Boat accidents in and around Toledo, Ohio, often result in serious injuries. Whether you were onboard for work or pleasure, if you are hurt, it’s important to understand Maritime law and explore all your options to recover compensation. Call KNR for a Free Consultation
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Boat Accidents in Toledo
Transporting goods and passengers along Ohio’s waterways has been important for our state’s economy for generations. However, a boat accident can cause serious injuries to numerous people. These vehicles often travel at high rates of speed, and victims face the risk of drowning in the aftermath of a collision. Further, it can be difficult to quickly get someone emergency medical help after a boating accident.
Do not wait to contact an experienced lawyer if you or a loved one have been hurt on a boat. Our Toledo boating accident lawyers understand the unique challenges of recovering compensation after an accident on the water. Call KNR today at (419) 324-8205 for a free, no-risk consultation.
How Boat Accidents Happen
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) reports that there are over 460,000 boats registered in our state. Approximately 14,000 are registered in Lucas County alone.
These vessels travel on Lake Erie and along the Maumee and Portage rivers. State officials estimate that about 113 boat accidents in 2016 resulted in 54 injuries. However, these official boat accident statistics can be misleading.
Incidents on the water, even if there are serious injuries that may require extended medical attention, are often not reported to the Ohio State Police, the ODNR, or local sheriff’s departments. Those on a boat can be caught off guard by a reckless driver or by hazardous objects or debris that was carelessly left in their path.
Boat accidents in the Toledo area happen at:
- On piers or marinas – Recently, a boat carrying six people crashed into Anchor Pointe Marina in Ottawa County. Even though the boat was not traveling at a high rate of speed, one victim was rushed to St Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon with serious injuries.
- On Lake Erie – Two jet skis collided into each other near Jerusalem township in Lucas County in July of 2018. One of the victims received emergency medical attention but died as a result of their injuries.
- On rivers with poor visibility – A 17-foot boat carrying numerous passengers along the Ottawa River after dark recently crashed into a small dock that the driver could not see. One person was immediately killed and several others were rushed to Toledo hospitals with serious injuries.
The Causes of Toledo Boat Accidents
Boat accidents happen in almost countless different scenarios. The captain of a large cargo ship can have years of training and still cause serious damage when being negligent on the job. Conversely, you can be completely responsible as you operate a small leisure craft and suddenly be in an accident caused by a defect in your boat.
It’s important for your lawyer to investigate and determine the exact cause of your accident. There may be more than one party who holds responsibility for paying you compensation. Our legal team has years of experience investigating boat accidents.
Some causes of boat accidents include:
- Reckless driving – Many people feel less pressure to act responsibly as they operate a boat. This is very dangerous, and boats that are speeding or swerving on the water often cause terrible accidents.
- Intoxicated drivers – People often consume alcohol when on the water or boating for recreation. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol can fail to avoid hazards, and many boat wrecks are caused by drunk drivers every year.
- Distracted drivers – There are many things that can capture your attention when out on a lake or river. A boat can travel hundreds of feet in the seconds that a driver takes their eyes and attention off of the path ahead.
- Dangerous hazards – Maintenance crews, people on the water for pleasure, or other third parties may leave debris in your path carelessly. Objects in the water can be difficult to see, and they can cause a lot of damage when hit by a boat.
- Improper training – People must know how to drive their boats as well as understand how to operate add-ons and other work or recreational equipment. A driver or boat owner can hold the responsibility if an accident happens due to their failure to make sure their boat is operated safely.
- Defective parts – Boats, jet skis, and other watercraft have many parts crucial for operation and safety. If one of these parts fails, you and others can be in danger of an accident that results in catastrophic harm or even death.
Boat Accident Injuries & Medical Care
Boating accidents frequently leave people with terrible and long-lasting injuries. Due to the danger of drowning in the event of a capsize, people are not strapped into a seatbelt when traveling on a boat. Many victims are terribly injured or killed when they are struck by a boat as they swim or wade in the water.
