Boating Accidents Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
Accidents are an unfortunate part of recreational boating activities. According to Statista, 2,641 people in the United States were injured in boating accidents in 2021—and damages related to boating activities totaled $68 million. These figures underscore why boating accident victims must understand their rights and options for compensation.
At Burgess Law Firm PC, we strive to protect our clients’ right to fair compensation. We work hard to ensure our clients can move forward with confidence after any kind of boating accident. If you live anywhere in Kansas City or throughout the Kansas City Metro area, set up a consultation with our personal injury attorney today.
Boating Accidents in Missouri
Missouri has many lakes and rivers popular for boating, which, unfortunately, can lead to boating accidents.
The following are common types of boating accidents in Missouri:
Collision With Another Vessel
This accident can occur when two boats collide, often due to operator error, impaired driving, or a failure to maintain a proper lookout.
Capsizing occurs when a boat flips over or turns upside down, often due to overloading, sudden shifts in weight, or rough water conditions.
Falls overboard can happen when a passenger or operator falls out of the boat and into the water, often due to operator error or unsafe boating practices.
Grounding or Running Aground
Grounding occurs when a boat hits the bottom of the waterway, often due to operator error, poor visibility, or shallow water conditions.
Fire or Explosion
Boats can catch fire or explode due to a variety of reasons, such as fuel leaks, electrical malfunctions, or improper use of flammable materials.
Propeller injuries occur when a person comes into contact with the boat’s propeller, often due to operator error or unsafe boating practices.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when a boat’s engine exhaust enters the cabin or enclosed spaces, often due to poor ventilation or engine malfunctions.
Boating accidents may involve any of the following watercraft:
Motorboats are a common type of boat involved in boating accidents in Missouri. An engine powers them and can vary in size and speed.
Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
PWCs are small, fast watercraft ridden in a sitting or standing position. They include jet skis, WaveRunners, and other similar vehicles.
Sailboats are boats powered by wind and use sails to propel themselves through the water.
Houseboats are boats designed to be used as floating homes or vacation rentals. They can be large and slow-moving and may be more difficult to maneuver than other boats.
Canoes and Kayaks
Canoes and kayaks are smaller, human-powered boats often used for recreational purposes. They can be involved in accidents if they collide with other boats or the occupants fall out.
Fishing boats are designed for fishing and may be equipped with fishing gear such as rods and nets. They can be involved in accidents if they collide with other boats or if occupants fall overboard.
Pontoon boats have a flat deck supported by two or more pontoons. They are often used for leisure activities such as cruising or fishing.
Liability for a Boating Accident
Liability for a boating accident essentially boils down to boating negligence or recklessness in boating. When clients ask, “Who can be held liable for a boating accident?” we mention the following as possible liable parties:
Injured Boat Driver/Owner
If the driver or owner of the boat on which the injured person was riding was negligent or acted recklessly in some way, they may be held liable for damages.
Other Boat Driver/Owner
If the accident was caused by the negligence or recklessness of the driver or owner of the other boat involved in the accident, they may be held liable for damages.
The manufacturer might be liable for damages if a boat defect that caused the accident is determined.
If the accident was caused by a dangerous condition on the dock or pier, the owner or operator of the dock may be held liable for damages.
If the operator of a boat was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, they may be held liable for damages, and criminal charges may also be filed against them.
Other parties, such as passengers, may have a role in causing an accident. For instance, a drunk passenger may lead the boat driver to cause an accident.
Proving Negligence in a Boating Accident
Proving negligence is an important part of any personal injury case, including boating accidents. To prove negligence in a boating accident case in Missouri, the injured party must establish the following elements:
The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In the context of a boating accident, the defendant had a duty to operate their boat safely and responsibly and to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to others.
The defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently or recklessly. This situation could include operating the boat at an excessive speed, failing to keep a proper lookout, or failing to follow maritime rules and regulations.
The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This situation means that the plaintiff must be able to show that they would not have been injured but for the defendant’s negligent or reckless behavior.
In a boating accident case, evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, and physical evidence such as damage to the boats can be used to establish these elements of negligence. It’s vital to reach out to a personal injury attorney for guidance.
Possible Damages for a Boating Accident in Missouri
Boating accident victims may be eligible for the following damages:
Medical expenses could be covered, such as the cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and any other related medical expenses. If the injuries are severe, this may also include future medical expenses.
If the injuries sustained in the accident prevent the victim from working, they might be entitled to compensation for lost wages.
Eligible property damage may include repairing or replacing the property, such as the boat.
Boating accidents can cause physical and emotional pain and suffering, possibly entitling the victim to compensation for these damages.
If the boating accident results in a fatality, the victim’s surviving family members may be entitled to damages for loss of financial support and companionship and funeral expenses due to wrongful death in a boating accident.
A good rule of thumb is to consult with a boating accident attorney to determine eligibility for compensation. A boating accident and personal injury attorney can help accident victims understand their rights and options throughout the legal process.
Boating Accidents Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
No one deserves to go through a personal injury alone. At Burgess Law Firm PC, we know what it takes to help our clients pursue fair compensation. Our attorney takes a compassionate, detail-oriented approach to every single case. Reach out today to set up an appointment.