Your legal rights if you sustain a personal injury in a boating accident.
The official first day of summer is right around the corner, and spending time on the water is a favourite summer pastime for many. There’s truly no better way to enjoy the beautiful water and summer weather than participating in some fun boating activities. However, operating a boat is similar to driving a car; there are rules and regulations to keep others safe. A personal injury from a boating accident can be devastating, and filing a claim can be tricky. If you own a boat, are thinking of purchasing one, or plan on spending time on one, it’s crucial to be aware of your legal rights if you’re injured in an accident.
No-fault benefits do not apply for boating accidents
Under the Ontario no-fault benefit system, anyone who sustains a personal injury in a car accident has the right to accident benefits even if they’re entirely at fault. However, the no-fault system does not apply to boating accidents. If you sustain a personal injury in a boating accident, you can only claim against the negligent party.
Just as there are rules for the road every driver must abide by, there are rules for the water. Licensing, registration and regulations for boat operators are also quite different. In Canada, to drive a boat, you must be over the age of 16 and pass a boating safety course to receive a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Laws and regulations are different for each province in Canada. Still, all boating laws are enforced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, local authorities, and provincial police forces. It’s crucial to do your research on boating laws; they’re in place to prevent accidents and personal injury.
Common boating accidents
Some examples of boating accidents that can cause personal injury include:
- Hitting a submerged rock, object or land
- Colliding with another boat
- A lack of proper safety equipment on the boat
- Hitting a wave or another boat’s wake
- Slips and falls on a boat
Contact a personal injury lawyer if you’re involved in a boating accident
If you were, or are, ever injured in a boating accident, the first step is to call the police and attend to your medical needs. To prove your case, you’ll need as much information and evidence as possible.
Examples of evidence that can help your boating accident personal injury claim include:
- The police report from the accident
- Photos and videos of the accident
- The boat itself, with damages
- Social media posts and videos from the day of the accident
- Witness and passenger statements
- Medical records
- Mariner logbooks
Once you are safe, it’s crucial to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your accident claim. The laws surrounding liability in boating accidents are pretty complex; a personal injury lawyer with boating accident claim experience will be invaluable. The earlier you contact a lawyer, the better.