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, LLP 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.
The state of Washington has numerous regulations governing:
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, LLP thoroughly investigates your boat accident to discover regulatory violations and firmly establish liability.
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:
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.
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.
The seasoned trial attorneys at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, LLP 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 253.383.5388 or contact our office online.
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