Whether it occurs on the nearby Columbia River or in any of Washington State’s other navigable waterways, boat accidents can and do cause serious harm to Kennewick residents every year. Fortunately, anyone injured as a result of negligence out in the water can pursue civil compensation from the party responsible.
If you were hurt in a collision or any other kind of accident caused by reckless or careless boating, a Kennewick boat accident lawyer might be able to help. Once retained, your seasoned personal injury attorney could ensure you understand what rights you have, collect evidence to build an effective claim for your unique situation, and tirelessly advocate for your best interests both in and out of court.
What Does Negligence Look Like in Boat Accident Claims?
To a certain extent, the expectations for someone operating a maritime vessel or personal watercraft in navigable waterways are the same as those who drive motor vehicles on public roads. Everyone on and around the water has an implicit obligation to obey applicable boating laws. They must also watch out for other vessels and people, and generally act like a reasonable person under whatever circumstances they encounter.
Any time that someone fails to live up to this responsibility, they have likely breached the duty they owed to people around them. This applies whether they violated the law, acted recklessly, or simply lost concentration at the wrong moment. If their irresponsible actions then lead to an accident that results in physical injury, the irresponsible party may be considered legally negligent and therefore held accountable for all ensuing damages.
Compensable losses following a boat accident may include not only objective forms of harm like medical bills and vessel repair or replacement costs, but also more subjective damages having to do with physical pain and emotional or psychological suffering. A qualified Kennewick boat accident attorney could go over what losses could be included in a particular lawsuit or settlement demand during an initial consultation.
Potential Obstacles to Comprehensive Recovery
In addition to proving someone else specifically at fault for their injuries, people who have experienced boat accidents in Kennewick must also be sure to contest any allegations that they themselves were partially to blame for the incident in question. This is because Revised Code of Washington § 4.22.005 allows civil courts to reduce the value of a plaintiff’s damage award based on whatever percentage of total fault that plaintiff is found to bear for their injuries. For instance, a boater who is found 25 percent liable for an accident could only recover for 75 percent of the damages they sustained through that accident, even if someone else was still primarily at fault.
Additionally, R.C.W. § 4.16.080 allows most civil plaintiffs—including those pursuing compensation for boat accidents—only three years at most after sustaining harm to begin filing suit for associated damages. Assistance from a boat collision lawyer in Kennewick can be essential to understanding and overcoming procedural roadblocks like these.
Get in Touch with a Kennewick Boat Accident Attorney Today
No one better understands how dangerous a day out on the water can be than people who have been hurt in accidents caused by negligent boaters. In a situation like this, taking prompt and effective legal action against the party responsible for an accident can be key not just to holding them accountable for their actions, but also to ensuring those actions do not negatively impact you and your family for years to come. A Kennewick boat accident lawyer could answer questions and offer guidance about possible next steps during an initial meeting. Call today to schedule yours.