If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, there are several questions and unknowns you are dealing with. You are likely concerned about your injuries and getting appropriate treatment. You may also be worried about how you will afford your medical bills, especially if you cannot work. Contacting a boat accident lawyer may not be your priority after a boating accident. You may not consider it a priority because:
- The boat operator is a friend who promised to take care of you
- You may have been drinking and do not believe you have legal rights
- The stress of obtaining medical treatment is occupying much of your time and attention
- You are worried about the cost of consulting with and retaining legal counsel
However, there are several reasons why you may want to speak with and hire a boat accident lawyer sooner rather than later.
Time Limitations for Filing a Boating Injury Lawsuit
You might pursue a claim for compensation from the individual who caused your injuries. The list of people responsible for causing your injuries could include the boat’s driver if they operated the boat negligently or recklessly and this caused you to fall overboard or hurt yourself. Your ability to pursue such a claim, though, is time-sensitive.
Each state has a statute of limitations or a time limit within which you must file your boating accident lawsuit. These limitations are generally between two and three years and begin to run when your accident occurs. If you fail to meet this deadline, your claim will not succeed.
Here is a common question when is a written boating accident report required? Retaining a boat accident lawyer helps ensure you file your lawsuit in a timely manner and protect your legal rights.
Hiring a Boating Injury Lawyer Helps Preserve Crucial Evidence
Initiating a claim for monetary damages within the allotted time is only the first step toward receiving compensation. Once you file your claim, you must be ready to prove your claim with evidence. Evidence should show that the person you brought your suit against acted carelessly and caused the boating accident.
The evidence you need to prove your claim might consist of the following:
- The statements of others who were on the boat or in the water
- Photographs of the boat, the scene of the accident, and your injuries
- Statements made by the allegedly at-fault
- Your medical records, including diagnoses and treatment plans
- Expert reports if the cause of the crash is mechanical or otherwise complicated
The absence of some or all of these pieces of evidence can make it difficult, if not impossible, to win your claim.
Some of these pieces of evidence can become unavailable between the time of your accident and when your claim makes it to court. If you preserve these statements, photographs, and other items, you may retain the ability to present them in court when it matters the most.
The earlier you retain your boat accident lawyer, the more likely it will be that they can make this crucial evidence available for your use throughout your claim.
Your Lawyer Can Help During Settlement Negotiations
Following a boating accident, the at-fault person or company may approach you about a settlement. A settlement is an agreement between you and another party wherein you agree not to pursue your claim in exchange for receiving an agreed-upon amount of compensation.
A significant percentage of injury lawsuits are resolved every year through settlements.
Settlement negotiations can be harrowing, though. Once you and the other party agree on the compensation you receive, it is almost always impossible to negotiate for a higher amount. Yet it can be challenging to negotiate an appropriate settlement, especially if you are dealing with insurance companies.
Moreover, you may unwittingly accept a compensation figure from the other party that should really be higher to compensate you adequately. This situation can happen if you do not anticipate the present and future injuries and losses that the boating accident caused you.
An attorney can evaluate your case and help you appreciate what an appropriate settlement amount would be. Your attorney can also take the lead in settlement negotiations, using their skills to help you obtain a favorable settlement.
When Is the Right Time to Speak with an Attorney?
Given all the advantages that hiring a boat accident lawyer provides, you should quickly speak to and retain a lawyer after your boating accident. As soon as you can do so, you should consult with your lawyer and retain counsel quickly.
You should be especially quick to speak with an attorney if any of the following are true:
You Suffered Catastrophic Injuries in the Accident
If you sustained a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, non-fatal drowning, or other severe harm, you want to retain legal counsel quickly. These injuries are complex events and can require significant financial compensation. A drowning accident lawyer can help you in this case.
The Responsible Party Is Someone Other than a Close Family Member
Very few people will want to sue their parents or siblings for boating injuries sustained in an accident. If anyone else was operating the boat or caused the accident, it may be a good idea to retain counsel. Doing so can make difficult and uncomfortable settlement negotiations easier, less emotional, and more productive.
The Joel Bieber Firm Is Your Boat Accident Injury Law Firm
At The Joel Bieber Firm, our dedicated attorneys are here to help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve following a boating accident. We offer potential clients a free case evaluation, during which we will review the facts of your injury and discuss the financial damages you could receive from your lawsuit.
Contact The Joel Bieber Firm today for professional legal advice and guidance with your boat accident claim.