Maine is a boater’s paradise in the summer, offering many miles of gorgeous coastline and numerous inland lakes. However, an encounter with a negligent boater could turn a lovely day on the water into a grim experience.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a boating mishap due to another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation with the help of a dedicated injury attorney. Consult a Portland boat accident lawyer to discuss the legal remedies available in your specific situation.
How Can Negligence Cause a Boating Accident?
When individuals seek compensation following a boating accident, they must prove that someone else’s negligence caused the incident that led to their injury. When someone does not use the same degree of caution that a reasonable person would in similar circumstances, they are considered to be negligent. A Portland attorney could investigate a boating mishap to discover evidence of another party’s negligence.
Examples of negligent conduct that could lead to a boating accident include:
- Operating a vessel without adequate training
- Ignoring navigation laws
- Operating at excessive speeds
- Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to have proper safety equipment
- Shoddy vessel maintenance
- Distracted operation
- Failing to maintain a proper lookout
Mechanical failure is another example of negligence that may lead to a boating accident. Those injured due to the failure of a boat component may be eligible for compensation if they are able to prove the failure resulted from a product defect.
Breaking the Law is Evidence of Negligence
Maine has enacted laws regulating vessel activity on the state’s waters. If an individual was found violating any law or regulation governing safe boating when an accident occurred, a Portland attorney could present the violation as evidence of negligence when pursuing compensation for an injured party.
Maine Revised Statutes §13068 covers many of the fundamental rules for local boating. For example, it is illegal for:
- Anyone under 12 years of age to operate a boat with an engine exceeding 10hp unless they are with someone over 16 years of age
- Vessels to have insufficient personal floatation devices for all occupants
- Boaters to operate recklessly
- Operators to use their vessels to harass or molest wildlife
Many boat accidents happen due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Maine Revised Statutes §10701(1)(B) prohibits anyone over 21 years of age from operating watercraft with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Someone under 21 cannot legally operate watercraft with any amount of alcohol in their system. Even if an operator’s blood alcohol does not exceed the legal limit, they could still be found negligent if the alcohol impaired their ability to handle their watercraft safely.
Injured Parties’ Conduct Could Be Considered
Many accidents, including boat accidents, result from a combination of factors that could include an injured person’s negligence. For example, perhaps a boater was texting when they collided with a speeding vessel piloted by a drunk operator, injuring the texting boater. Although the drunk boater was certainly negligent, they might assert that the collision would not have happened if the injured boater had been keeping a lookout instead of texting.
Maine follows a modified comparative negligence system, meaning that if a lawsuit goes to trial, a jury must decide how much responsibility each party had for the accident. If an injured person is found to be least equally at fault for the accident they were injured in, they will be unable to collect any damages from any party.
A Portland boating accident attorney could compile evidence that another party bore most of the blame for an accident and fight back against unfair accusations of blame in court. If a jury decides that the claimant is less than 50 percent responsible for an accident, their damages would be reduced proportionately to their amount of fault.
Trust Your Claim to a Portland Boat Accident Attorney
Boat accidents have the potential to completely upturn your life. You could be left with serious injuries, medical bills, long-term rehabilitation, and more. If you or a loved one are recovering from injuries sustained in a mishap on the water, a Portland boat accident lawyer could help you investigate your accident for possible evidence of negligence. If another party’s reckless or careless misconduct is found to be the cause of your injuries, a seasoned attorney could help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Call today to learn more about your legal options.