What to do if you’re involved in a boating accident

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While many folks think of boating as a carefree way to enjoy the warm weather, it can quickly turn into a frightening experience. If the person operating the watercraft is driving recklessly or disobeying the rules, this can lead to life-altering consequences for the driver, passengers, and even other boaters.

When an accident occurs, it’s crucial that you react in a responsible and timely manner.

Toronto personal injury firm Singer Kwinter has taken on several cases involving boating accidents that have occurred on some of Ontario’s most beloved lakes and harbours. The firm is dedicated to helping individuals who have experienced a serious injury caused by someone else’s negligence.

Singer Kwinter has been recognized as one of the top personal injury firms in Canada, and its lawyers have worked tirelessly to change the landscape of litigation throughout the country.

“Boating accidents do happen and, oftentimes, they are very tragic,” shares Alf Kwinter, founding partner and senior counsel at Singer Kwinter. “When you get into a boat, consider that it’s just as potentially dangerous as getting into a car – a lot of things can happen on the water.”

Because of this, Kwinter offers some valuable insights on how to avoid an unfortunate boating or jet skiing accident and what steps to take should one occur.

Think about insurance

Insuring your boat provides you with liability coverage, which will protect you in the event that someone gets injured or property is damaged. Instead of your personal bank account, the insurance company will be responsible for covering your legal fees and the medical expenses of those you’ve injured. Plus, it will financially take care of the repairs to any property that was damaged in the accident.

“Think very carefully before getting into any type of watercraft with a driver who has or will be consuming alcohol, as insurance is void if the operator is under the influence,” says Kwinter. “When people get into a boat with a driver who is drinking, not only are they risking their lives but if anything does happen to them, they won’t be protected by insurance.”

Seek legal advice

The optimal time to seek legal advice is immediately after an accident occurs or after medical care is administered. Once you’ve notified your insurer of the accident, it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer who can provide you with information and advice that’s tailored to your experience.

“If you’ve been hurt or if another person has been hurt, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible,” states Kwinter. “If you were significantly injured, the insurance company for the person who caused the injury may try to contact you for details. This could include the extent of the injury, how much money they have to reserve for it and how serious the damages might be.”

It’s important to receive legal advice before agreeing to any insurance offer.

Identify everyone involved

Similar to accidents that take place on the road, identifying the person who hit you or caused the accident is imperative. Your insurance company or lawyer may need to get in touch with them after the collision.

Kwinter cautions that after causing an accident, some people attempt to flee the scene. If this occurs, try to remember their boat registration number, make and model.

Take thorough notes

After any kind of accident, it’s common that people feel stressed, shocked and overwhelmed – the moments that follow seem like a whirlwind. Promptly jotting down your recollection of the event will be of tremendous help to your personal injury claim. If possible, have the other parties involved and any witnesses do the same.

“People should try to record as much as possible by writing it down, and if the authorities are involved, it’s important to cooperate,” he shares. “You want to remember exactly what happened and who was at fault.”

Gather photographic evidence

Like your notes, photos also act as evidence in an accident claim. Following a boating mishap, use your phone to take pictures of any property damage or injuries that you’ve endured – abrasions or bruises can disappear quickly.

“At our firm, we represent people who have been seriously injured,” says Kwinter. “I currently hold the record for the highest reward for chronic pain in Canada. These cases are very difficult as the injury isn’t visible and it doesn’t show up on any medical imaging. We’ve taken some really challenging cases that other law firms have rejected and we’ve worked incredibly hard to bring them to successful conclusions. It’s rare for a case to go to trial but when it does, we give it our all.”

To contact the team at Singer Kwinter, click here.

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