Do not take any boating injuries lightly. Your physical damage can get much worse over the days and weeks that follow if you do not get appropriate medical help. Even if you can walk away from your accident, it’s important to seek medical attention without delay.
Our Toledo boat accident lawyers understand how important it is for us to determine the extent of your injuries. This will allow for us to illustrate how the accident you sustained has impacted your life, and how it will continue to affect you in the future. It would be impossible to recover sufficient financial damages without doing this.
Injuries typically sustained in a boat accident include:
- Brain injuries and spinal cord damage
- Head and neck injuries
- Laceration and puncture wounds
- Organ damage or loss
- Broken and fractured bones
- Damaged and dislocated joints
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Recovering Compensation for a Toledo Boat Accident
Those injured in a Toledo boating accident often endure serious injuries that require hospitalization, surgeries, and physical therapy. If another party caused your accident and boat-related injuries, you shouldn’t bear the financial burden.
After a boat accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your:
- Medical expenses (current & future)
- Lost income (Time off work & diminished capacity)
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (The negative effect your injuries had on your relationship)
What to Do After a Boat Accident?
Boat wrecks are generally chaotic, and numerous people can be hurt. It’s important to get to safety as soon as possible because the threat of drowning is very real when it comes to accidents on the water.
The scene of your accident can be very dangerous in the immediate aftermath. Getting yourself and your passengers to a safe place if possible is very important.
Afterward, we encourage you to do the following:
- Call for emergency help – This can take a while since many boat accidents are far from towns or roadways.
- Speak with first responders and authorities – Be sure to inform police or other state officials on the scene about the events as you remember them. Your lawyer can help you follow up with law enforcement.
- Contact a boat accident lawyer – You cannot delay in calling for skilled legal counsel after being hurt in an accident.
- Take your medical treatment seriously – Do not put off seeing the doctor and subsequent medical treatment. Following through with your doctor will strengthen your case for damages.
Toledo Maritime Accidents
Thousands of people make their livings on watercraft that navigates the Toledo rivers. Offshore injuries strike workers regularly throughout northwest Ohio and the United States. It’s understandable for anyone to be confused about what they must do if they are hurt in a maritime accident because the process can be very complicated.
Federal laws apply to many instances of maritime injury, but it’s possible that your case will also be subject to Ohio jurisdiction. It’s important to have skilled legal counsel helping you and your family through the complex legal process that follows a maritime injury.
Maritime & Offshore Injury Laws
Unlike other Ohio workers, a maritime worker is generally prohibited from recovering workers’ compensation when they are hurt on the job. The federal Jones Act is meant to give these workers financial support in the event of a work injury.
The Jones Act applies to all crew workers, referred to as seamen, who spend at least 30% of their time working on a vessel. Furthermore, it applies to all vessels “in navigation”. This means that the vessel is afloat, in operation, capable of moving, and on navigable waters. The Jones Act requires employers to use ordinary care under the circumstances to keep the vessel in a reasonably safe condition for workers.
Unlike Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, the Jones Act requires for your lawyer to demonstrate fault by the other party in your case. It must be shown that the other party’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries. To establish your right to recover under this law, your lawyer must prove the following elements:
- You were employed on a vessel
- Your employer’s actions played a part in the accident which caused you harm
- The extent of your harm can be demonstrated by accident reports, medical bills, etc
Toledo Maritime Accidents: Common Causes
Passenger and cargo vessels are large vehicles that are very complex. There are almost countless ways an accident can be caused on these craft, and the consequences can be very serious for anyone on or near the ship.
The Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies reports that workers in maritime industries are over four times as likely to be injured on the job than the average for all workers in the United States. Data collected by the Ohio Department of Public Safety finds that hundreds of accident victims are seriously hurt or killed every year on our state’s waterways.
While many of these injured people are hurt while on the job, it can be difficult to obtain accurate statistics. Many cases go unreported, or workers hurt in Ohio may seek medical attention out of state.
