When the weather is nice out, many people in the Philadelphia area enjoy taking their boat out on the Delaware River for a cruise. Many others who do not have a boat use kayaks or even canoes to enjoy the scenery of the river. However, boating accidents are not unheard of, and can happen to even the safest boater, resulting in a serious or even fatal injury.
This is why the personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian work to represent those who have been hurt in boating accidents in the state of Pennsylvania.
Boating accidents are an, unfortunately, common part of life in the United States. While they happen far less often than car accidents, that does not mean that they are unexpected, especially in the warm summer months when people want to enjoy the state's fine waterways.
According to the United States Coast Guard, there were no fewer than 4,064 boating accidents in the United States in 2014. These accidents resulted in 610 deaths, an astounding 2,678 injuries, and an estimated $39 million in property damage. Out of these injuries, a significant number happened in Pennsylvania: 2014 saw 66 boating accidents within the border of our state, resulting in 39 injuries, 21 deaths, and $215,637 in property damage.
The financial cost of these boating accidents is significant, and does not even include actual damages, like medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that victims had to go through because of the accident.
Causes of Boat Accidents
There are numerous things that can go wrong while out on the waterways of Philadelphia that can cause a boating accident. Some boat accidents even have more than one cause that contributed to the crash.
The U.S. Coast Guard, however, has isolated five of the most common causes of a boat accident. According to their figures, operator inattention, improper lookout, driver inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol were the most common culprits behind a boat crash during 2014. Together, these problems caused more than half of the boating accidents in the United States that year. When the boating accident proved to be a fatal one, alcohol was found to be a leading factor in the crash 21% of the time.
Another common cause of a boat accident is a mechanical failure. 383 accidents and 107 injuries occurred in 2014 that were caused by equipment or a mechanical failure with the boat. Defects like these are especially dangerous when it comes to boating, as they leave people stranded in the middle of the river, often too far from shore to get the help they need.
Boat Accident Injuries
Boat accidents are often more serious than car accidents, in large part because they do not happen on solid ground. When there is a car crash, all of the drivers and occupants can take some time to understand what happened before acting. Anyone involved in a boating accident, on the other hand, are immediately thrown into another dangerous situation in the river, where they have to fight to avoid drowning. Those who were hurt or knocked unconscious in the impact of the boat accident frequently need the help of others to avoid their injuries being fatal. Even those who are strong swimmers and who are not hurt in the boat crash might find it difficult to stay afloat for long enough for help to arrive. As a result, the percentage of boat accidents that involve a fatality is far higher than for many other accidents.
This is why life jackets and other personal flotation devices (PFDs) are so important when you are out on the water. According to the Coast Guard, of the people who drowned in a boating accident, 84% were not wearing a life jacket at the time of the crash.
Philadelphia Boat Accident Attorneys
With boating accidents resulting in such severe and often fatal injuries, having legal representation can make a huge difference if you or someone you love has been involved in one.
The personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian fight to help protect the rights and interests of those who have been hurt in boating accidents in and around Philadelphia. By legally representing you both in and out of court, we can help ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve from those who were at fault for the crash. Contact our law office online or at (800) 529-6162.