In Oregon and Washington, the common law of negligence typically governs these boating accidents. If the accidents happen offshore, then federal maritime law might apply to those incidents. It’s important to understand these distinctions if you are going to be boating on a regular basis. Though no one expects to be injured while boating, it pays to be prepared for the possibility.
Understanding the Common Law of Negligence
For boating accident injuries that take place on rivers and lakes inside Washington and Oregon, the common law will determine who is liable for those injuries. Negligence law is the most important concept when it comes to personal injury cases. All people are required to act in a reasonable manner when they are boating, and if an accident is caused by a person’s inability to act reasonably, then that person will be liable for any injuries that result.
In some cases, multiple parties might be acting unreasonably, and in those instances, the two parties are both negligent. The courts would undertake the difficult task of determining how much fault each party had in the accident.
Maritime Law and Accidents Offshore
When an accident happens offshore of Oregon or Washington, federal maritime law generally provides guidance in determining just who is liable for those injuries. Under federal law, if a person wants to bring a personal injury action, he or she must prove that the other party caused the injury and that the other party was not acting as a reasonably prudent person would.
Other statutes apply in those boating accidents where a person is injured while working for a boating company. Maritime law is relatively complicated, and when a boating accident implicates anything other than general negligence theory, an individual would be wise to consult an attorney.
Who is liable for a boating accident injury? If there is another boat involved, the issue is resolved in a similar manner to a car accident. The party that failed to exercise reasonable care will be liable. If the accident occurs because of a manufacturing issue, then the boat manufacturer may be liable under products liability doctrine. Consulting an attorney is the best way to know which doctrine applies in your case.