Summer may seem like a long way off, but it will not be long before you and your loved ones will be packing up the family car and heading to the lake or beach. There are approximately 12 million registered boats in the United States, and millions of Americans take to either a fresh or salt body of water to sail each year.
Boating may be popular, but it can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, just over 4,000 boating accidents took place between 2021 and 2022. About 639 people lost their lives during the same time.
Although most registered boats are in Florida, a boating accident can happen anywhere there is water, including Missouri.
Take These Steps if You Are Hurt in a Boat Wreck
It is never too early to consider what you should do in the event you or a loved one are hurt in a boating wreck. The steps you take after an accident can impact your physical health and legal rights:
Get to Shore Immediately and Assess the Situation
No matter the nature of the accident, you should return to shore immediately and take stock of your injury. Attempting to see how badly you have been hurt is difficult on a boat. Moreover, if you require emergency care, you waste precious time by waiting until you assess your injuries.
At the very least, any head injuries or near drownings should warrant an immediate return to land.
Obtain Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
If you are injured, get medical attention as soon as you can. Head injuries and near-drownings are some of the most serious injuries you can sustain in a boating accident. Either one can lead to trauma that can worsen the longer you go without treatment.
Consider visiting your doctor’s office for an evaluation for minor injuries or if you are not sure how seriously you have been hurt. This can ensure you did not sustain some internal injury or other trauma that is not yet manifesting symptoms.
Do Not Sign Any Waiver or Release Without Speaking to an Attorney
If you rented your boat or got injured on a cruise, you may be approached by a representative of the company and asked to sign a release. Decline to do so until you have had a chance to talk with a boating accident lawyer.
Signing a release will often mean you cannot pursue any claim for compensation, which can leave you having to foot the bill for your medical costs and other expenses.
Talk to an Experienced Missouri Boat Accident Lawyer
Once you have taken steps to safeguard your physical health and safety, visit with a skilled boating accident lawyer in Missouri about your next steps.
You could have legal rights against a negligent party if that person’s actions led to the boating crash, but you have a limited time to act. Your attorney can help you take the necessary action to pursue a claim.