Wrongful Death and Boating Accidents

January 30, 2012, by Price Benowitz LLP

Boating in the waters around Washington, D.C. and other nearby locations can be enormously fun; however, serious accidents can, and often do occur during this otherwise enjoyable activity. Some of the accidents that occur include:


  • Fatalities caused by boat collisions;

  • Injuries caused by people who are operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI);

  • Death caused when a watercraft hits a swimmer; and

  • Drowning deaths caused by negligent or reckless behavior.


According to the Coast Guard, in 2010 there were 4,604 accidents; 3,153 resulted in injuries and 672 resulted in death. Additionally, there was also approximately $35 million dollars in property damage as a result of these recreational boating accidents. Operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, improper lookout and alcohol use rank as the top five contributing factors in accidents. In 2010, alcohol use was the leading factor in 127 of the accidents that resulted in a fatal injury. Just as in driving a car, alcohol use while boating can lead to the impairment of critical skills needed in order to avoid accidents such as balance, coordination, and good judgment. Alcohol consumption can also heighten the effects of sun exposure and heat. Boaters who engage in this dangerous practice negligently put others at risk and should be held responsible for the harm they have caused.

Moreover, injuries or death can also occur due to watercraft performance issues due to faulty manufacturing or defective safety mechanisms. In these cases, the watercraft manufacturer failed to meet its duty to ensure that the craft had certain safety precautions before placing it in the marketplace. Attorneys often help shape the industry standards for safety while representing clients who were harmed as a result of the failure to meet these standards. By hiring a skilled attorney you can be compensated for your injuries and simultaneously prevent the same harm from occurring to someone else.

Alongside boating accidents there are also other water-related accidents such as accidents that occur at a swimming pool with no fence or at improperly staffed pools or beaches. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately ten people die in the United States from unintentional drowning every day. Of these, two (2) are children aged 14 or younger. If serious injury or death occurs, you may be entitled to be compensated for the immeasurable emotional and physical suffering you experience as well as for your lost wages and expensive medical bills.

Due to the fact that the costs incurred from injuries sustained or the death of a loved one as a result of these types of accidents are often astronomical, innocent victims should not have to bear the brunt of the financial strain. If a person was negligent in causing your injury or the death of your loved one, you can hold that person accountable for his actions and collect damages from him or his insurance carrier.

If someone has caused you serious injuries or the death of a family member by acting negligently, seek professional legal advice to evaluate your claim. An experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer will investigate your accident to determine the actual cause and the responsible parties, and then seek to collect payment on your behalf for the harm you have experienced.