The Georgia Boating Accident Guide was created by The Gunnels Law Firm to help injured residents obtain maximum compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.
When the weather is nice and you have the ability to, there is nothing better than getting on the water and enjoying a relaxing day on a boat. Unfortunately, not every boating trip you take is going to be smooth and enjoyable. If you have found your way to this page, then you have most likely been seriously injured in a boating accident. We want to first express how truly sorry we are that this has happened to you. You did not deserve to get hurt because someone else was acting careless. Our Atlanta boating accident lawyer will help you to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages. Please read up about your case, then call our office today to set up a free initial case review.
Georgia Boating Accident Statute of Limitations
When you have a potential boating accident claim, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations if you want it to be successful. Georgia permits two years from the date of the boating accident in which you can bring your claim. That period of time is called the statute of limitations. If you try to file a boating accident claim after the statute of limitations runs out, your case will be tossed out and you will not be able to receive compensation. We do not want to see that happen to you so we highly encourage that you hire a lawyer right away so that they have ample time to build a strong case for you and bring it before your statute of limitations runs out.
How Boating Accident Compensation Works
If you have been seriously hurt in a boating accident, you will be compensated for your injuries and damages. That includes a few things. There are several factors that go into the dollar amount you will receive. If you owned the boat that got hit, you could receive compensation for the damage to that boat. You will also receive compensation for your medical bills, physical therapy, emotional distress, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any follow-up care related to the boating accident. These things are the factors that go into how much your compensation award should be. The insurance company will most likely offer you a settlement early on to get rid of you, but it is almost always a very low amount and we will negotiate for more. If they do not give us a reasonable amount then, we will take them to trial to get you the result you deserve.
Typical Types of Boating Accident Injuries
Boats typically do not have a lot of safety procedures for passengers in the event of a collision other than the option of wearing a lifejacket which not everyone elects to do. Unfortunately this leads to severe and potentially permanent damages. You will get tossed around in a crash if you are not strapped to the boat, which would not be all that helpful if the boat were to sink, so therefore you are susceptible to injuries from trauma. That might include concussions, broken bones, and head, neck, or back injuries. You may often see boating accident victims have deep cuts and lacerations, bruising, whiplash, or sometimes even drowning injuries. Typically, the worse your injuries are, the more compensation you are likely to get.
Talking to the Liable Party’s Insurance Company
If you want to ensure that your boating accident case goes smoothly and gets you the result you deserve, the one thing you should avoid doing at all costs is talking to the liable party’s insurance company. They will try to reach out to you shortly after the accident to get a recorded statement from you. They will most likely try to convince you this is a helpful thing for you to do to get this case over with sooner, but they are likely not telling you that it will not yield the best results for you. They are trained to ask you questions that make you seem at fault for the accident which would either allow them to throw out the case if you are mostly at fault or reduce the amount of compensation that they owe you if you are partially at fault. We want to avoid that happening to you, so be sure to let your lawyer take over all communication with the insurance company. They will keep you from losing out on compensation just because you slipped up and made a mistake during this recorded statement.
Frequently Asked Boating Accident Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
If you have been injured in an accident that occurred on the water, such as a boating accident, it’s important to make sure that you find an attorney who has experience with these types of claims. Boating accidents are not like motor vehicle accidents, and they require specialized knowledge and experience to handle properly and get good resolutions. We have handled many boating accident cases and have the experience to work these cases through to a good resolution for our clients. You don’t want someone who has only handled motor vehicle cases trying to figure out how to handle a boating accident case — that’s not going to lead to the best possible result.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you have an attorney who has experience with the insurance companies. I spent many years of my career working for insurance companies, and I know what they look for in a case. I can now take that specialized knowledge and apply it in my client’s favor in order to get the best possible settlement offers.
When you’re looking for a personal injury attorney to handle a boat accident claim, make sure that you find an attorney who has demonstrated that he or she will take cases all the way through to trial. Many attorneys won’t take a case to trial, and insurance companies know that. In return, those attorneys don’t get the best offers and don’t receive the best possible resolutions. At the Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a significant amount of our time in trial, and we have demonstrated to insurance companies that we are not afraid to try cases to verdict. We want to make sure that whatever is required, we get the best possible resolutions for our clients.
What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?
