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Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P.

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where wrongs are made right


Office Location

4701 S 19th St #300,
Tacoma, WA 98405

Tacoma Attorneys Seek Compensation for Recreational Boating Injuries

Making wrongs right when negligent boat operation causes harm

The natural beauty of Puget Sound entices recreational boaters from all over the world to visit. That makes for very busy waterways, and inevitable accidents when boat operators fail to exercise due care. Since 1959, personal injury attorneys at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. have asserted the rights of injured boat operators and their passengers to full compensation for their losses. From property loss to serious bodily harm to wrongful death, our concerned and capable trial lawyers fight to make wrongs right.

Washington boat operators must follow safety regulations

The state of Washington has numerous regulations governing:

  • Operator age and education
  • Safe navigation
  • Vessel length and capacity
  • Proper fueling
  • Properly securing a boat to a trailer
  • Boat launching
  • Required safety equipment
  • Pollution control
  • Recreational activities on the water
  • Rental vessel safety

When a boat or personal watercraft operator fails to adhere to these regulations, and that failure causes or worsens an accident, the operator will almost certainly be held liable for damages. Proprietors of boat rental companies can also be liable if they do not stock their vessels with proper safety equipment. Safety equipment companies may be held strictly liable for design defects and manufacturing defects that cause harm to boaters. Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. thoroughly investigates your boat accident to discover regulatory violations and firmly establish liability.

What are the major causes of recreational boating accidents in the United States?

The leading causes of boating accidents are remarkably similar to the causes of traffic accidents. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, the top five contributing factors in recreational boating accidents are:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use

Alcohol use is the leading contributory factor in fatal boat accidents. When wrongful death occurs through accidental drowning, the overwhelming majority of victims are determined not to have been wearing life jackets.

More stringent laws for boating under the influence in Washington

In 2013, Washington State toughened its laws for boating under the influence (BUI), making the violation a gross misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $5,000 and 364 days in jail. Testing for BUI is consistent with testing for DUI and includes alcohol and marijuana testing.

If you suspect that a boat operator’s alcohol or drug use played a role in your boating accident, make sure you express these concerns to the local sheriff when you report your accident. A positive chemical test for BUI can go a long way to establishing that operator’s liability for the accident.

Contact our Tacoma injury attorneys for your boating accident in Washington State

The seasoned trial attorneys at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. have the resources to successfully prosecute your boating accident case. If you or your loved one has been harmed in an accident in Puget Sound or the state’s coastal waters, we can evaluate your case free of charge. Call us at 253.250.4516 or contact our office online.