Recreational boating activities are popular across the entire state of Mississippi—from the Mississippi Sound to the Pascagoula, Wolf and Pearl Rivers, and more. Some boaters, however, take their enjoyment too far and don’t respect the rights of others or share the same concern for safety. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Mississippi waters and feel the accident wasn’t your fault or was caused by the reckless or careless actions of another, you should know that you have legal options.
Taking legal action may allow you to receive compensation that can be used for your recovery and for continuing to provide for your loved ones. Additionally, filing a boating accident lawsuit sends a message that the guilty party can’t ignore. Boats—just like automobiles—must be used with care. Throughout Mississippi, Corban Gunn, Biloxi, MS boating injury lawyer, helps victims of boating accidents and their families recover from injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others on the water.
Mississippi Boating Laws
Under Mississippi law, all persons born after June 30,1980 must pass an approved boating education course in order to operate a vessel legally on Mississippi waters. Beyond this six-hour course, however, not much else is required in the way of training or licensing to operate a boat which may be just as powerful and dangerous as any automobile on the road. Even children under 12 years old can legally operate a boat in Mississippi if accompanied by a person over 21.
Mississippi’s Department of Marine Resources also encourages that boaters perform safety checks of their vessels and prepare for emergencies that may occur while on the open water. All the preparation in the world may not save a boater from being injured in an accident that was caused by negligence, however. This is the reason personal injury claims like boating accident lawsuits exist. They enable an injured victim to file a civil claim towards an individual who was careless or reckless.
Common Causes for Boating Accident Injuries in Mississippi
Several people die every year from boating accidents in Mississippi, and many more are seriously injured. On a nationwide level, the U.S. Coast Guard reported over 4,500 boating accidents involving 672 fatalities and 3,153 injuries for the year 2010. In most accidents that involve fatalities, the victims are not wearing life jackets.
Drowning is, of course, the most common cause of swimming or boating fatalities, but deaths also result from other causes such as hypothermia, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury. Survivors of a head, neck, or back injury may face permanent debilitating conditions that drastically change their lives. Other injuries typically involve fractures, lacerations, and concussions. Electrocution and carbon monoxide poisoning are other less well-known but typical injuries when a boat is defective or poorly maintained.
Examples of negligence or misconduct which can lead to a serious or fatal boating accident include:
- Operator is inexperienced or overmatched for the boat
- Inattention/distracted driving
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI/drunk boating)
- Failing to watch out for swimmers, water skiers, tubers, etc.
- Having too many people on board
- Lack of safety equipment on board
- Improperly maintained or defective boat
- Boating in an area that’s too shallow and/or dangerous yet isn’t marked as unsafe
In many of the above circumstances, another boater may be found negligent for causing injuries that result from an accident. In other circumstances, a boat manufacturer or professional who worked at the lake or body or water may be found liable. A skilled boating accident attorney will be able to investigate an accident and figure out who was liable and what compensation may be due.
Recover with an Experienced Mississippi Boating Injury Lawyer
Boating, fishing, water skiing, and jet skiing are supposed to be enjoyable activities. It can be difficult to cope when a fun activity turns tragic because of another’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Mississippi boating accident, contact Biloxi, MS boating injury lawyer Corban Gunn for help. From our office in Biloxi, we help people along the Gulf and across the state who have been injured in boating accidents caused by negligence.