Summer is the absolute best in Buffalo. After a long winter that sapped us all of our Vitamin D and made us feel like vampires, summer brings with it an exciting array of water sports and activities. I mean, let’s face it. If you live in Buffalo, as soon as that snow starts melting, you’re already Googling when Canalside opens kayaking or when you can take your boat back out on the water. However, because of the enormous popularity of boating activities in Buffalo, a lot of boating accidents accompany the fun and frolic typical of Buffalo summers. Because boating season in Buffalo is so short, everybody who has a boat is usually out on the lake using it. Summer weekends can be very busy around the water ways. While these activities can be fun for adults and the family, when safety precautions are not taken on the water, accidents can result that can cause passengers and others to suffer serious injuries.
The most common types of boat accidents are collisions with other vessels, collisions with fixed objects such as a pier, and passengers falling overboard. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the most common causes of boat accidents in Buffalo include:
- Alcohol use
- Careless or reckless operation
- Excessive speed
- Hazardous waters
- Operator Inexperience.
Common Causes of Boating Injuries
There are several factors that go into the cause of these incidents. In my experience, very few of the boating accidents in Buffalo are actually genuine accidents. People often choose to speed or consume alcohol or operate their vehicle outside of their own comfort level or experience level. The accidents we see most often in and around Buffalo involve somebody who is driving recklessly or has been out drinking either on the boat or at a local bar or restaurant and then boating. Unfortunately, all these factors together tend to create hazard out there.
The most common types of injuries we see in watercraft accidents are contusions, bumps, and bruises, but also broken bones, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries because when the impact or collisions do occur, people typically get thrown about quite seriously. There are not the same protections in a watercraft that there are in vehicles, so there are a lot of impact accidents as opposed to a car accident where there is a lot of whipping, and cervical acceleration/deceleration because you are held tightly in the seat by the seat belt. Watercraft accidents can be a much more severe type of impact accident.
Types of Injuries
The most common types of injuries we see in watercraft accidents are contusions, bumps, and bruises, but also broken bones, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries because when the impact or collisions occurs, people typically get thrown about the boat quite seriously. There are not the same protections in a watercraft that there are in vehicles, so there are a lot of impact accidents as opposed to a car accident where there is a lot of whipping, and cervical acceleration/deceleration because you are held tightly in the seat by the seat belt. I advise clients that watercraft accidents can be a much more severe type of impact accident.
What to Do If Injured on a Boat
We recommend they do a couple of things immediately if they haven’t done so already. One, is to seek medical treatment immediately for anything that is bothering you, photo document any bruises or damages or injuries, and try and put together a short journal entry or write down witness names or information that might help your attorney do the investigation because every case involves two parts. Number one, what was the fault or the negligence? Number two, what are the injuries? If you do have this circumstance happen to you, you should call one of our attorneys who is qualified to do both the investigation and the injury assessment for you.
Time to Bring a Water Craft Accident Claim Forward
In Buffalo, there is little difference between claims depending upon what the injured party may have been riding or driving when it comes to the statute of limitations. General negligence is still subject to a three-year statute of limitations. However, even though you have that much time to sue, the most important elements of a case are often established through early investigation – including interviews and the sharing of facts about the incident with your attorney. It’s also important to get the proper medical care promptly. If you are injured in a boating accident due to somebody else’s carelessness or negligence, certainly the owner of that boat or the operator of that boat is legally responsible for your injuries.
We know you are just raring to go and soak up the summer sun on your boat or at canalside. However, if you should run aground of a mishap or accident involving fellow sailing and boating enthusiasts, call the experienced attorneys at Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra PLLC for the legal aid you need to navigate a boating injury.