Phoenix Boat Accident Lawyer

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Phoenix Boat Accident Attorney

Boating is a recreational activity and can be a lot of fun when done safely and responsibly. Unfortunately, though, that’s not always what happens on the water. Dangerous situations can occur when someone is reckless, intoxicated, inexperienced, or behaves unsafely in some other fashion. Boat accidents can result in enormous physical, economic, and psychological costs, so seeking compensation with the help of a Phoenix boat accident lawyer is vital.

Boating accidents can be very dangerous. People on the water are more open and exposed than they might be in something like a vehicle. That means that the impact of an accident can be devastating and sometimes tragic. The costs, from medical bills to psychological impact, that victims of a boating accident bear are significant.

According to Arizona civil law, victims are owed compensation for those costs. They deserve to receive compensation for everything that they’ve suffered. Whether it is owed by an individual or, as in most situations, the insurance provider of those at fault, getting that compensation can be a challenge.

That’s why working with a Phoenix boat accident lawyer can be helpful in ensuring yourself the strongest chance at getting what you’re owed. At the Bleaman Law Firm, we fight for our clients to receive fair and just compensation for what they’ve endured.

What Does a Phoenix Boat Accident Lawyer Do?

It’s the job of a Phoenix boat accident lawyer to get the compensation that their clients deserve. Doing this means acting on their behalf and representing them while using our knowledge of the relevant laws and experience handling these kinds of cases.

The process usually begins with a thorough investigation of the boating accident with an emphasis on trying to understand what parties should reasonably be held liable for the situation. We look for evidence that can help prove that liability and defend against claims that you may have been at least partially liable, as those could negatively impact your compensation.

The next primary task of a boating accident lawyer is that they represent you and work through negotiations with the insurance companies or the defendant. There are times when a settlement may be agreeable to both sides.

Insurance companies, in particular, may attempt to give a low offer to someone attempting to negotiate for themselves. When your lawyer negotiates for you, though, they recognize that it is harder to slip by an unfair offer.

Additionally, a lawyer negotiating carries the very real possibility of going to court. That credible threat may lead to more serious, substantial offers.

If a fair agreement can’t be agreed upon, then the case may need to go to court. We are ready to represent our clients through that process, using the results of our investigation to argue for fault on the part of the defendant and defend against accusations of your fault. We can also make the case for the compensation you’re seeking, using every tool we can to seek the damages that you deserve.

What if Someone Dies in a Boat Accident?

Sometimes, the most tragic possible outcome occurs as a result of a boat accident in Phoenix, AZ. If someone dies in a boat accident, this may spur a wrongful death claim. This is a similar process to a personal injury boat accident claim, but it also includes the possibility of compensation for costs related to the death, such as funeral and burial costs.

Who Could Be Liable in a Boat Accident?

Liability in a boating accident is determined based on a particular party’s negligence leading directly to the accident. In other words, without their negligent behavior, the accident would have never happened. While the assumption might be that the driver of a boat is always at fault for an accident, that isn’t always the case.

There are many issues that could cause an accident but aren’t necessarily, or aren’t entirely, the responsibility of the driver. In some situations, it’s even possible that multiple parties could be at fault for an accident. Some of the potentially liable parties include:

  • Operator of the Boat – There are many possible ways that the operator of a boat could be negligent and cause an accident, such as not following navigational rules, operating the boat while intoxicated, or operating the boat recklessly.
  • Passengers on the Boat – Passengers in the boat, through things like horseplay or intoxication, could behave in a manner that creates the conditions for an accident.
  • Owner of the Boat – The owner of a boat is responsible for making sure the watercraft is kept in functional and working condition. If some kind of mechanical problem or lack of maintenance leads to an accident, then the boat owner could be liable.
  • Rental Company – In many cases, boating is done through rentals. It’s the responsibility of the rental company to provide instructions and necessary equipment. They are also responsible for maintaining the boat’s condition. Failure in any of these areas that leads to an accident could mean the rental company is liable.
  • Manufacturers – Occasionally, a boat accident is the result of a failure of a part or some other component on the boat. If that’s the case, then the manufacturers of the part or the boat could be liable for the accident.
  • Government Entities – Most waterways are managed by the government. If they’ve failed to provide proper navigation aids, identify or mark hazards, or fix other issues, they may be held liable for the situation.

How Is Liability in a Boat Accident Proven in Court?

