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Atlanta Boat Accident Attorney

The Peach State has many opportunities for boating and personal watercraft activities, with plenty of state parks, rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean nearby. Unfortunately, not every day on the water ends well. Boating accidents can lead to tragedies involving serious personal injuries, blunt force trauma, and accidental drowning. Often, someone’s negligence is to blame for these outcomes. After a boat accident that results in injuries, death, or expensive property damage, come to Butler Wooten & Peak LLP for legal guidance.

Boating Laws in Georgia

Federal, state, and local authorities regulate boating activities in Georgia. There are strict laws regarding lifejacket use, waterway navigation, boating under the influence, and boat maintenance standards that all boaters must obey. Failure to abide by these laws can result in injuries during water recreation. If someone broke any of these rules leading up to your boat accident in Georgia, you likely have grounds for a negligence case:

  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of more than 0.08%. Boating and alcohol don’t mix. A water vessel operator caught with a BAC of 0.08% or greater can receive a BUI, or boating under the influence charge. If the boater who caused your accident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have grounds for a claim.
  • Age limitations for operating a boat. Children under 12 years of age may only operate a water vessel that is less than 16 feet long, with a motor of 30 horsepower or less, under adult supervision. Operators ages 12 to 15 may operate a vessel of the same length with adult accompaniment or after passing a boat education course. Those 16 and older may only operate a boat legally on Georgia waters with proper identification onboard. An incompetent or inexperienced boater can cause an accident by failing to react properly to poor weather conditions or other hazards.
  • Boat operation requirements. Boat operators must make sure the vessel has mandated safety equipment such as lifejackets, visual distress signals, navigation lights, fire extinguishers, survival tools, and emergency communication devices. Failure to have this equipment can endanger lives in the event of an accident.

There are also minimum standards for the maintenance of water vessels. Boat owners must make sure their vessels are seaworthy before hoisting anchor. Maintenance-related problems such as broken lights, and sinking boats can place the owner at fault for related accidents and injuries. If a negligent boater crashed into you and caused costly property damage or personal injuries, get an attorney. An attorney knows the myriad boat laws in Georgia and locally to assist with your case.

What to Do After a Boating or Maritime Accident in Georgia?

You might be prepared for what to do after a car accident in Atlanta – but what about after a boat accident? Waterway rules differ slightly from those of the roadway. You must file an accident report if the crash resulted in personal injury or significant property damage. Contact local authorities for help with this process. As in car accidents, you may need to deal with boat insurance companies for a claim settlement. If the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance, seek help from an attorney for damage recovery instead. Contact Butler Wooten & Peak LLP to explore your potential options for compensation after a boat accident in Georgia.