Injured in a boating accident in Minnesota? We can help!
Minnesota, known as the ”land of 10,000 lakes”, is well-known for its fishing and water sports. Many residents and tourists will visit a lake at some point each year, with many Minnesotans owning a cabin on a lake. It is not surprising that Minnesota has remained one of the top boating states in the United States based on annual sales.
After going through a difficult year in 2020, what will be better than enjoying some time on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes in a boat this summer? We anticipate Minnesota lakes will be full of boaters and operators of personal watercraft. While boating can indeed be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have fun, boating accidents can happen.
In 2019, the Coast Guard counted over 4,000 boating accidents that involved over 600 deaths and over 2,500 injuries. The boating accidents accumulated over $55 million worth of damages to property. One of the most frightening statistics that were discovered is that nearly 80 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those fatalities, 86 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
Common Injuries In Boating Accidents
Boating can expose everyone to a significant risk of injury. Thousands of people are injured every year in boating accidents. Generally, boating injuries can occur in the following ways:
- Driver or passenger falls overboard
- The boat or personal watercraft is involved in a collision
- The boat or personal watercraft overturns
Any one of these accidents can lead to serious injuries, including the following:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Boating accidents and the injuries sustained can occur for multiple reasons, but what happens when someone is injured due to someone else’s negligence? If someone else’s negligence resulted in an accident that led to injury or death, compensation for the injuries or wrongful death can be recovered.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
If you are injured in a boating accident, your life can be greatly impacted. Typically, the injuries sustained in a boating accident are traumatic and can include bruises, broken bones, cuts, and head injuries. As mentioned previously, a high percentage of boating accidents do result in death either due to drowning or the direct impact of the injury.
The injuries can be temporary or serious and permanent. Some common causes of injuries in boating accidents include the following:
- Operating a boat while intoxicated or under the influence
- Driver inattention
- Inexperienced boat operators
- Excessive speed
- Failure to have boats maintained and repaired when needed
- Failure to comply with the law
Boating While Intoxicated or Under the Influence
In Minnesota, the laws treat boating accidents similarly to traffic accidents. Minnesota’s laws prohibit anyone from operating a vessel while intoxicated or under the influence. This prohibition includes the operation of(but not limited to) the following:
- Jet ski
Just like traffic accidents, alcohol and drugs are major contributors to boating accidents, injuries, and death. Violators can be subjected to the same penalties that are handed down to drivers who are intoxicated or under the influence while operating a motor vehicle.
Passengers in a boat are more at risk if the boat operator is intoxicated or under the influence. A boat should never be operated if alcohol or drugs are involved. Just as there are laws for operating a motor vehicle on the road, there are rules for operating a boat or watercraft in water.
Avoiding Boating Accidents
We at Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers care about your safety. In the interest of helping you stay safe this summer. We know that risks will always be a part of boating, but there are things you can do to do your part in staying safe on the water. Some steps you can take to ensure you stay safe on the water this summer include the following:
- Take a boating safety course
- Avoid drinking and driving while operating a boat or watercraft
- Ensure operators and passengers are wearing life jackets
- Obey signs and markers
- Make sure you are aware of the Minnesota boating laws
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a boating accident in Minnesota that were due to another person’s negligence or disregard for safety rules, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our office today at 507-424-3000 for your free case evaluation.