Missouri Boat Accident Attorneys
According to the most recent data from the United States Coast Guard, in 2016, 137 boating accidents occurred in Missouri, injuring 107 people; 14 accidents were fatal, killing 16 people. Some accidents truly are unavoidable, such as one that occurred in August when a boater struck a submerged tree in Mark Twain Lake and the impact injured his wife and children. However, many boating accidents occur because people are reckless, irresponsible, or inexperienced.
If a boat accident injured you or an immediate family member, you could be entitled to compensation that can help with medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact the experienced boat accident attorneys at Bley & Evans to request a free case consultation: 1-844-443-8385.
Alcohol and Boat Crashes
In August, police had boating-while-intoxicated checkpoints at Lake of the Ozarks. Police inspected 127 boats, issuing 59 warnings, and arresting four people for BWI.
Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boat crashes, according to the North American Safe Boating Campaign. In Missouri, a person who is intoxicated, with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more, may not legally operate a boat. But many boaters do drink while operating a boat, putting themselves, their passengers, and other people at risk of injury.
Alcohol is known to interfere with balance, so intoxicated passengers may be at risk of falling overboard. On hot, sunny days, heat and alcohol can cause dehydration and fatigue, which may cause serious errors in judgment, as well as increase the risk of drowning.
Wake-related Boat Accidents
In 2015, 20 boat-related injuries and deaths occurred at Lake of the Ozarks, and police attributed those accidents to excessive wakes caused by big boats.
This year, police have responded to two separate incidents at Lake of the Ozarks in which a passenger in a boat that struck a large wake was thrown into the air and injured upon impact with the boat. In May, a boat that struck a wake at the lake ejected a passenger, who subsequently drowned.
Larger boats – even when not speeding – can create wakes up to 6 feet high, overturning small boats and endangering swimmers. Police can arrest drunken boaters and can issue citations to boaters who exceed posted speed limits. But there’s nothing they can do to prevent wake-related boating accidents. An experienced personal injury attorney, however, may be able to help people who have been injured in wake-related boating accidents.
The Importance of Safety Training
To drive a car in Missouri, you must have a valid driver’s license, which in all states requires the completion of at least a basic driver’s education course, usually followed by a probationary period. But the laws aren’t as stringent for boaters.
Only people born after Jan. 1, 1984, are required to complete a state boating education course – and children can legally operate a motorboat without adult supervision at age 14.
The American Boating Association says that, nationwide, of the 2016 boating fatalities in which level of instruction was known, 77 percent occurred on boats where the operator had no prior safety education.
The Danger of Inattention
USCG data shows that of the top five primary contributing factors in boat accidents, inexperience ranked second, followed by improper lookout, excessive speed, and alcohol use. Operator inattention was the top cause.
Boat operators may be distracted in many ways, especially if carrying multiple passengers. And an inattentive boat operator may miss important warning signs, fail to see people or boats in the water, or fail to notice fixed objects in their path.
How Mechanical Failures Occur
Just as cars need to be properly maintained to function well, boats require maintenance and upkeep. A malfunctioning boat blower motor or worn or cracked blower hoses can increase the risk of a fire or explosion. Any metal components that are submerged during operation, such as the propeller, should be inspected every year to ensure they’re not damaged or rusted to the point at which they could malfunction.
Help for Injury Victims
Recreational boating can be a safe and fun pastime, but too many people suffer serious injuries or die in accidents because of negligent boaters.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a boat accident, or suffered an injury due to a boater’s irresponsible or careless behavior, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Don’t wait to ask for help. Schedule your no-obligation case consultation with us online or at 1-844-443-8385.