It may surprise you to learn that Ohio (a landlocked state) has a thriving boating scene, but it’s true.
Ohio’s many lakes, rivers, and creeks—which include Lake Erie, the Ohio River, and Alum Creek—are crammed with boats.
In fact, the number of registered boats in Ohio hit an all-time high in 2018, at 573,400.
Unfortunately, lots of boats also mean lots of boating accidents.
Fortunately, Enjuris is here to help you navigate your boat accident claim.
According to a report from the United States Coast Guard, the 5 most common types of boating accidents in the US are:
With respect to fatal boating accidents, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources keeps track of the primary causes and primary contributing factors:
|Fatal boating accidents in Ohio by primary accident type
|Person left Vessel||11|
|Fatal boating accidents in Ohio by primary contributing factor
|Sitting/standing on gunnel/bow/transom||1||1||1||0||1||4|
Boating accidents can be particularly complicated because they may implicate both federal and state laws. First, let’s start with the federal laws that might apply to your boating accident.
Federal laws (also called “maritime” or “admiralty” laws) usually govern boating accidents that occur:
Some examples of federal laws that may govern commercial boating accidents include:
While federal boating laws govern most commercial boating accidents, state laws govern most recreational boating accidents. These laws, which can be found in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Boat Operators Guide, are extensive and cover things like:
While it would take far too long to talk about all of the rules and requirements listed under Ohio’s boating laws, we’ll highlight a few of the most important guidelines below.
In Ohio, children under the age of 12 are prohibited from operating any personal watercraft (PWC). Additionally:
Ohio’s right-of-way laws can be found in Chapter 1501 of the Ohio Administrative Code. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
As is the case with car accidents, you usually have to prove that some other person or entity was negligent in a boating accident in order to recover damages for your injuries. This means, you have to prove that the other person or entity acted without reasonable care, and that action or failure to act was the cause of your injury.
For example, if you collide with another boat, you’ll need to prove that the other boat operator acted without reasonable care (by perhaps failing to yield the right of way or operating the boat while under the influence) and that action caused the accident.
Common examples of individuals and entities who may be held liable for boating accidents include:
Boating accidents often result in physical injuries and property damage.
Fortunately, Ohio awards both economic damages and non-economic damages in boat accident cases.
Economic damages are tangible losses that come with a price tag (medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc.). Non-economic damages refer to losses that don’t have a clear dollar value (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.).
If a loved one is killed in a boat accident, certain family members can recover damages associated with the loss by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Boating accidents aren’t the same as car accidents or other types of accident claims. Litigating a boat accident requires particular knowledge, including an understanding of how both federal and state laws might impact a boat injury claim.
What’s more, it’s not always clear which state’s laws apply. For example, if a boat accident occurs on the Ohio River, it’s not always clear whether the laws of Ohio or Kentucky apply.
When searching for an attorney to handle your boat accident claim, seek one who has experience litigating boat accident cases. Not sure if an attorney has experience litigating boat accident cases? Just ask them! And ask for a referral while you’re at it.
Feel free to use our free lawyer directory can help get you started!