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What to Expect with a Boating Accident Lawsuit

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Motorboat in lake at sunset
Millions of people visit Branson, Missouri, each year to explore the city’s many attractions, dine at its fabulous restaurants, and boat and fish on its lakes. Branson provides access to three popular lakes: Lake Taneycomo, Table Rock Lake, and Bull Shoals Lake, which offer watersports, fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. While Branson’s lakes offer pristine views and plenty of fun activities, boating accidents sometimes occur. If you were injured in a boating accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of someone else, scroll down to learn how a boating accident lawsuit works.

How Does a Boating Accident Lawsuit Work?

If you were injured in a boating accident caused by someone else, you might be entitled to file a boating accident lawsuit against the negligent or reckless party to recover compensation. Boating accident claims typically allege negligence causes of action. This means that you will have the burden of proving each of the negligence elements by a preponderance of the evidence to prevail. Under negligence law, a person can be held liable for injuries to others when they fail to exercise reasonable care under the given circumstances. By filing a lawsuit, you might be able to hold the at-fault party responsible for their negligence and recover compensation for your losses.

Damages in a Boating Accident Lawsuit

Damages are monetary amounts that might be awarded to compensate you for your losses and might include compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include economic or special damages and non-economic or general damages. Some examples of special damages include the following:

  • Past and future expected medical expenses to treat your injuries
  • Past and future wage losses related to the accident
  • Property losses
  • Funeral or burial expenses in cases involving wrongful death
  • Lost rights to an inheritance in cases involving wrongful death
  • Value of the lost contributions the deceased victim would have made over their expected lifespan in cases involving wrongful death

General damages are more difficult to value and include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma/mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life
  • Disfigurement/scarring
  • Loss of consortium/guidance in cases involving wrongful death

Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants instead of compensating plaintiffs. They are generally only awarded when a defendant’s conduct was particularly outrageous, willful, or wanton. For example, if another boater was intoxicated and traveling at high speeds when he crashed into you, punitive damages might be available. However, they are generally not available in most cases.

How Much Is a Boating Accident Claim Worth?

The value of a boating accident claim will vary based on the facts and circumstances, including the severity of your injuries, whether you might be expected to recover or are instead left with permanent disabilities, and whether you contributed fault. If the accident was partly your fault, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. However, sharing a percentage of fault will not bar your ability to recover compensation.

When you meet with an attorney, they will review the evidence, including the accident report, your medical records, wage statements showing your income losses, and others to calculate the value of your claim. After this analysis, your attorney will provide you with a range of values within which you might anticipate a fair settlement to fall. This can help you evaluate any offer you might receive from the insurance company.

Will You Have to Go to Trial?

Most boating accident claims are settled outside of the court process through careful negotiations with the liable party’s insurance company. However, if the insurance company refuses to extend a reasonable settlement offer, your attorney might file a formal lawsuit in court against the defendant. Even after formal lawsuits are filed, most claims will reach settlements short of trial. However, your lawyer should prepare your case as if it will go to trial so that you will be prepared with the strongest possible case to present to a jury.

Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave

If you have suffered serious injuries in a boating accident while visiting Branson, you should reach out to an experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave. We have years of experience fighting for the rights of negligence victims. Call us today for a free consultation at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.

Files under: Personal Injury