Due to the abundance of waterways, boating is a favorite past-time for many people living in and visiting Tennessee. However, it does not come without risks or the potential for accidents, which can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boat accident in Tennessee, taking the necessary steps to protect your rights and seek appropriate compensation is essential. An experienced boating accident lawyer can help guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries or loss.
Steps to Take After a Tennessee Boating Accident
Under Tennessee law, if you are involved in a boating accident, you must stop the vessel at the accident scene and help anyone injured. In addition, you should take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room even if you do not feel like you suffered serious injuries in the accident. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible after a boat accident is vital since some injuries, such as concussions or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent and can become more severe if left untreated. In addition, seeking medical attention right away can help document the extent of your injuries, which can be used as evidence in your case.
- Report the accident and contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The TWRA is responsible for enforcing boating laws and regulations on the state's waterways. If you are involved in a boating accident, it's important to contact the TWRA as soon as possible. Boating accidents must be reported within 48 hours if the accident resulted in death, disappearance, or injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid or if there is property damage of $2,000 or more. Failure to report the accident can result in fines. The TWRA will send an officer to the scene to investigate the accident and document any evidence that may be helpful in your boating accident lawsuit.
- Gather evidence from the accident scene. If you can, take photographs of the accident scene, including any damage to the boats involved. Taking pictures of your injuries is also a good idea since they can serve as important evidence in your case. In addition, try to obtain the contact information of any witnesses to the accident and other passengers and boat operators involved in the crash.
- Preserve valuable evidence. You want to keep any evidence that can be used for your case. Do not alter or dispose of any evidence related to the accident, including damaged boats, equipment, or clothing.
- Consult a boating accident lawyer. If you are hurt in a Tennessee boat accident, it is essential to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Even if the boat operator was a friend or relative, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A lawyer can help you understand the complex legal process and ensure your rights are protected.
Possible Damages and How a Lawyer Can Help
Being involved in a boating accident can be a traumatic experience, and hiring an experienced boating accident attorney who understands the boating laws and regulations in Tennessee is vital. An attorney can provide you with support and guidance throughout your case and will help build a strong claim by doing the following:
- Investigating the accident and gathering crucial evidence that can support your claim
- Identifying liable parties, such as the boat operator, boat owner, or manufacturer
- Preparing paperwork related to your case to ensure all necessary documents are filed correctly and on time.
- Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf to make sure you receive a fair settlement
- Representing you in court if your case does not settle with the insurance company
If you have been injured in a Tennessee boat accident, you may be entitled to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses. This can include the cost of any medical treatment you receive for your injuries and any future medical care you may need.
- Lost wages. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages if you cannot work due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering. This can include compensation for any physical pain and emotional suffering you experience as a result of your injuries.
- Property damage. If your personal property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for repairing or replacing it.