One thing that we often see that is harmful to a boat accident claim is that the people involved have failed to take steps to preserve evidence. Evidence can be lost very quickly, especially in boat accidents, and it’s essential to preserve any evidence that can be gathered related to the claim. It’s essential to make sure pictures are taken and any physical evidence is preserved, including clothing or other items on the boat that may show the extent of the impact and injuries.
Another thing that we see that harms these cases is clients who have waited too long to go seek medical attention. If you have been injured, go seek attention from medical professionals immediately. Make sure that your injuries are documented, even if they are minor injuries. Minor injuries often turn into major injuries, and it’s important to have them documented as soon as possible. Also, it’s extremely important to hire the right attorney and to do so quickly after the accident. If you hire an attorney who’s not experienced handling boating cases, you may lose evidence and you may not have your case preserved to the extent necessary to pursue it.
How Much is My Case Worth?
When we have clients come to our office who have been injured in a boating accident, one of the things they want to know is what the value of their claim is. Unfortunately, at the beginning of a case, you can’t determine the claim value because the first thing you have to understand is what the extent of the injuries are. The first thing we have to do is get you through medical treatment to know if you’re going to heal fully or if you’re going to be in a situation where this injury is going to impact you for the rest of your life. From there, we have to look at the things that you are eligible to recover under Georgia personal injury law. There are two categories, essentially. The first one is called special damages, which is the value of medical expenses and lost wages. These are relatively easy to determine.
The other category, called non-economic damages, is much more difficult to valuate. It includes things like pain and suffering damages or disruption of life that you are entitled to be compensated for. Because this value is difficult to determine, that is why we often end up in front of juries to determine what that value is, and the ultimate decider is the jury and what they think the value of that claim is.
Another thing you have to take into consideration is the available insurance to compensate someone for an injury. You have, generally, a certain amount of insurance coverage, and that’s going to cap what you are allowed to recover from the person that causes your injuries. You may have a claim that’s worth a lot more than what your liability coverage is, but you might only be able to recover what’s on your insurance. The best thing to do if you have been injured in a boating accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Is a Minimum Amount of Medical Bills Required for a Claim?
When people come in to see us and they’ve been injured in a boating accident, one of the things they want to know is whether there’s a minimum amount of expenses they need to have incurred for medical treatment in order to sustain a viable personal injury claim. The answer is, no, there’s not. It’s more important to evaluate your case by looking at the injuries, specifically the permanency of the injuries, rather than just the medical expenses.
One of the things that needs to be evaluated is whether you have an injury that’s permanent, such as scarring or deformity. For example, scarring may not have a lot of medical expenses associated with it, but it can often have some extensive value. Conversely, you could have a lot of medical expenses, but have a claim where it’s unclear who is responsible for the incident, and those cases may have no value whatsoever. That’s why it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine how viable your claim is.
Should I Give a Recorded Statement?
When a person is injured in a boating accident, they are often asked by the insurance company of the at-fault party to provide a recorded statement over what occurred. We are often asked whether it is a good idea to give this recorded statement, and the answer is always no. While you may think this is beneficial to your case, the exact opposite is generally true. The insurance company uses a trained claims examiner who will ask questions in a way that will lead to misleading answers, which will be detrimental to your case later on. Don’t ever give a recorded statement to an insurance company, especially when you don’t have an attorney present.
How Long Will This Case Take?
When we have clients come to see us about boating accident cases, one of the first things they want to know is how long it’s going to take to resolve their claim. This is hard to determine because the length of time a case may take is very dependent upon several circumstances. Two things that really drive how long a case will take are the significance of the injuries and the amount of insurance coverage available.
When an at-fault party has a relatively small amount of insurance coverage and the injured party has very significant medical expenses, the case can often be resolved in a couple of months. When you have a party that has substantially more insurance coverage and the injuries are less extensive, those are the cases that may be more drawn out because the insurance companies will try to fight it.
In Georgia, a personal injury lawsuit — which includes boat accidents — has to be filed within two years of the date of the incident. Once a lawsuit is filed, the case has to go through a discovery process in which you build the facts that support your case, and that can take a while to do. Boating cases can be very heavily fact-intensive, so a good timeline estimate after you file a lawsuit would be one to three years, depending on the severity of the incident and the injuries.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation Today
If you have been seriously injured in a boating accident and want to receive the fullest and fairest amount of compensation, then please do not hesitate to call our Atlanta boat accident lawyer to set up a free consultation. We will go over the details of your case and get working as soon as possible to get you the best result. Your case matters to us and we want to be your champion.