With thousands of miles of shoreline, Maryland offers fantastic boating opportunities for beginners and experts alike. Drawn by the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and other scenic areas, thousands of boating fans flock to Maryland’s waters every summer. Unfortunately, serious accidents can occur when boat safety is overlooked. For example, inexperienced, unlicensed, or intoxicated boaters can cause deadly collisions with objects or other ships. Boating injuries or fatalities can also be caused by fires, carbon monoxide leaks, falls overboard, or slip and fall accidents on the ship deck.
If you or one of your family members was injured in a boating accident in Maryland, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal boating accident, the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can help you understand your legal options. If your injuries were caused by negligence, you may have a lawsuit against the boat operator or other parties, such as a company that manufactured faulty boat parts. Review your claim confidentially in a free legal consultation with Maryland boating injury lawyer Randolph Rice. Call (410) 694-7291, or contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online.
Boating Injury + Fatality Statistics
According to a report released by the U.S. Coast Guard, there were a total of 4,145 boating accidents nationwide during 2018. Together, these accidents were responsible for over 630 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in property damage.
More than 100 U.S. boat accidents took place in Maryland’s waters, where 122 crashes were reported during 2018. Tragically, more than a dozen of these accidents were fatal, resulting in a total of 16 deaths.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents in Maryland
The Coast Guard’s 2018 accident statistics also revealed some of the leading causes of boat injuries in Maryland. Common causes or contributing factors included:
- Collisions with recreational boats (24 reports)
- Waterskiing accidents (21)
- Drowning (15)
- Fires and explosions, including those involving and not involving fuel (14)
- Collisions with fixed objects (13)
- Falling overboard (11)
- Falling while onboard (10)
Collectively, these and other types of boat accidents in Maryland led to a total of 85 injuries and 16 fatalities in 2018. The report also highlighted alcohol use as a significant “contributing factor” in Maryland boat crashes, playing a role in 10 accidents, five deaths, and five injuries during 2018.
Types of Boat Injury Claims Our Maryland Attorneys Handle
Thanks to the Coast Guard’s detailed data, it is possible to see exactly which types of injuries are most likely to result from a boat crash. According to the 2018 report, these were the injuries and medical conditions most commonly reported from boat accidents that year:
- Lacerations or cuts (571 reports)
- Broken bones (463)
- Bruises and scrapes (333)
- Concussions, which are a form of traumatic brain injury or TBI (243)
- Combined “other” and “unknown” injuries (244)
- Hypothermia (191)
- Sprain and strains, which are common soft tissue injuries (126)
- Internal injuries to organs (123)
- Burn injuries (83)
- Dislocated joints and related injuries (52)
- Spinal cord injury or SCI, which can cause paralysis (40)
- Amputation injuries, like the loss of an arm (25)
- Shock (9)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning (8)
Though listed as a potential cause of injury, zero injuries were attributed to electric shocks.
Maryland Boating Laws + Requirements
State laws require anyone “born on or after July 1, 1972” to “carry a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved certificate of boating safety education” while boating anywhere on state waters, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Maryland law also requires all children under the age of four to wear a life vest, which must generally “include an inflatable headrest, web handle and crotch strap” as part of the design. Children who are age 12 or younger are also required to wear life jackets when riding any type of recreational boat that is less than 21 feet long.
Who is Liable for a Boat Collision in Maryland?
Just as drivers are expected to operate their vehicles safely on land, boaters are expected to operate their vessels safely in water. If a boat operator was drunk, was under the influence of drugs, was distracted by an app or text message, was operating without a license, exceeded the speed limits, made navigational errors, or made dangerous, reckless maneuvers of any kind, he or she may be held liable for resulting injuries, deaths, and/or property damage. Put simply, boaters are responsible for accidents caused by their negligence or carelessness.
Unfortunately, determining fault and liability is rarely as simple as it seems. Complex factors like boat dynamics, distance, and speed must be calculated to rewind the accident and reveal what happened. Depending on what sorts of vessels were involved, federal maritime laws may also come into play. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced boat accident attorney, like Randolph Rice, to ensure that your rights are protected.
Maryland Boating Accident Attorney for Sailing + Waterskiing Injuries
If you suffered any type of injury in a boat crash, such as a bone fracture, head injury, or back injury, the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can provide the guidance and help you need. With years of experience representing the victims of negligence in Maryland, boat injury lawyer Randolph Rice is a seasoned and effective advocate for justice. If your injuries were caused by somebody else’s careless actions, Randolph Rice will fight to uncover the truth and obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free legal consultation, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online, or call 24/7 at (410) 694-7291.