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Boating Accidents and Personal Injury

During the summer, there are few prospects more enticing than spending a relaxing day out on the water. As idyllic as a boating trip is, unfortunately accidents can happen. In 2015, the Coast Guard reported that there were 4,158 boating accidents in the United States, which resulted in 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries, and a total of $42 million dollars of damage to property. Some accidents are precisely that; simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, some boating incidents are caused by negligence of individuals or organizations. In these cases, victims of a boating incident may be able to claim for compensation from those responsible.

Types of personal injury that can result from a boating accident

There are myriad injuries that may result from a boating accident. Some of the most common include:

Spinal cord injuries

The forces involved in a boating accident may cause occupants of the vessel to sustain spinal cord injuries. These can vary in severity, from temporary damage to paralysis. Victims with temporary spinal cord damage will require immediate treatment after the accident, and ongoing physiotherapy in order to resume their regular activities. Severe spinal cord injuries, which may involve paralysis, can be life-changing. Patients who become paralyzed will generally need to be in hospital for an extended period of time, while the spinal cord is stabilized, and intensive therapy (if appropriate) is given over the long term. A severe spinal cord injury can leave a victim completely incapacitated, unable to resume their career, and reliant upon the care of other people. The expenses involved in treatment compounds the extreme emotional trauma of being involved in an accident and sustaining a severe injury.

Broken bones, sprains, strains, and ligament damage

Boating accidents may also do damage to limbs; broken bones, sprains, strains, and ligament damage are commonly-reported injuries. Intensive physiotherapy and support may be required, which can be disruptive and expensive. Time off work will likely be required in the direct aftermath of an accident, but the severity of an injury may necessitate a longer period of absence.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

One of the most devastating potential consequences of involvement in a boating accident is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. These occur as a result of extreme force, when the brain clashes with the inside of the skull. Mild TBIs, or concussions, may resolve relatively quickly, but can cause long-term issues such as dizziness, headaches, and difficulties with concentration. Severe cases of TBI may result in memory loss, irreparable brain damage, and permanent cognitive disability.

Liability and responsibility

Freak accidents can happen, particularly at sea. However, if you are the victim of a personal injury in relation to a boating accident and suspect that someone is at fault, you may be able to take legal action. If the boat operator was under the influence, excessively tired, distracted, or not properly trained, they are liable. Similarly, if a company or individual is responsible for a boat that is damaged or badly maintained, they hold accountability for your injuries.

Next steps

If you require legal advice regarding the aftermath of a boating accident, speak with an experienced lawyer. Those in the Nashville area are welcome to contact the Bill Easterly Law Firm.

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