Boating in Connecticut: What You Need to Know

The state boasts more than 115 boat launches across Connecticut. Large and small, from lakes and ponds to rivers and the Long Island Sound.  Candlewood Lake is the largest lake in the state and is located right here in Fairfield County, where boating is a popular pastime on our beautiful waterways. But unfortunately, it can also turn dangerous or deadly in a snap.

According to Coast Guard recreational boating statistics, nearly 87,000 motorboats and sailboats are registered in Connecticut. And dozens of people are involved in boating accidents each year on Connecticut waterways.

The U.S. Coastguard Reports the Top 5 Accident Types:

  1. Collision with a recreational vessel
  2. Collision with a fixed object
  3. Becoming grounded
  4. Flooding/swamping the boat
  5. Passengers falling overboard

Understanding all of the potential causes of accident or injury, then following the trail to identify who is ultimately responsible for an injury or death is the work of a good boating accident lawyer.

Complex Claims

Personal injury boat accident lawsuits require particular areas of expertise and experience from a boat accident lawyer.

Recreational vessels are most commonly involved; however commercial boats may also result in a person being injured at work, which may add another layer to a pending lawsuit.

If you or a loved one have received injuries or other losses due to a boating injury or docking injuries, you’ve been through enough. You need experienced help to get what you deserve.

Common Types of Injuries

There are many types of injuries someone may receive in boating accidents. For example, people can get hurt due to a boat dock injury or a foot injury.

Another type of personal injury boat accident that is very often catastrophic is a boat propeller injury.

Some injuries are relatively minor such as scratches or deep bruises, often referred to as “boat bites.”

On the much more severe end of the spectrum are injuries such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Deep lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Serious burns
  • Accidental amputations
  • Soft tissue Injuries
  • Injuries resulting in death

Causes of Boating Accidents

It is true that accidents happen. But there is an important distinction a boat accident attorney can make in cases where we can prove the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Some common types of accidents that can be found to be negligent actions leading to injuries include:

  • A person operating the boat is distracted
  • Inexperienced boaters at the helm
  • Drinking alcohol or doing drugs and steering
  • Negligent boat maintenance (including failure to maintain)
  • Failure to follow the applicable laws
  • Speeding

Prevention

The members of Ganim Legal, P.C. live and work in the Bridgeport community, and our first hope is that a terrible accident can be prevented. We are experts at handling injury claims. If an ounce of prevention means a neighbor doesn’t experience loss, pain, and suffering, all the better.

Learning how to prevent accidents will also help you understand if your injury was the fault of someone who should have been more careful.

We offer these 6 top tips on how to stay safe while enjoying an outing on a boat:

  1. Wear a lifejacket and make sure everyone on the boat is wearing one that fits properly
  2. Do not drink alcohol or take drugs and boat. It’s against the law, and it’s highly risky behavior
  3. Taking a boating safety course and educating yourself on boating laws is the responsible thing to do. Plus, you’re showing you’ve taken meaningful steps to prevent any accident or injury.
  4. Before setting out, ensure there’s at least one fire extinguisher and on larger bodies of water, flares, and boat lights, too.
  5. Stay aware of changing weather conditions and have a plan to return home safely and quickly if a storm sparks up.
  6. Double-check that no one is near the propeller before starting the engine. It must be done every time.

Who Can Be Held Accountable?

Unlike motor vehicles on the road, boating speeds are not always posted.  Meaning the boat operator has to make judgment calls on the water about what speed is truly safe.  An attorney can help you understand the difference between making a mistake and making risky maneuvers.

Whoever was to blame for causing preventable harm, at Ganim Law, our attorneys understand and can explain to you the nuances of personal injury law that are key to your case.

Understanding the legal definitions of preventable harm, negligence, modified comparative fault rule, wrongful acts, liability, and proper financial compensation for physical and economic damages is essential.

There are situations a boat operator cannot control but legally still must take steps to ensure the safety of the people on their boat and on other boats, such as:

  • Bright sunlight and high heat
  • Significant wind speeds or gusts
  • Vibration and motion of the craft
  • Noise

Boat operators:

Whether that’s the person running your boat or another recreational vehicle, boat operators have to take steps to ensure safe operation. Sadly, in this category, it’s often alcohol or drug use by the boat’s operator that leads to the accident.

Commercial companies:

Many businesses cater to the popular boating industry. The company may rent out boats or take paying customers on board for tours or water sports. The companies must abide by the law and can be held liable according to the law for injuries and accidents. The company operating the boat and any activities related to it cannot commit any safety violations or fail to take every step possible to ensure the vessel and its equipment are safe.

Product manufacturers:

If the boat or a part on the boat is defective, the manufacturer may be liable under product liability laws. Therefore, those who manufacture the vessel and its equipment must ensure that no design flaws pose any type of safety hazard.

I’ve Been in a Boating Accident That Wasn’t My Fault. What Should I be Getting?

There are many factors to consider following an accident. It is best to have an experienced boating accident lawyer on your side. Our team can take on cases involving injuries and damages where the owner or operator of the boat failed to keep you and others safe from harm.

If another person or company is to blame for your injuries, there are many types of financial compensation you may be entitled to, either in legal negotiations or in court.

Our experienced team of lawyers can walk you through each type of relief you may be entitled to and may include some or all:

  • Emotional suffering
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • All of your medical expenses
  • Loss of income due to the accident and future income
  • Decreased quality of life

Ganim Law is Here to Help!

If you, a friend, or a family member were injured while boating, especially on someone else’s boat, you might be entitled to payment for suffering and medical expenses. Compensation may also be due to compensation for physical injuries or related property damages.

Call Ganim Law today for your free personal consultation. +1 (203) 908-3100

In most cases, you don’t pay unless we win your personal injury lawsuit or a settlement.

On a related subject, there are some rules specific to water skiing and tubing.  Ganim Law can explain how your potential lawsuit may be impacted if the driver of the boat at fault was underage.  Or if the driver was trying to steer and keep an eye on the passenger(s) they were pulling instead of having a legally required observer.

The boat operator is also responsible for keeping a waterskier or tube rider more than 100 feet away from the shore, an anchored vessel, a dock, pier, or float.

Attorney Paul Ganim’s team brings decades of experience to help you through all the necessary legal hurdles, so you get what you deserve.

Hire a team based in Bridgeport ready to take on your case now.

What Happens Once the Lawsuit is Filed?

Sometimes we can get a cash settlement for clients without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.

Another way to get what our client deserves is to enter mediation or arbitration with the defendant (the boat’s owner or operator) in the case.

The Ganim Law Firm stands ready to go into court for a trial if that’s the best course to an excellent outcome for our client.

Conclusion

Whether the captain owns the boat or rents it from someone else, they’re taking responsibility for the safety of all the people on their craft as well as the people on other boats or in the water.

Staying in compliance with laws and regulations is the best way for someone to protect themselves against facing a lawsuit.  Sometimes people want to brush off a person’s responsibility by saying, “Accidents can happen to anyone!”  This is true.  The critical difference is if the individual has decided to ignore the rules or simply stop paying attention, they can be found to be legally negligent when an accident involving property damage, personal injury, or death occurs.

The operator should make a commitment never to drink or drug and drive a water vessel or become distracted while behind the wheel goes a long way toward making boating outings safe and enjoyable for everyone.