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What to Do After a Boating Accident in Springfield: Insights From Buchanan Williams & O'Brien


Boating Accidents Specialists

Discover essential steps to take after a boating accident in Springfield. Buchanan Williams & O’Brien provide experienced legal insights to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.

Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien have been a trusted law firm serving Missourians for over 40 years.

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A boating accident in Springfield’s lakes can turn a pleasant outing into a stressful event. Boating accidents can leave us disoriented and unsure of what steps to take next. Reports by the U.S. Coast Guard showed 658 fatalities in 2021 due to recreational boating accidents, highlighting the risks involved.

Understanding what to do after a boating accident is crucial for protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and our property. Having a clear action plan and knowing the local protocols can significantly affect these situations.

At Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, we are here to help navigate the aftermath of a boating accident in Springfield, Missouri. We assist with contacting local authorities promptly, documenting the incident, and ensuring our response is swift and effective.

Understanding Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can happen unexpectedly, even to seasoned mariners. Accidents on the water can take various forms, including collisions where vessels or boats crash into each other, often resulting in severe personal injuries. Falls overboard are another danger, with passengers potentially drowning if they fall into the water. Additionally, when vessels overturn due to lousy weather or improper handling, capsizing poses significant risks.

Various factors contribute to these mishaps, from human error to environmental conditions. Common causes of boating accidents include:

  1. Operator Inattention: Distracted operators often overlook hazards. Among all causes of boating accidents, operator attention—or, more often, inattention—stands as the leading factor. In 2020 alone, studies show it resulted in 664 accidents, 55 fatalities, and 383 injuries.
  2. Excessive Speed: Speeding increases the risk of collisions and capsizing. The same study identified it as the primary cause of 418 reported accidents, resulting in 32 fatalities in 2020.
  3. Alcohol Use: Impaired judgment can lead to severe incidents.
  4. Equipment Failure: Poorly maintained vessels are prone to malfunctions.
  5. Weather Conditions: Bad weather significantly increases risk. Strong winds and heavy rains can cause vessels to capsize or crash. In 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division highlighted that hazardous weather conditions accounted for over 178 boating accidents, resulting in numerous injuries and fatalities. Weather forecasts should, therefore, be consulted before heading out.

Potential Injuries

Severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries and fractures are expected, according to some medical studies. Minor injuries can include cuts and bruises. In worst-case scenarios, drowning may occur, especially if safety precautions are not followed.

Liability and Fault

Establishing fault can be complex. Negligence, such as ignoring safety rules or failing to maintain equipment, often plays a role. Getting legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer is essential for establishing fault and pursuing compensation. At Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, our extensive experience in personal injury cases ensures we can effectively determine liability in a boat accident.

Considering data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol can be insightful for more detailed incident reports. Following all safety protocols minimizes risk, yet being prepared for accidents is crucial.

Immediate Steps to Take After a Boating Accident

After a boating accident, it’s common for victims to feel disoriented and overwhelmed. However, swift action is crucial for ensuring everyone’s safety and well-being. If you find yourself in such an event, it’s vital to immediately follow these steps:

  1. Ensure Immediate Safety: The most important initial action is to make sure everyone involved is safe immediately. Check for any injuries and provide first aid if necessary. Remember, everyone onboard should wear life jackets to prevent potential drowning.
  2. Contact Emergency Services: Contact emergency services as soon as it’s safe. You can use flares or a cell phone to call local authorities or the U.S. Coast Guard. Be sure to provide them with accurate and detailed information about your location and the number of people involved.
  3. Document the Accident: This includes photos of the scene, the water conditions, and any visible damages or injuries. It’s also crucial to note the contact information of witnesses and other parties involved, as this information can be invaluable later.
  4. Report the Accident: This involves filing an accident report with local law enforcement and notifying the Coast Guard if necessary. This step is vital as it aids with legal and insurance processes.
  5. Obtain Medical Attention: Seek medical attention promptly, even if injuries appear minor. Initial treatment followed by follow-up care not only ensures your well-being but provides necessary medical records as well.
  6. Keep a First Aid Kit on Board: It’s always advisable to keep a first aid kit on board for immediate care.

