June 1, 2022
When Do You Need a Michigan Boat Accident Lawyer?
Suffered injuries in a boating accident? Elia & Ponto PLLC can help!
Pure Michigan. The Great Lakes State. Home to 90% of America’s surface freshwater—more than 20% of the world’s surface freshwater—and ideal for outdoor-lovers of all kinds. We’re a state well-known for relaxing summer lake days, great fishing, and coastal adventures. And that means a lot of boats. More than one million, in fact. In the year 2020 alone, 181 boating accidents were reported, costing more than $2 million in damages.
If you own a boat or plan to be spending time out on the water this summer, you need to know what to do if you’ve been in a boating accident. From filing a claim to recouping medical costs and property damage costs, our talented team of attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way.
Boat Insurance Policies & Filing a Boating Accident Claim
Do you have insurance? Does the boat’s owner have insurance? These are questions you are absolutely going to want to keep in mind if you’ve been in a boating accident.
Boats can be covered under auto, home, or separate boat insurance depending on your insurance carrier. In some cases, boat accident insurance claims may also tie in with medical insurance and negligence, and this can make the process particularly confusing. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate what protections you have, where to file a claim, and possibly even help you recuperate additional compensation for things like medical costs, lost wages—even pain and suffering. Just like any other form of insurance, boating insurance has a maximum payout for the damages done, both to your person as well as the craft.
Depending on the specifics of your case, a boat accident lawyer can help you recover some or all costs that go over that maximum allotment. This is particularly helpful as, in the state of Michigan, any medical expenses that come as a result of a boating accident will be covered by your own insurance first, meaning you will have to pay out-of-pocket for the deductible and any co-pays that come with medical services rendered. A boating accident attorney will help you navigate the insurance companies, represent your rights, and get you the money you are owed.
Important Tips to Keep in Mind When You’re Out on the Water
We’ve put together a short-but-concise list of boating tips to keep you safe on the water. If you plan to be in or around boats this summer, you’re definitely going to want to keep these in mind!
- Boat Sober. It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many folks get behind the wheel of their boat after drinking. Dehydration from being out in the sun all day can actually increase the effects of alcohol in the human body. Not to mention, driving while under the influence—both on land and on the water—is illegal. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and boat sober!
- Wear a Life Jacket. Even the strongest of swimmers can struggle during a boating accident. Wearing life jackets saves lives. In the state of Michigan, it is mandatory for children six years and younger to wear a life jacket while on a vessel.
- Check Your Equipment. Make sure to regularly check your boat and the equipment on board—including mandatory life jackets. Regular checks can ensure that, should an accident occur, you have the resources you need to stay safe.
- Stay Alert. Whether you’re in a boat or relaxing in the water, make sure you always stay alert of the people around you. For swimmers, make sure you stay within the boundaries marked off as safe for swimming, otherwise you run the risk of getting into an accident with a moving vessel.
When Do I Need to Consult a Boat Accident Attorney?
The sooner the better! Many insurance companies have stipulations on their coverage, and often this includes a time limit for when you need to report the accident. The industry average is one year. You have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. Talking to a lawyer right away ensures you have as much time as possible to enforce your rights.
At Elia & Ponto PLLC, our team of highly-trained, highly-experienced boat accident attorneys will review your case and guide you through the possibilities and how we might be able to assist you in recovering costs. Don’t wait – schedule a consultation today.