The process of proving liability in a boat accident in court is roughly the same as with a car accident or any other personal injury claim. It needs to be shown that without the negligence on the part of the defendant, the accident wouldn’t have happened. This means persuading the court of the three elements of negligence on the part of the defendant. Those three elements are:

  • Duty of Care – A duty of care means that the defendant had a responsibility to be careful that their actions wouldn’t create any unnecessary risk or danger to those impacted by or around their activity. They had a duty to take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of others.In the case of boating, this is reasonably simple to establish, as the inherent dangers that come from being on the water and the power of boats mean that anyone involved with these operations has a duty to try to ensure that they are handled safely.
  • Breach of Duty – The plaintiff’s team must then show that the defendant failed to live up to or “breached” that duty. Something about the defendant’s behavior must be shown to not match the duty present in the situation.This means using evidence to show exactly what actions the defendant did take in the given situation. Then, it must be explained how they were insufficient. Exactly what this breach looks like will be very specific to the accident.
  • Cause of Injury – Finally, the breach must have a direct connection with the injuries that were suffered. This usually means first describing how the breach was the cause of the accident and then demonstrating how the accident was the cause of the injuries. Given that breaches of duty occur regularly without a negative result, it’s possible that the breach could not be the cause of an accident because something else was the primary cause.It’s also important that the injuries be a direct cause of the accident, as some people have attempted to pass off injuries sustained at another point as being a result of the accident. Your lawyer must be able to demonstrate the connection between the accident and the injuries.

What Compensation Is Paid in a Boat Accident Claim?

The compensation that is covered in a boat accident claim addresses the costs that are a direct result of the injuries that you suffered. It will be important for your lawyer to be able to show that these costs are directly a result of your injuries.

Things like doctor’s notes, medical bills, and other documentation of what you’ve endured can be helpful for demonstrating the connection with those costs. The compensation that is awarded in a civil case is paid through something known as damages, which come in a few different categories.

What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages are the most straightforward category of damages. They cover all of the costs with a very clear financial component. In other words, if it has a bill related to it, economic damages is likely where it will be compensated. This includes any medical bills related to the injuries. If your injuries required or will require any doctor’s visits, testing, surgeries, medications, or physical therapy and rehabilitation, these costs are included in economic damages.

Additionally, if the injuries caused you to miss work, those wages would be covered. If there was any property damage involved—for instance, if the accident was a collision between watercraft—that is also addressed through economic damages.

Economic damages are not limited to past costs, either. In the case of more serious injuries, there could be a requirement for ongoing medical care and treatment. The cost of these things will be estimated and compensated through economic damages. Similarly, if the injuries are going to prevent you from returning to work, or at least returning at the same level, lost earning capacity is also compensated through economic damages.

What Do Non-Economic Damages Compensate?

The other costs associated with a boat accident are less tangible. Things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and other psychological costs could all be a product of injuries sustained in a boating accident. These things can’t necessarily be directly addressed by money. Nevertheless, they are given a value that will be compensated through non-economic damages.

The money that non-economic damages pay is not meant to be a kind of solution for those issues. Hopefully, though, the money can reduce stress and burdens elsewhere in life, making the issues that non-economic damages address more manageable.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages could be awarded, but it is rare that they would be in a boating accident claim. They are meant as punishment for egregious behavior, so unless something about the defendant’s actions was particularly malicious or reckless, they aren’t likely to be a part of the damages package.

While there aren’t any damage caps in Arizona that would directly affect the damages you could be awarded, it is possible that the comparative negligence rules could affect your compensation.

Under this system, if the defendant’s team is able to prove that you were at least partially negligent and that your negligence played a role in your injuries, your damage award could be reduced. You would be given a percentage related to your share of fault, and your damage award would be reduced proportionately. Part of the job of your lawyer will be to defend against these kinds of accusations.

Boating Accident Victims Deserve Restitution; We Help Them Seek It

A day on the water can sometimes turn from fun to a terrifying situation. Boats can be dangerous to operators, riders, swimmers, and other people on the water. That’s why it is critical that they be handled with the appropriate amount of care. When that doesn’t happen and an accident occurs, the results can be incredibly damaging.

The medical bills for treatment of the injuries can often be significant, and the psychological effects can sometimes even outweigh those costs. Compensation for all these losses is owed by those responsible.

Getting the compensation that you deserve after a boating accident can be a challenging process. Whether you are seeking damages from an individual or, more likely, their insurance provider, you will very likely be met with resistance. That’s why the civil law process exists, and making good use of it can help ensure that you get what you’re owed.

To make the most effective, impactful use of the system, though, it’s important that you work with an experienced, skilled Phoenix boat accident lawyer like those at the Bleaman Law Firm. We exhaust every option and fight fiercely to get what our clients deserve. Contact us today for help with your boat accident case.


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