boating accident lawyers madison wisconsin

Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Boating Accident?

Wisconsin is defined by its waterways. From Lakes Superior and Michigan to the Mississippi River, these incredible natural boundaries are fitting symbols for one of Wisconsin’s favorite collective pastimes – boating.

Like any activity out on the water, safety is a concern for Wisconsin’s boaters. Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources offers the following safety tips for Wisconsinites who are out boating:

  • Have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard and one approved throwable device for any boat 16 feet and longer.
  • Have a fire extinguisher.
  • Have operable boat lights. Always test boat lights before the boat leaves the dock and carry extra batteries.
  • Keep emergency supplies on board in a floating pouch: cell phone, maps, flares, and first aid kit.
  • Overloading a boat with gear or passengers will make the boat unstable and increase the risk of capsizing or swamping. Abide by the boat's capacity plate which is located near the boat operator's position.
  • Never allow passengers to ride on gunwales or seatbacks or outside of protective railings, including the front of a pontoon boat. A sudden turn, stop or start could cause a fall overboard.
  • After leaving the boat launch, maintain slow-no-wake speed for a safe and legal distance from the launch.

Despite these safeguards, even the most cautious of skippers face risks on the open water. Accidents do happen.

The team at Gingras, Cates & Wachs knows how to protect your personal interests if you are injured in a boating accident. If someone else’s carelessness caused you to be injured in a boating, jet-ski, or other watercraft accident, the boating accident attorneys at GCW are prepared to work hard to make sure you are adequately compensated for your injuries and losses, including: lost wages, medical expenses and pain and emotional suffering.

Our experienced boat accident lawyers in Madison understand the difficulties - you likely face lost wages, unmanageable medical bills, repair bills, and other out of pocket expenses, not to mention complex insurance claims. We can help sift through the legal complications and paperwork for you, to make sure you focus on coming back from your injury.

Boat Accident FAQ

I was involved in a boat accident, what should I do?

1) Your health is extremely important. If you have been injured or are in pain, go to a medical doctor, chiropractor, urgent care or ER asap. Do not delay in getting a proper diagnosis and obtaining medical treatment for your injuries.

2) Open a claim with your insurance carrier and the other driver’s insurance carrier. If the other driver’s insurance company calls, you are not obligated to give them a statement, so don't. If you have been injured, first seek the representation of an lawyer before providing a statement to the other person’s insurance company.

3) Finally, call Gingras, Cates & Wachs for a free, no risk case consultation.

Will the boat driver who caused my injury be punished?

A person who causes personal injury to another in a boating accident is typically not punished. This because personal injury cases are civil actions, which do not include jail time or criminal fines for defendants. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award what are called “punitive damages,” which are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public’s interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future. One of the most common situations where punitive damages may be available is when a person is injured in an accident involving a drunk driver.

When is a boat driver negligent for causing an accident?

A boat driver is negligent if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. We have represented thousands of individuals who have been injured in vehicle accidents, including boating accidents, due to the negligence of other drivers. If you have been injured by another’s negligence, contact our office for a free, no-hassle consultation.

If a person dies from injuries involving a boat accident, can the family bring a lawsuit?

When a person dies as a result of a boating accident, it is referred to as wrongful death. Spouses, parents, children, siblings, and grandparents may have a claim for wrongful death against the responsible parties. The relationship with the decedent will dictate the priority of the claim. The types of damages that can be sought depending on that relationship are: financial support that the survivor(s) would have received, value of household services that would have been provided by the decedent, loss of companionship, affection, love, care, comfort, society, loss of consortium (sexual relations) for the surviving spouse, funeral and burial expenses. Because the loss of a loved one can completely alter the life of the surviving family, it is important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to recover the just compensation you deserve. GCW has handled numerous wrongful death cases, including cases which involve boat accidents, in order to take away the burden on the rest of the family

Do I still have a claim if my health insurance paid my medical bills?

Absolutely. Most injured persons in a boating accident do not realize that they are entitled to the full value of their medical treatment—the actual cost of the treatment, not just their co-pay or deductible. Often times, insurance carriers attempt to reduce an injury victim’s damages by offering to just pay their ‘out of pocket’ expenses, which leaves the injured person less than whole.  While your health insurance carrier and/or medical payments coverage on your automobile policy have to pay for your medical expenses, they also have the right to be paid back.  This is generally referred to as subrogation.  That can be a difficult and tricky process which is usually best handled by attorneys like those at GCW.

Do I have the right to bring a lawsuit after a Wisconsin boat accident?

If you were injured in a boating accident that was caused by someone else and you are a legally competent adult, then you have the right to bring a lawsuit. However, it isn’t just injured adults who can bring lawsuits. There are other situations where you may be able to protect your loved one’s rights by filing a lawsuit on their behalf in a Wisconsin court. Specifically, you may be able to protect your loved one’s rights by filing a lawsuit if:

  • You are the parent or legal guardian of a child. If you have legal custody of a child under age 18, then you may be able to pursue a lawsuit on behalf of your child to get your child fair and just compensation for his or her injuries.
  • Your loved one died in the accident. If your spouse is tragically killed in an accident, then you have the right to bring a claim for the loss of your spouse.  In addition, unless a will or other legal document dictates otherwise, you can also bring a claim on behalf of your deceased spouse’s estate for funeral and burial expenses as well as for any conscious pain and suffering that they endured.  Juggling everything after someone has been killed can be overwhelming and the lawyers at GCW can help get you through the tough times.

If you were involved in a boating accident and believe you may have a case, contact GCW Lawyers today.

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