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Why Should I Hire A Maryland Boat Accident Attorney?

Posted on: May 22, 2014

Boating can be fun and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors, and because of its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is a great state for boaters. However, regardless of whether you have an open motorboat, personal watercraft (jet ski), cabin cruiser, or pontoon boat, accidents can and do happen. And when they happen, they can be dangerous. The Maryland Natural Resources Police reports that in 2013, there were 127 reportable boat accidents in Maryland. Sixty-five of these accidents resulted in injury, and 14 resulted in a fatality.

The causes of boat accidents are varied and can include:

  • Equipment failures;
  • Operator error;
  • Passenger error (for example, a water-skier);
  • Excessive wake;
  • Excessive speed; and
  • Weather.

Interestingly, weather is the least likely of the above to cause a boating accident. Alcohol, speeding, operator error, and passenger error are all more likely. The most common types of boating accidents are collisions and falls. For example, a passenger or operator can fall while skiing, fall overboard, or slip and fall inside the boat. Likewise, a boat can collide with another vessel or with a stationary object.

How Can a Maryland Boat Accident Attorney Help You?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Boat accidents are often caused by negligence (for example, the negligence of the operator or another boater), but proving negligence can be tricky. Boat accidents can be a complex area of personal injury law. They often require knowledge of not just Maryland negligence law, but knowledge of boating procedures and admiralty law as well.  A personal injury attorney will be able to recognize issues that are specific to boating accidents, such as:

1. Did the person who caused the accident violate a federal law such as one of the Coast Guard’sCollision Avoidance Regulations (commonly referred to as the COLREGS)?

Violation of a navigation or safety regulation can support a claim of negligence and help a plaintiff recover compensation for their damages.

2. Does maritime law apply to the boat accident?

Maritime law is a special body of federal law that is applicable to some boat accident cases. Determining whether admiralty law applies is an important issue, because admiralty law has some different rules than Maryland law. For example, admiralty law traditionally follows principles of comparative fault rather than contributory negligence. Typically, contributory negligence bars a plaintiff from recovering damages if they were at all negligent themselves. However, comparative fault allows a negligent plaintiff to recover some damages if another party was mostly at fault.

Admiralty law only applies to incidents that pose a hazard to maritime commerce. For example, in Matthews v. Howell (2000), one of four intoxicated friends that were crossing the Chesapeake Bay fell off the boat and drowned. Because the boat was adrift in the middle of a major shipping waterway, maritime law applied.

3. Was a Maryland state law, such as the Maryland Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) law, violated?

Intoxication is a major cause of boating accidents. Maryland treats boating while intoxicated similar to driving under the influence. And although a BWI is a criminal offense, evidence of intoxication can often be used to support a plaintiff’s claim negligence to recover personal injury damages.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

Brittany Peterson
Brittany Peterson
08:19 17 Nov 18
Had a very awesome experience fast settlements... Communication was a A+ ...Strongly recommend Mr.Katz. !!! Ms. Robin made me felt like family was always there when i needed her and when i had a question.
Yarnell Goodwin
Yarnell Goodwin
23:38 15 Nov 18
Got a little more settlement money than expected. Was provided great service and prompt responses. I greatly appreciate it!
Ashley Poole
Ashley Poole
01:05 08 Nov 18
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff are highly recommend. Customer Service was impeccable. Every phone call and email was responded to in a timely manner. Natalie Ulrich was very professional, helpful and thorough every step of the way, which resulted in a stress free experience. I will recommend this law firm to family and friends!
Tania Jefferson
Tania Jefferson
17:51 06 Nov 18
Customer service was A+. All questions were answered promptly and information was shared appropriately. Concerns were addressed and I was made aware of all updates on my case. I would whole heartedly recommend this firm.
edward Robinson
edward Robinson
03:00 06 Nov 18
I highly recommend Mr. Katz and his staff. They were friendly, compassionate and really showed they had their clients best interest at heart. There was never a time you called them they didn't respond or returned your calls and answer your questions.They took the worry, and stress and turn it into reassurance. They were diligent and just down right professional. My wife and I really thank God for allowing us to cross paths on a professional business experience. Ms. Rebecca Slatery is the most courteous, compassionate soul. We wish you all peace, love and blessings. Thank you for your service.
J JR
J JR
20:11 31 Oct 18
I decided to use this firm again for an accident I was involved in. As always they were professional and caring. Rebecca slattery was the paralegal assigned to my case and she was professional and kept me up to date with everything. I would recommend this firm to friends and family!
Cedric Jones
Cedric Jones
19:04 23 Oct 18
Erica Z is amazing with keeping you to date and staying communication with you during the entire process. Meghan Young was a wonderful lawyer made me feel extremely comfortable in the courtroom and she also fights for the best possible outcome for you..GREAT LAW FIRM
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
16:44 23 Oct 18
It was a great experience being taken care of by Rebecca Slattery and Meghan Young, they helped me resolve my case and were very courteous and professional. Highly recommend working with this law firm
Soun Gil
Soun Gil
21:35 17 Oct 18
Ms. Park helped me out through my whole accident process. She took her time with me and made sure I understood everything. I would recommend to her all of my friends if they were to get into any accident.
Yejin Chung
Yejin Chung
15:40 12 Oct 18
I highly recommend. My family’s experience with this office was great. Christina Franetovich was very helpful throughout the whole process, which made this experience less stressful. She responded to my questions immediately and made sure that I understood everything.
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
UniversalSniping
UniversalSniping
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
TheOfficalCeeandDee
TheOfficalCeeandDee
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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