If you or someone you know has sustained injuries from a boating accident, you may be wondering whether it is possible to get some compensation for damages. You may also be wondering how to go about filing your claims if getting compensation is possible. Fortunately for everyone, with the help of a Bronx injury lawyer, you can get compensation for injuries sustained while traveling on a boat. A Bronx injury lawyer has the expertise to represent those who have been injured while at sea, especially in cases where the boat operator was boating under the influence and is clearly at fault.
WHAT DOES NEW YORK LAW SAY ABOUT BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Though there are possibly many reasons a boating accident could occur, one of the most avoidable yet rampant causes is boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Your right to compensation for injuries sustained as a result of boating accidents caused by other’s negligence is guaranteed by the law. Of course, under New York law, it’s pretty clear that it’s illegal to boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But such guarantees are not without limitations; everything has to add up before you can get compensations.
Whether or not you get compensation and the value of such compensation depends on a lot of factors. The blood alcohol level of the boat operator, the type of boat involved, presence or absence of safety equipment and a number of other things are usually considered.
However, it’s common sense that you probably won’t be able to get compensation for all injuries you sustain while onboard. So when exactly do you have a case? How do you know when to fight it out after a drug or alcohol related boating accident?
For starters, for someone or an entity to be liable for damages or injuries, they must first be proven negligent. This means, to establish a clear case of boating under the influence, the boat operator must be proven to have consumed substances – drugs or alcohol – that directly or indirectly resulted in the accident.
If the boat operator was boating with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, it means he (or she) was legally drunk when the accident happened. It definitely reduces the room for a lot of debate if the boat driver is proven to be negligent by boating while being drunk.
However, things may change a bit for boats involving public vessels like ferries and tourist boats utilized for commercial purposes. While it takes a BAC of .08% to be considered drunk, operators of public vessels could be proven negligent with a BAC of just about .04%. In such cases, negligence may not be established by the operator being drunk, it, however, could be established by the operator’s ability being impaired to “some extent” by alcohol. An example of such impairment could be a boat operator’s unawareness of tides and water current or inability to clearly see things that are visible under the water or other boats.
Of course, boating under the influence isn’t all about alcohol intoxication. You still have a solid case if your boat operator was boating under the influence of drugs. Though the definition of drugs is not particularly clear here, your boat operator will be legally presumed to be under the influence if the ingested substances like cocaine and marijuana.
Drug or alcohol consumption by a boat operator translates to the more likely that the person will make unsafe or dangerous decisions. So, if you are able to establish this fact against your boat operator in the case of an accident, they are likely going to be liable for damages.
The value of compensation you should expect may depend on the severity of the damages you incur due to the accident. The value of compensation could range between a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. If the injuries you sustained requires surgery or complete hospitalization, then the boat operator (or the boating company) may be liable for the medical bills. Apart from medical bills for treatment of injuries sustained, you can also be compensated for future medical expenses that you are likely to incur as a result of the accident.
Hospitalization may also mean the victim is unable to work nor earn some wages. This may be factored into the monetary compensations that you’ll be awarded, but it varies depending on the unique case. Also, depending on the resulting situation, you could also be compensated for “loss of future earnings,” especially if the accident or injuries may restrict you from working for a while.
Similarly, if you have lost a loved one, you may become emotionally wounded or fall into depression. You may also suffer mental anguish as a result of your experience during the accident. Apart from physical injuries, you could also be awarded compensation for emotional injuries.
But that’s not all to it, the erring party could still be liable to even more damage. If you had an accident while on a trip, the erring party may be liable for cost the cost associated with the canceled trip or canceled plans. And then there’s the cost associated with personal properties you may have lost during the accident.
All in all, you may be entitled to a considerable number of damages. There’s technically no limit to the type of damage claims and the amount in claims an injured party can make. If you are injured in a boating accident, damages you are entitled to all sum up to both compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages reimburse or compensate the injured party for the injuries they have sustained and available in almost all cases of personal injuries at sea. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are awarded in select cases and are mostly awarded if the offending party’s action that led to the accident is considered very despicable or reprehensible. A possible scenario where punitive damages can be awarded would be if the erring party involved in aggravated assault, sexual assault or fraudulent behavior that caused widespread damages to others onboard.
If you ever have the unfortunate experience of an accident while out on the sea, do not hesitate to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your legal right to being compensated is your power, don’t hesitate to use it.