Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes. People in the state take full advantage of our abundant bodies of water, enjoying boating, water skiing, and operating personal watercraft such as jet skis. However, the large number of boats on our lakes and rivers means that there are correspondingly large numbers of accidents. When people are injured while on a fishing trip or when cooling off on a Jet Ski, our St. Paul law firm may be able to help them. We have obtained money damages and compensation for thousands of clients.
At Swor & Gatto, P.A., we have practiced personal injury law since 1981. If a boating accident resulted from negligence or misconduct by another, we can help. Our attorneys’ experience allows us to evaluate cases quickly and determine the best way to obtain fair and full payment for our clients. Our founding lawyers have been recreational boat owners for years and understand the issues from personal experience.
Common Boating Accident Injuries
Boating accidents can result in various injuries, ranging from minor to severe. Some potential damages from a boating accident include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Head injuries are common in boating accidents, and TBIs can be particularly serious. A TBI can result in various symptoms, from a mild concussion to long-term cognitive impairment.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: A spinal cord injury can cause paralysis or partial paralysis, as well as chronic pain and other symptoms.
- Broken Bones: Boating accidents can result in broken bones, particularly in the arms, legs, and ribs.
- Lacerations: Broken glass or sharp metal can cause lacerations or deep cuts, which may require stitches or surgery.
- Drowning: Boating accidents can also result in drowning, which can cause brain damage or death.
- Hypothermia: In cold water, boating accidents can lead to hypothermia, which can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue, confusion, and even death.
- Emotional Trauma: Boating accidents can be traumatic, leading to long-term emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents can happen due to various factors, including human error, equipment failure, environmental conditions, and other external factors. Some of the most common causes of boating accidents include:
- Operator Error: Distracted, inexperienced, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol; these factors can lead boat operators to make dangerous mistakes, leading to collisions or other accidents.
- Excessive Speed: Operating a boat at high speeds can make it difficult to control the vessel, particularly in choppy or crowded waters, leading to accidents.
- Equipment Failure: Boats and their components, such as steering systems and engines, can fail, causing accidents.
- Environmental Factors: Rough water, storms, and other environmental factors can make it difficult for boat operators to maintain control of their vessels, leading to accidents.
- Reckless or Negligent Behavior: Boaters who engage in reckless behavior, such as operating their vessels too close to other boats or swimmers who disregard navigational rules, can cause accidents.
- Inadequate Maintenance: Failing to maintain a boat properly can lead to equipment failure, which can cause accidents.
- Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions such as high winds, fog, or lightning can make it difficult for boaters to navigate, leading to accidents.
What Are The Deadlines for Filing a Boat Accident Claim in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, there are strict deadlines for filing a boat accident claim. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims arising from boating accidents is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means that you must file your claim within two years of the accident, or you may lose your right to compensation.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations can be affected by several factors, such as the age or mental capacity of the injured party or if the party responsible for the accident is a government entity. Therefore, consulting an experienced boating accident attorney is crucial to understanding the specific deadlines and requirements that may apply to your case.
In addition to the statute of limitations, there is also a notice of claim requirement for cases involving injuries or damages caused by government entities. Under Minnesota Statutes §541.07(1), any person who seeks damages from a government entity must provide written notice of the claim within 180 days after the date of the incident. Failure to comply with the notice requirement may result in the forfeiture of the right to bring a claim against the government entity.
What Type Of Compensation Can I Receive From A Boat Accident?
If you are injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. The type of compensation you can receive will depend on the specific circumstances of your accident. In general, compensation may include:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of all medical treatment you received as a result of the accident, including hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and medication.
- Lost wages: If your injuries caused you to miss work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This includes both past and future lost earnings.
- Property damage: If your boat or other personal property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Pain and suffering: You may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If your injuries prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
- Wrongful death: If a loved one was killed in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and other damages.
Who Is Liable For A Boating Accident?
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries and damages, and determining who is liable for a boating accident can be complex. Liability for a boating accident may depend on various factors, including the cause of the accident, the actions of the boat operator, and whether the boat was being used for recreational or commercial purposes.
In general, the boat operator is responsible for ensuring the safety of all passengers on board and for complying with all relevant boating regulations. If the operator was negligent or reckless in their actions, they may be held liable for any injuries or damages that result from the accident.
Additionally, if a defective boat or boating equipment caused the accident, the manufacturer of the boat or equipment may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
It is important to note that boating accidents can involve multiple parties, and liability may be shared among them. For example, if a passenger’s actions contributed to the accident, they may be held partially liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
How We Help After a Boating Accident
We have been able to help many people obtain compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. We have also helped families grieving the loss of a loved one obtain the resources they need to move forward after a fatal boating accident.
We handle cases involving:
- Operating a boat or personal watercraft while drunk, or BWI (boating while intoxicated)
- Speeding and violating wake rules
- Colliding with docks and floats
- Hitting swimmers
We also undertake cases involving defective parts and components of motor boats, personal watercraft (Jet Ski, WaveRunner, or Sea-Doo), houseboats, sailboats, or other watercraft types.