Legal Obligations After a Boating Accident

In Springfield, our legal obligations kick in immediately after a boating accident. According to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 306.140, the boat operator is required to file an accident report if there is significant personal injury, death, or property damage over $500. This report should be submitted to the Missouri State Water Patrol within five days of the incident.

Finally, it would help if you cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities investigating the accident. This includes providing accurate information, answering questions truthfully, and allowing officers to inspect the vessel. Compliance helps build a clear, factual account of the incident, potentially aiding any legal actions later.

Contacting a Boating Accident Attorney

Engaging a boating accident attorney promptly is vital. Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, our trusted law firm in Springfield, practices these cases. A qualified attorney helps us protect our rights, handle insurance claims, and seek compensation for damages. Their experience ensures we navigate the complexities of maritime law effectively. Here are some other duties boating accident attorneys can assist with:

  • Insurance and Claims: Dealing with insurance adjusters can be daunting. Our attorney will manage this interaction, ensuring that any settlement offered is fair and reflects the true extent of our injuries and damages. Comprehensive documentation and professional advocacy strengthen your boating accident claim, potentially leading to better compensation.
  • Establishing Liability and Fault: Establishing liability involves proving fault and negligence. Springfield’s maritime laws can be intricate. Our attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult professionals to build a strong case. This careful examination increases the possibility of positive results, whether in settlement talks or legal trials.

Hiring a professional ensures our interests are prioritized, paving the way for a smoother legal journey.

Compensation You May Be Entitled To

After a boating accident in Springfield, various types of compensation may be available to address different aspects of the incident. These include:

  • Medical Expenses: You can claim compensation to cover your medical bills if injured. This includes immediate medical attention, ongoing treatments, and any future medical care needed for your recovery. Severe boat accidents can also result in traumatic brain injuries. Compensation can support long-term medical care and lifestyle adjustments due to the injury.
  • Lost Wages: If boating accident injuries from the accident cause you to miss work, you might be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This helps cover the income you would have earned during your recovery period.
  • Pain and Suffering: Serious injuries can result in pain and discomfort, which could result in compensation. This pay-out for emotional and physical pains, considered as non-financial losses, is due to the distress caused by the accident.
  • Property Damage: If your boat or other personal property was damaged, you could receive compensation for repair or replacement costs.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Workers’ compensation might be available if the accident occurred in a work-related context. This helps cover medical expenses and lost wages due to work-related injuries.

Insurance companies often handle these claims. Our role as personal injury lawyers involves negotiating with them to reach a favorable settlement. Should negligence or liability be evident, we assist in pursuing personal injury claims to secure rightful compensation.

How Buchanan Williams & O’Brien Can Help

If you’re involved in a boating accident in Springfield, our Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. team is here to assist. We have over 40 years of experience in handling personal injury cases. Our extensive experience ensures your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. Here is how we can help:

Comprehensive Legal Assistance

Navigating the aftermath of a boating accident can be complex. We provide comprehensive legal advice to help you understand your options and guide you through the legal process.

Aggressive Representation

We are aggressive, zealous advocates for our clients. We fight to secure the best outcome, whether negotiating a settlement or representing you in court.

Determining Fault and Negligence

Identifying who is at fault and proving negligence is crucial in boating accident cases. Our attorneys excel in investigating these aspects to build a strong case for you.

Settlement or Lawsuit

Whether it’s fighting for a fair settlement or preparing for a lawsuit, our team is dedicated to your case. We handle negotiations with insurance companies and are ready to take legal action if necessary. We aim to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our goal is your full recovery, both physically and financially.

Don’t Leave Your Future to Chance: Secure Your Rights with Buchanan Williams & O’Brien Today

A boating accident can be a profoundly traumatic and life-altering event, with physical, emotional, and financial repercussions that can be overwhelming. Act swiftly and decisively to protect your well-being and legal rights is crucial. Engaging a skilled boating accident attorney, like the Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. team, ensures your case is well managed.

Our deep understanding of maritime laws and a dedicated approach to client advocacy enable us to secure the compensation and justice you deserve. Let professionals help you build a strong case, navigate complex insurance negotiations, and zealously represent your interests. Your future is important—take the necessary steps today to safeguard it with the support of experienced legal professionals.

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