Personal Injury Attorneys » Boating Accident Lawyers » When To Report A Boating Accident

Boating accidents can occur even when the operator is highly trained. Sadly, not unlike operating a car, no matter how carefully you drive or what your skill level behind the wheel may be, you cannot predict, nor can you control, how another driver may react to an unexpected event or merely have a moment of grievously bad judgment.

While there may be variations within individual states concerning reporting requirements, there are Federally-mandated guidelines in place for notifying the proper authorities of a boating accident. Boat operators (or owners if the operator is unavailable for any reason) are required by Federal law to report an accident if any of the following conditions apply:

  • If a death results from the accident
  • If an injury results which requires medical intervention beyond basic first aid
  • If a person disappears from the boat in such a manner that might reasonably result in death or injury
  • If the accident results in property damage to either the boat and/or other property which exceeds the amount of $2,000
  • If the accident results in a complete loss of the vessel itself

Additional requirements apply with regard to timeliness of reporting:

  • If the accident results in death, injury, or missing person(s), an accident report should be made within 48 hours
  • If the accident results in property damage only, regulations allow up to 10 days to file a report

It is crucial to bear in mind that failure to report an accident that meets any of the above criteria is a criminal offense. The report should be made to whatever local authority oversees boating. Depending on the circumstances, filing a report with the Coast Guard may also be necessary. Local authorities would be able to make that decision and advise accordingly.


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    Who is at fault?

    The first step in reporting a boating accident is determining who is legally responsible. This will determine liability for damages and, depending on the circumstances may also result in criminal and/or civil liability. It may be a good idea to consult an experienced attorney specializing in boating accidents. This would protect your legal rights, particularly if you are determined to be at fault. It is advisable to refrain from making any statements or signing any official documents pertaining to the accident until you have ensured your rights are protected.

    You will, of course, be required to provide such basic information as your name (if you were the operator of the boat), the boat identification, location of the accident, person(s) involved, damage to property, injury to person(s) (if any), and a description of how the accident occurred.

    Reporting a boating accident to your insurance company does not differ greatly from reporting a car accident. Once the basic reports are filed, simply call your agent and let them know what happened. They will have access to the reports on file and can get any further information required either directly from you, from the on-scene authorities, or (if you have consulted an attorney) from your legal representation.

    Exchange information

    Just as you would exchange insurance information at the scene of an auto accident, you should exchange the same information for a boating accident. But be sure also to get the other boat’s name and hull ID number in addition to the usual statistics. Property damage reporting is greatly simplified if you have filed a detailed inventory of any valuables on your boat with your insurance company. Also, getting contact information from any witnesses to the accident is a good idea. Photographic evidence is also helpful.

    Boating is a wonderful recreation. You can make it an exciting adventure or a serene and tranquil experience. Whatever you do, be sensible. Be considerate of other boaters, and follow the maritime laws. Carry a first aid kit. Be wary of “the other guy,” just as you do behind the wheel of a car. Be safe!

    Contact our experienced boating accident attorneys

    Our skilled boating accident attorneys can help if you’re hurt in a boating accident. We can help you understand Nevada’s boating laws and what you can do to claim fair compensation. Contact us today for a no-obligation, confidential consultation.

    Adam S. Kutner is a top 100 trial lawyer with 33 years’ experience and expertise that will benefit you

    Call us at (702) 382-0000 anytime to schedule a free consultation. We will work to get you the maximum settlement as quickly as possible so you can move forward on your healing journey.


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      Adam S. Kutner - Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer
      Adam S. Kutner

      With more than 33 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas Valley, attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.