Did You Suffer Injuries on Boston Harbor? Call Us
Boating is a popular pastime in Boston Harbor and the various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers around our city, as well as a legitimate means of transportation for many Bostonians. But on the water, there is always a certain level of risk. Drownings, collisions, and even carbon monoxide poisonings are an ever-present danger for boaters and swimmers alike. When you head out on the water, you are at the mercy of other boaters, who may not take this responsibility as seriously and put your life in danger.
If you were injured in a boating accident that was not your fault, you should not have to haggle with insurance companies or have your claim drawn out for months or years. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we believe that accident victims deserve full compensation. Boating accidents are rarely minor. To get the money you need to heal comfortably, you need to work with a dedicated Boston boat accident attorney who will fight for your best interests. We have been working to protect the rights of injury victims in Boston for nearly two decades, and we welcome your call at (617) 870-0907. We offer free initial consultations where you can sit down with us and talk about what happened to you.
Causes of Boating Accidents in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a higher-than-average fatality rate compared to the rest of the United States. Over a five-year period, the Commonwealth saw more than 400 boating accidents and 45 fatalities. The majority of these deaths were the result of boat operator error, making them 100% preventable.
The five leading causes of boating accidents according to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) are:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Machinery failure
- Alcohol use
When someone chooses to purchase and operate a boat, it is their duty to obey all safety guidelines, which includes everything from having life vests aboard to maintaining safe speeds. Any violation of these rules can seriously injure someone and make the negligent boat operator liable for their medical bills and other damages. After a boating accident, it is important for you to file an accident report with the Massachusetts Environmental Police, Boating and Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau and speak with an attorney who can explain your rights to compensation.
Who Is Responsible for Boating Accidents?
In Boston Harbor and other nearby waterways, the three main liable parties after boat accidents are private vessel owners, commercial operators, and government agencies.
Boating is a popular pastime in Boston, with various boat owners and watercraft operators taking their vessels out on the Harbor daily. This could be a family out for a day on the water, or friends enjoying a fishing trip. As fun and exciting as it is to own a private vessel, it comes with great responsibility, including following safety laws and certain state regulations:
- Registration: In Massachusetts, recreational motorboats, canoes, sailboats, fishing boats, and personal watercraft like Wave Runners or Jet Skis all require registration. Non-motor craft do not require registration.
- Age: Boaters between the ages of 12 and 17 must be directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older who has received a safety certification to operate a vessel. In turn, for personal watercraft (PWC), all users must be at least 16.
- Insurance: Most boat insurance companies offer standard policies for boats up to 26 feet in length, with yachts having to have a specialized yacht insurance. Policies must include property damage, personal liability, and limited medical coverage. Boaters can also get uninsured boat owner coverage and coverage for personal effects.
- Safety Regulations: Boats must be equipped with life preservers, fire extinguishers, signaling devices, visual distress signals, and navigation lights. In addition, the following individuals must wear life preservers: children younger than 12, PCW users, water-skiers, and canoeists.
- Accident Reports: By law, the boat’s operator is required to report an accident that caused death, a missing person, or a serious injury within 48 hours to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, Boating and Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau.
When a privately owned and operated boat gets into a collision, it is almost always the fault of the boat’s owner. This can place injured guests in a difficult position when seeking compensation, but our Boston boating lawyers understand. We will explain your rights and guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party’s insurance.
Suffering an injury on a commercial vessel is different from an accident involving a private vessel. Water taxis running from and to Logan International, the aquarium, the World Trade Center, and other Boston sights are operated by private companies. Because these vessels carry passengers, they are held to a higher standard than private vessels and have a responsibility to prevent all injuries.
Under state law, these companies are required to have commercial boating insurance that protects their passengers, other boaters, and anyone else out on the Harbor. However, commercial insurance companies will fight hard to avoid paying full compensation after an accident. To have a fair chance at getting your medical bills paid, you need to work with an experienced attorney who will fight for your rights.
Ferries are owned and operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Filing a claim against a government agency is more complicated than another person’s private insurance, due to sovereign immunity and shorter deadlines. The MBTA also employs lawyers to help them reduce what they pay to anyone who sues them, regardless of the reason or the responsibility.
But DiBella Law Offices, P.C., can level the playing field for you. We have nearly two decades of experience handling boating claims in the Boston area. We are not intimidated because we know the law and have won claims against private boat owners, boating companies, and the MBTA.
In Boston, you have up to two years to file a government tort claim against the MTBA, unlike the standard three-year rule for most personal injury claims. Even though this seems like a long time, you need to start working with an attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence, calculate the costs of your injuries, and negotiate with the MBTA’s lawyers. You best option after an accident is to contact a lawyer immediately to get started on your claim.
We've offered crucial support and guidance to individuals who have suffered injuries, ensuring their financial and emotional well-being.
What Compensation Is Available?
Many boat owners have watercraft insurance for just these occasions, and commercial vessels will have commercial policies. As you receive treatment for your injuries, the bills begin to add up, and you might worry that your injury could be the beginning of your financial collapse. But that is not where you need to be focusing your energy. DiBella Law Offices, P.C., will work diligently on the case so that you can focus on your health and your family.
Each claim is unique, and we will be able to explain exactly what types of compensation apply to you, which could include:
- Your current and future medical bills related to the injuries
- Your lost wages while you are unable to work
- Your future lost wages, if any of your injuries causes a lifelong disability
- Your emotional distress, including counseling or therapy if needed
- Your pain and suffering
- Your property damage
Dedicated Representation for Injured Boaters
At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we will work diligently to secure the full and fair compensation for your injuries. We work closely with all of our clients to learn how their injuries have affected their finances, careers, and personal lives. Once we have the full costs of your injuries calculated, we do not settle for anything less.
Working with DiBella Law Offices, P.C., does not just mean getting an experienced Boston personal injury attorney, but also a dedicated Boston law firm that will use all of its resources to fight for you. We can access the knowledge of reliable accident reconstructionists and engineers to determine the cause of your injuries. When we are ready, we will go toe to toe with the at-fault party’s insurance to get you full compensation.
Call DiBella Law Offices, P.C., today at (617) 870-0907 or contact us online to learn about your rights in a free consultation.