Boat Accidents

Boat Accident Lawyer

Accidents on the water in Georgia come with their own laws and statutes. Determining fault and filing a claim for a boating accident is different than in standard motor vehicle accidents. To maximize your results for these types of collisions, partner with a Georgia accident attorney who has experience handling boat accident claims. Trust Dermer Appel Ruder with your case if your lake or sea boating excursion takes a turn for the worst. Our experienced Georgia boat accident attorneys can find a solution to your unique legal situation.

How Common are Boat Accidents?

Boating accidents happen more often than most water enthusiasts realize. Failing to take proper precautions before hitting the open water can lead to disaster. In 2017, the state of Georgia reported 102 boating accidents. Boating accidents took 14 lives in Georgia the same year. Although this is a decrease from 112 accidents and 22 deaths the previous year, it is still too many. Boating accidents are preventable with due care and attention to the waterway. It is when operators act negligently and recklessly that collisions, injuries, and deaths occur.

  • May 2020 13 people were injured in a boating collision on Lake Lanier.
  • August 2020 100 patrons of a river tubing tour were caught in severe weather on the Chattahoochee River.
  • August 2019 Woman seriously injured after hit-and-run boat incident on Lake Burton
  • October 2019 a woman died after falling off a boat on Lake Allatoona



Georgia Boating Laws

If you were born after January 1, 1998, you will need to pass a boating education course to operate a vessel in Georgia. People under the age of 12 cannot legally operate vessels greater than 15 feet in length (including personal watercraft). They can only operate boats under 16 feet in length and motorized (under 30 horsepower) if a competent adult is supervising. People 16 and older can operate boats and other vessels on state waters with proper identification on them at all times.

Every boat owner must carry certain required equipment, which changes depending on the size and type of vessel. Most boaters must carry a boating safety certificate, boat registration certificate, validation decals, fire extinguishers, ventilation systems, mufflers, horns, navigation lights, and visual distress signals. People on personal watercraft must wear flotation devices at all times, as must anyone under the age of 13 (on any vessel).

It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Georgia. The maximum blood alcohol concentration level on a boat is the same as other vehicles: 0.08%. It is every boater’s duty to inspect, repair, and maintain vessels he or she owns. Boaters must obey all rules and signs on the waterway, as well as monitor the waters for other boaters and users. Breaking any of Georgia’s boater laws could be an act of negligence that results in liability for a collision if the broken law contributed to the wreck.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents

Like all accidents, human error is the main cause of boating collisions. Negligent, careless, incompetent, intoxicated, and distracted boaters can’t control boats or operate them safely. Instead, they are prone to making fatal errors such as speeding, weaving through the waterway, and failing to monitor the water. Other common causes include equipment malfunctions and bad weather. Our Georgia boating accident lawyers can help clarify the details of your case if you’re injured by someone else’s negligence behind the wheel.

Determining Liability in Georgia

The person liable for your boating accident will be the same one responsible for the “proximate,” or main cause of the collision. This could be another boater, but it could also be a boating manufacturer, repair crew, or waterway manager. A boat part manufacturer could be to blame if the boat had a defect that contributed to the crash. Your case would then take the form of a product liability lawsuit in Georgia.

What to Do After a Boat Accident

Contact our Georgia boat accident lawyer if you’re involved in an accident on the water. It’s never too soon or too late to talk to us. We’ll listen to your story and let you know if we think you have grounds for a personal injury claim. If so, we can help you with every step of the recovery process, from beginning to end. Our firm serves Alpharetta, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Peachtree Corners & Roswell. and all surrounding areas.

We have everything you need for a seamless, simple, and successful case. Call (404) 620-2224 today for more information. 

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