According to a report from WSB–TV, two people were hospitalized after a boat accident in Georgia. The incident occurred on Lake Burton in a rural part of Rabun County in the far Northeast corner of the state. The boat accident is still under a comprehensive investigation. Here, our Atlanta boating accident lawyers explain what we know about the crash and provide an overview of boat accident claims in Georgia.
A Boat Struck a Sea Wall on Burton Island, Two Occupants Injured
A boating accident hurt two people in Rabun County. The Lake Burton collision was reported when a watercraft struck a sea wall that was located on Burton Island in the middle of the lake. While both were hospitalized, neither was reported to have life-threatening injuries. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources helped to control the scene of the boating accident. The cause was not yet officially determined and the boat accident remains under a more comprehensive investigation.
Understanding Boat Accident Liability in Georgia
A boat accident that occurs in a lake in Georgia is largely subject to state law. As with other types of accident claims in Georgia, boat-related injuries are fault-based legal cases. To hold another party legally liable for your injuries—whether the owner or operator of the boat that you were on or any type of third party—you must prove that they are responsible for the accident. Notably, Georgia law requires all boat operators to operate their vessels in a safe and prudent manner. Among other things, this means boaters are obligated to follow posted speed limits, avoid hazardous conditions, and not operate the vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Commercial boat operators are subject to an even more stringent standard of care. Some examples of negligence that can contribute to boat accidents in Georgia include:
- Boater Inexperience: Many accidents can be traced back to operators unfamiliar with basic boating rules or lacking understanding of the vessel’s handling. Proper training is a must.
- Distracted Boating: Just as with driving, distractions on the water can be deadly. Boaters should always pay the requisite attention to the task at hand—safe operation.
- Excessive Speed: Waters are not always as open as they seem. Speeding can drastically reduce a boater’s reaction time, making it hard to avoid sudden obstacles.
- Boater Intoxication: Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, balance, and coordination. Intoxicated boating is not just irresponsible—it is extremely dangerous.
- Poor Maintenance: An ill-maintained boat is a hazard waiting to happen. Faulty engines, leaks, or dysfunctional equipment can lead to emergencies in open waters.
- Failure to Use Safety Equipment: Life jackets, flares, horns, and other safety gear are vital. Failing to equip the boat with such equipment, or neglecting to use them,
- Failure to Heed Warnings: Ignoring weather advisories, buoy markers, or other boaters’ signals can lead to catastrophic outcomes. Adverse weather is dangerous on the water.
Most Boat Accident Claims are Subject to a Two-Year Statute of Limitations
You do not have an unlimited period of time to bring your boat accident injury claim in Georgia. Under state law (Georgia Code § 9-3-33), these claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. What happens if you do not file your boat accident injury claim in a timely manner? You may not be able to recover compensation for your injuries at all. Do not delay: Speak to an experienced Atlanta boat accident lawyer as soon as possible after a serious accident. You do not want to fall behind an insurance company in the claims process.
Injured Boat Accident Victims Deserve Full and Fair Financial Compensation
Following a serious boat accident, it is imperative that victims are able to secure the maximum available financial support. Under Georgia law, boat accident victims may pursue financial relief for economic losses and non-economic damages. Compensation may include:
- Property damage, such as boat repairs;
- Emergency medical treatment, including any rescue costs;
- Hospital bills and other health care expenses;
- Lost wages and loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disability and disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
We Handle the Full Range of Boating Accident Injuries in Georgia
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia boat accident lawyers are tireless, reliable, and results-driven advocates for injured victims. If you or your loved one was hurt in a boat accident, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation. We handle boating accident claims throughout all of Georgia.