Wisconsin boat accident lawyers

What to Do When You’ve Been Injured in a Wisconsin Boating Accident

From Lake Superior to Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, our natural waterways are fitting symbols for one of Wisconsin’s favorite state pastimes – boating.

At GCW our boating accident attorneys have decades of experience handling these complex claims. We have helped clients who were in injured in boating accidents throughout Wisconsin recover compensation for their losses. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We understand the ins and outs of your local boating laws, the small details that can make or break a case and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Our Wisconsin boat accident lawyers represent clients throughout all of Wisconsin who have suffered personal injuries or lost loved ones in boating accidents and collisions. Many factors can contribute to a boating accident either on a privately owned vessel, a personal watercraft (jet ski) or even a ferry. Some of these factors include:

  • Driver error
  • Driver inexperience
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Equipment failure
  • Adverse weather and/or water conditions

Additionally, unlike a car accident, an accident on the water is coupled with the added risk of drowning. As a general rule of law a boat operator and its owner must exercise the highest degree of care to prevent injuries to those passengers in the boat or swimmers or others in the waters or boats around them. When an operator or owner fails to do so and someone suffers serious personal injuries, they may be able to file a lawsuit to hold wrongdoers accountable.

Contact one of our three Wisconsin-based law offices for a free consultation.

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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