Our Toledo maritime accident lawyers have represented many workers hurt on Ohio’s lakes and rivers. Your injury case is unique; you need a lawyer who understands how to investigate the cause of your accident.
Typical maritime accidents and injuries result from:
- Defective equipment – Your employer must make sure that the machines and equipment on your vessel are in working order. Failure to properly maintain a ship’s engine may have been the cause of a recent fire aboard a vessel docked at the Port of Toledo in Oregon.
- Improperly trained crew – A terrible accident can leave you seriously hurt if you or a coworker are not given sufficient training by your employer. Maritime workers can easily be injured or killed by the powerful machinery or in the event of falling overboard.
- Slip and falls – The walkways and deck of a ship must be free of hazardous obstacles or slick surfaces. Falls often cause extensive physical damage that can be long lasting or permanent.
- Falling objects – Ships often rock back and forth as they navigate turns winding waterways such as the Maumee River or experience rough water on Lake Erie. Dangerous and heavy objects must be properly secured or they can fall on someone causing serious physical harm.
- Poor electrical systems – Even smaller vessels often have significant amounts of wiring and electrical power. Damaged or out of date electrical systems must be addressed by a ship’s owner or else they can cause a worker to sustain an electric shock or fatal electrocution.
- Repetitive use – Offshore workers often have jobs that involve repeating the same movement over and over again. This can cause damage or inflammation to joints, nerves, or tendons.
- Assault – Many workplaces have incidents of assault that result in injuries being sustained by employees. You have the right to seek compensation from an employer who did not take reasonable steps to keep you safe from a violent act perpetrated by another.
Maritime Accident Injuries
An injury on the water can pose a risk of extensive physical damage or even death. Many people who are hurt in maritime accidents have a difficult time getting to emergency medical help, and this delay can make their injuries worse.
Your attorney must gain a full understanding of the harm that you have suffered in a work accident. This will allow for you to recover all of the compensation that you need in order to make a proper recovery.
Some injuries that affect offshore workers hurt on the job include:
- Head, neck, and back injuries – Workers aboard vessels traveling on the water are often struck by falling objects, or they suffer from a slip and fall. These injuries can have long-lasting effects, and they sometimes seem minor but only get worse over several days or weeks.
- Broken bones – A broken bone can cause extensive pain and greatly harm a person’s ability to perform routine physical actions. Offshore workers may have trouble getting medical attention quickly, and this can make the consequences of a broken bone much more severe.
- Respiratory illness – Both new and olders ships can have many toxic chemicals aboard. Unsafe exposure to these substances can cause painful and permanent damage to tissue in your respiratory system which may result in serious difficulty breathing.
- Burns – Fires are a constant threat to those who are traveling on the water. A fire can quickly get out of control, and your burns can threaten your life and pose a risk of serious illness.
- Amputations and lost limbs – An offshore accident can result in heavy or sharp objects slamming into your body. Many victims sustain crushed limbs or fingers resulting in extensive damage and the possibility of an amputation.
- Joint injuries – Your shoulders, knees, and hips can be seriously hurt if you slip and fall, or if you are struck by an object that is not securely stored aboard your ship. Joint injuries can be caused by many things such as broken bones or torn ligaments, and they may need a lot of time or even surgery in order to get better.
- Cuts and lacerations – Ships are full of dangerous objects that can cause serious cuts in the event of an accident or malfunction. You can lose a lot of blood, and punctures and lacerations can damage vital organs.
- Post-traumatic stress – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can cause debilitating psychological and emotional harm to an accident victim. Your PTSD must be addressed by professional therapists if you seek to get better before too long.
KNR Can Help After a Toledo Boat Accident
Don’t delay seeking legal help after you or a loved one are hurt in a boating accident. These cases are very complex, regardless if you were working in the maritime industry or hurt by reckless boat operator. However, KNR will investigate the events surrounding your accident, and maximize your financial recovery.
Contact one of our Toledo boating accident lawyers to begin seeking the compensation you deserve. Call KNR’s Toledo office at (419) 324-8205 for a free consultation.