Slip and falls while on a commercial boat like a ferry or fishing charter take place from time to time and when they do you might be able to file a personal injury claim. You may be eligible as long as you can prove negligence on behalf of the boat skipper or boating company.
Accidents on Boats
It is not hard to imagine having an accident while on a boat. Even on huge ferries and cruise ships, the potential for a slip and fall or a trip and fall is always there.
Owners and operators of boats may be liable for any of their passengers if the passenger is a guest on the boat and there is proven negligence involved.
Accidents on boats are most likely to happen when:
- The boat is not designed to take passengers safely
- Goes out in conditions that are rough because of bad weather or sea state
- Passengers are not warned or given instructions that help to prevent an accident.
Most boats are designed so that you can move around by holding on to various structures if the motion becomes difficult.
They also should have non-slippery floors and decks which make it easier and less dangerous to walk on when in a seaway.
If a boat does not have any of these features or a boat operator takes a boat out into rough conditions without warning the passengers, he or she may be liable for a slip and fall accident if one takes place.
Steps to Follow When Filing a Slip and Fall Claim on a Boat
The first thing you will need to do is inform either a crew member or the boat’s captain that you have had a slip and fall accident. Depending where the boat is located you will need to be taken to the nearest emergency room for medical treatment.
You may need to seek help from a helicopter if your slip and fall accident took place far from land.
Before you leave the boat you may wish to take all the evidence you need to prove that your injuries were caused by the slip and fall while on the boat. This could be through photographs taken at the accident scene and of your injuries and written statements from eye witnesses.
Later you will require a doctor’s report describing your injuries and the medical treatment you have received so far and what you might need in the future. Before you begin your slip and fall PI claim you should hire a lawyer to help you through the process.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
The sorts of injuries you could encounter in a slip and fall accident on a boat will depend whether you fall backwards or forwards and if you are able to break your fall. Common injuries when falling forwards include but are not limited to:
- damage to the spine
- nerve damage
- crushed vertebrae
- muscle sprains
- shoulder dislocations.
Common injuries when falling forwards could be:
- cuts and bruises
- broken leg, arm or wrist
- sprained ankles or wrists
- knee injury
- traumatic brain injury.
A Breakdown of Typical Costs for a Slip and Fall Accident on a Boat
Example: A Broken Leg with 6 weeks recovery time
The costs are not fixed but depend on the particular medical center.
Treating a broken leg can cost at least $17,000 +. This will depend on how serious the break is and whether surgery is required to fix it. If surgery is not required it may only cost $2,500 to fix. In a boating accident helicopter evacuation is often necessary especially if there is no nearby boat access.
Costs can include:
- Cost of helicopter evacuation = $25,000
- Stay in hospital for one day = $2,000
- A short leg cast = $240
- Cost of cast removal= $150
- A leg brace=$800
- A leg X-ray = $200
- A typical physician fee for non-surgical treatment of a broken leg is $200 x 2 =$400.
- Physical therapy sessions = 10 sessions at $300 per session = $3,000
Other Costs of a Slip and Fall Injury
If you have to take time off work your loss of earnings may be included in your slip and fall claim. This should include the full time for when you are unable to work and if you haven’t returned by the time you file a claim an estimate will be made of any future earnings you may lose as well.
Pain and suffering is calculated based on your level of disability caused by the slip and fall accident. For a broken leg because you have reduced mobility for a considerable period of time to calculate pain and suffering the cost of your injury should be multiplied by 3.
Loss of Earnings from the injury to returning to work = 6 weeks x $1,200 = $7,200.
Pain and suffering is calculated as follows:
- Total medical treatment costs = $6,790
- Helicopter evacuation = $25,000
- Loss of earnings = $7,200
Pain and suffering component as a multiplier of economic costs Total= 3 x $38, 990 = $116,980.
In order to help you win a successful PI claim for your slip and fall boating accident you should hire a PI lawyer to guide you through the process.
Proving Liability in a Boating Accident
Proving liability in a slip and fall accident is never easy. The person who is injured as a result of an accident must be able to prove that someone in charge of the boat was negligent.
Most states will also look at how much the injured person was responsible for an accident. It is expected in liability cases that those who are present on a boat, for instance, take reasonable precautions for their own safety.
There may be a situation in which the boat owner or operator is partly to blame for an accident, but the injured person was also partly to blame as well.
Imagine, for instance, that you go out on someone’s motor boat. You are told that the weather could make the trip quite rough and that if you wished to come you had to look after yourself.
The boat operator, however, was not that careful about the way he drove the boat and his actions made the boat jolt in a very unpredictable way and at some point you lose balance and fall over and break your arm.
In this situation, both you as the victim and the boat operator may share the blame for the accident and if there is a claim for compensation only part of the claim may be awarded to you, the plaintiff, even if the claim is successful.
Why A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Win Your Case
If you have been injured in a boat accident and think that the boat owner or skipper was to blame, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible about the accident and get an opinion on the chances of success.
If the attorney considers that the case is valid, he or she will: