What Happens if I’m Injured in a Boating Accident?

For those who love the outdoors, Oregon is a real paradise. Some people enjoy hiking and backpacking through our awesome mountain ranges. Others prefer winter sports, like skiing and skating. And, of course, with a beautiful coastline and lots of lakes, many enjoy fishing, sailing, and recreational pleasure boating.

But as with all activities, there are those in the boating public who refuse to take seriously their safety obligations to society. Oregonians who boat regularly have frequently observed personal watercraft operators riding dangerously close to other boats just to jump their wake. Sometimes, one sees a ski boat pull a skier too close to land. Other boaters drive too fast and too close to areas with swimmers. Occasionally, boats even crash into one another. And, unfortunately, people get hurt.

So, what happens if you are injured in a boating accident?

Oregon Takes Boating Safety Seriously

Make no mistake – Oregon takes boating safety seriously, as evidenced by a review of Oregon boating law.

Anyone who operates a motorboat exceeding 10 horsepower, regardless of the size of the boat, must take an approved boating safety course. Children under the age of 12 cannot operate a boat exceeding 10 horsepower, and children from age 12 to age 15 can operate such a boat only if accompanied by someone 16 years old or older. If the boat is a personal watercraft (these devices are generally propelled by a jet pump), the adult must be at least 18 years of age.

Oregon law also requires that drivers keep a proper lookout and follow boat capacity recommendations.

Oregon law prohibits a variety of other behaviors, including unsafe operation and reckless operation.

Personal Injuries Still Occur

Unfortunately, no matter how many laws are passed, innocent people are injured in boating accidents. Sometimes, boats collide with one another. Other times, a boat driver may run into a fixed object, like a sand bar or tree stump. People can also fall out of boats. Swimmers have been struck, and skiers commonly suffer injuries.

These are just a few of the many ways in which victims suffer personal injury as a result of boating accidents.

Recovering for Personal Injury in a Boating Case

In determining whether an injured victim is entitled to recover damages, the law looks to whether negligence exists. Thus, a person hurt in a boating accident, to recover for personal injuries, must prove the following:

  • The defendant owed a duty to the injured person.
  • The defendant violated the applicable standard of care (i.e., was negligent).
  • The negligence caused the victim’s injuries.
  • The injured victim has suffered damages.

A helpful way to think of boating cases is with an analogy to motor vehicle accident cases. The cause of the accident must be carefully investigated. Was a boat driver traveling faster than the allowed speed for the area, or too fast for the circumstances? Did the boat driver ignore hazards, such as other boats, or drive too close to the land or a dock? In many cases, just as with cars, boaters operate boats under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

All of these and other facts must be carefully investigated and reviewed to evaluate negligence. If negligence is proven, the injured victim is entitled to recover for personal injuries.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

No one appreciates everything that Oregon has to offer any more than the attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield. But we also know that the only way to protect our families and all of society is to hold wrongdoers responsible for their actions.

If you have suffered personal injuries as the result of a boating accident, you may not be sure how to proceed. Call us today, and our experienced lawyers would be happy to answer any questions you might have.


Call us at 1.877.928.9147 For A Free Consultation!

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