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Boat Accident Attorney in Montana

Montana is home to countless state parks and bodies of water–it’s no surprise that boating, fishing, and swimming are all popular pastimes. Unfortunately, with these activities come inherent risks. According to the United States Coast Guard, Montana saw 32 fatal boating accidents from 2017-2021.

Though they’re less common, boat crashes can be just as dangerous as car accidents. In many accidents, boaters suffer severe injuries, property damage, and extensive medical bills.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, it may be time to contact a Montana personal injury attorney. Whether you were hurt while recreational boating, kayaking, or swimming, your recovery matters. The Advocates can help.

From Brush Lake to Thompson Falls, The Montana Advocates represent accident victims all over the state. We will be there every step of the way for your boating accident case and will do everything in our power to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Common Types of Boating Accidents

When lifejackets are worn and safety guidelines are followed, boating can be a fun activity that is generally safe. However, there are many ways to be injured while on the water. Some common boat accidents include:

  • Collision with other watercraft, including motorboats, sailboats, and more
  • Collision with fixed objects
  • Jet ski accidents and other crashes involving personal watercraft
  • Collisions involving non-motorized equipment, such as kayaks
  • Collisions involving swimmers
  • Slip-and-fall accidents while on board
  • Accidents involving propellers

Common Causes of Boat Accidents

Many things can go wrong while out on the water, and they may not always be under your control. The weather, water conditions, and other boaters can all act as hazards.

Some common causes of boat accidents include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Operator inattention
  • Boat operator inexperience
  • Poorly lit or unmarked obstructions
  • Storms and other dangerous conditions

Common Montana Boat Accident Injuries

Graphic depicted common injuries than occur in boating accidentsBoating accidents can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Common injuries that boating accident victims face include:

  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord, neck, and back injuries
  • Broken bones and teeth
  • Limb amputation
  • Whiplash
  • Lacerations and bruising
  • Sprains, strains, and tears
  • Drowning

Boating Laws in Montana

It’s important to know the rules and regulations anywhere you plan to recreate. Some important boating laws in Montana include:

  • All recreational vessels must carry life jackets for each person on board
  • Children under 12 may not operate a motorboat or personal watercraft unless accompanied by someone at least 18 years old
  • Sailboats that are 12 feet or longer, all motorboats, and all personal watercraft must be registered and numbered
  • Boats with out-of-state registration may only operate in Montana for up to 90 days
  • Boating accident reports are required in the following circumstances
    • Fatal boating accidents
    • Accidents that resulted in a person’s disappearance
    • Accidents that required medical treatment beyond first-aid
    • Accidents that resulted in more than $100 of property damage
  • Boat operators must remain at the scene of a boat accident and exchange information with anyone affected by the accident

What Should I Do After a Boat Accident in Montana?

As with any accident, it’s normal to feel panicked, shocked, or confused after being involved in a boat crash. However, in order to keep every safe and protect your right to a personal injury claim, it’s important to take the following actions:

  • Check to make sure everyone is still on board–if someone has fallen, get them back to the boat as quickly as possible
  • Perform emergency first aid as necessary
  • If the watercraft is in a high-traffic area, consider moving it out of the way
  • Call law enforcement
  • If you collided with another boat, exchange information with the boat owner
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • Consider contacting a personal injury lawyer

What Damages Can I Seek After a Boating Accident?

Every personal injury case is different. Depending on the nature of your accident, you may be able to seek the following damages in your boating accident lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Funeral expenses (in the case of wrongful death)
  • Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you build your case and get fair compensation for the damages you have incurred. Contact The Advocates law firm for a free consultation–our boating accident attorneys will be able to tell you if you have a case.

What Is Montana’s Statute of Limitations for Boating Accident Claims?

In every state, personal injury claims must be settled in a certain amount of time after the date of the accident. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.

In Montana, the statute of limitations for boating accidents and other personal injury cases is typically 3 years. After 3 years, you will lose your right of action. However, the statute of limitation can be shorter in certain circumstances. It is best to consult an injury attorney early on to preserve your rights.

A boating accident attorney can help you make sure your case is taken care of in a timely manner. However, to ensure this happens, it’s important to contact the attorney as soon as you can. Personal injury law can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking as long as a few years.

How Can a Montana Boat Accident Lawyer Help?

If you’ve been injured in an accident on the water due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills. However, receiving a settlement is often not a straightforward process. Insurance companies will go out of their way to avoid compensating you fully for your damages.

Additionally, maritime law is different than laws that govern roads and private property. This can make boat accident cases even more complex than other types of personal injury law.

The Advocates boat accident lawyers have been representing accident victims for more than three decades. We can help you:

  • Determine whether you have a case
  • Understand Montana boating laws
  • Access necessary medical care
  • Build a strong personal injury claim
  • Negotiate with insurance providers
  • Take your case to court if necessary

You deserve a boat accident attorney who will put you first. You deserve an Advocate.