attorneys know the tactics insurance companies might use to deny or reduce your settlement award. Give us a call today to discuss options in your specific case.
How Common Are Boating Accidents?
Maryland has over 7,700 miles of shoreline, rivers, bays and inland waterways. In warmer weather, boaters understandably flock to the Chesapeake Bay to enjoy the many recreational activities available. In 2019 alone, Maryland had 170,843 registered vessels using its waterways. As the waters become more crowded, the risk of accidents increases.
In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were 613 boating fatalities throughout the United States. 79% of these fatal boating accident victims drowned–and 86% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.
The highest percentage of Maryland boating accidents in 2019 involved:
- Open motorboats (45%)
- Cabin motorboats (16%)
- Personal watercraft (19%)
- Pontoon boats (8%)
- Kayaks, canoes & auxiliary sailboats (8%)
In 2019, there were 16 boating fatalities in Maryland alone–and 65 boating accidents that caused injuries. The bulk of those accidents took place in July and August–and Saturdays were by far the most dangerous day on the water.
In terms of property damage, the estimated damage total for 2019 was $1,141,215.
Immediate Action Steps After a Boating Accident
Some of the important action steps after a boating accident mirror those necessary after a car accident. You should:
- Stop the vessel
- Call for help
- Provide as much assistance as possible to anyone who is injured
- Exchange contact information
You should also put on a life jacket immediately if you aren’t already wearing one. Conditions can quickly deteriorate after a boating accident and you might find yourself in the water.
If you’re involved in a boating accident, Maryland also requires that you report the accident to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources within 48 hours if:
- A person involved in the accident receives medical treatment beyond simple first aid
- The accident causes the death or disappearance of a person
You must report the accident within ten days if there is damage to any vessel valued at more than $2,000.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Most boat operators act responsibly to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, one simple careless act can put others at risk–and the most common causes of Baltimore boating accidents involve operator negligence.
Boating accidents often happen because of:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Operator inattention
- Drug and alcohol use (boating under the influence)
- Aggressive or dangerous driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Problems with the vessel itself
- Failure to keep a proper lookout
Finding out what happened is the first step to recovering compensation if you were hurt in a boating accident. Depending upon what happened, the operator of the vessel could be liable for negligence. The manufacturer of a defective boat part might even be strictly liable for damages.
If you don’t know what happened, or need help getting the solid proof you need to file a claim, don’t hesitate to call our boating accident lawyers for help.
Types of Boating Accident Cases We Handle
If you were hurt in a boating accident, it can be helpful to discuss your unique situation with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. Our skilled accident lawyers at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers will help you understand your legal rights and what you can do to protect them.
We help clients who have been hurt in boating accidents involving:
- Collisions with other vessels
- Collisions with docks, jetties and other types of fixed objects
- Running aground
- Fires or explosions
- Wake damage
- People falling overboard
- Collisions with underwater objects
We have experience working on these types of cases in Baltimore city and the surrounding communities. If you’re interested in discussing your case with someone who understands Maryland’s boating laws and regulations, don’t hesitate to call our law office for a free consultation.
Common Injuries Sustained by Boating Accident Victims
When a negligent operator is in charge of the boat, a boating accident can cause serious injuries that are comparable to those sustained in car or truck accidents. Our personal injury lawyers can help if you have sustained:
- Chest injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Soft tissue damage
- Neck injuries
- And more
These types of injuries can require extensive and ongoing treatment. Some boating accident victims hesitate to pursue their right to compensation. After all, many accident victims are injured on boats owned by friends or family members.
While this is understandable, it’s important to remember that an insurance company will usually pay your compensation–and that the money you receive could be the only way to pay your bills. If you want to learn more about our practice areas, give our law firm a call. It’s free to ask for our advice and there’s no obligation to hire us.
You Only Have a Limited Time to Sue for Damages
Boating accidents can be governed by federal, state and maritime laws, depending upon where the accident took place. It’s always important to pay attention to the time limits for filing a claim if you were hurt. In Maryland, you only have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages Available to Baltimore Boating Accident Victims
If you’re considering a settlement award, it’s important to consider both the costs of your injury to-date and possible future costs. Once you sign, you can’t change your mind and ask for more money. A fair settlement should include compensation to cover the cost of:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, PTSD and anxiety
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Damages for wrongful death
- And more
Even if everyone responsible for the accident is fully insured, the insurance companies aren’t going to simply give you the money you need. You have to ask for it. Our lawyers work with leading medical, scientific and financial experts to make sure we ask for enough compensation to keep you protected in the future.
The dollar amount you receive is often a direct reflection of your lawyer’s skills and experience. At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, we are known as experienced and fierce advocates for our clients.
Baltimore insurance companies know our reputation for being dedicated and successful trial lawyers. The insurance company is much more likely to deal fairly if they know they might really end up in court.
Contact a Knowledgeable Baltimore, MD Maritime Accident Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation Today
At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, we know how important it is to get money in your hands after an accident. We are dedicated to resolving your case as quickly and effectively as possible. We’re a family-run personal injury law firm that’s been around for over four decades, so we understand what you and your family are going through–and we take our client relationships seriously.
If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident on the water, call an experienced boating accident lawyer today. You can also fill out our online contact forms. Your first consultation is always free, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.