Recreational boating is a common activity in Minnesota, and the popularity of the pastime increases the risk for accident or injury. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there were 66 non-fatal boating accidents and 14 boating fatalities in 2018 alone.

The Minneapolis boat accident attorneys at Hall Law, P.A. can help if you or a loved one has suffered from a boating accident due to the actions of a negligent individual or manufacturer defect. Our Minnesota personal injury attorneys have extensive experience working with boating accident cases, and we are dedicated to making sure you receive the compensation necessary to help you recover.

What are Common Causes of Boat Accidents & Injuries Suffered?

In recent years there has been a rise in boating accident injuries and deaths. According to the United States Coast Guard, in 2017 there were as many as 4,500 accidents and 700 deaths due to recreational boating accidents in the US. Many of the serious injuries involve people going overboard or being struck by a propeller. The most common boat accident injuries include:

Three of the top contributing factors for accidents like these are operator inexperience, operator inattention, and machine failure. It has been found that 77% of all deaths that have occurred in boating accidents involve an operator with no safety instruction.

In addition to these factors, alcohol is often a contributing factor and has been found to increase the risk of a fatal accident occurring.

How Much Time Do I Have to File an Injury Claim from a Boat Accident in Minnesota?

Minnesota law imposes strict deadlines on when a claim must be initiated. Which deadlines apply to a boat accident depend on the specific facts of the case.  Deadlines can range from 240 days on the shorter end to six years or more on the longer end. Importantly, claims that are not initiated in a timely manner can be permanently barred.  Accordingly, it is usually in your best interests to begin the claims process relatively soon after a boat accident. That does not mean that you should resolve your claim quickly, but there are limited exceptions to the statute of limitations. If you miss this deadline, your case will likely be dismissed by the court, and you will be barred from recovering compensation.

Minneapolis boating accident attorney

What Damages Can I Recover After a Boat Accident?

Damages is a legal term that describes the different types of compensation available to boat accident victims in an injury settlement or court award. The purpose of a damages award is to reimburse you for your losses. For example, those types of compensation might include the following.

Economic Damages

Reimbursement for actual financial losses, such as:

  • Medical Expense: Any current and future care, including emergency visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, outpatient procedures, prescription medications, in-home medical care, etc.
  • Property repair or replacement if your boat or personal belongings were damaged in the accident.
  • Lost wages from missing work while you recover.
  • Diminished earning capacity if you can no longer earn wages at the same level as before the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for personal losses that are subjective—for instance:

  • Pain and suffering for the physical pain you have had to endure.
  • Emotional distress if the boat accident caused you to suffer from a psychological condition (e.g., depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, etc.).
  • Loss of enjoyment of life if you can no longer participate in the things you enjoyed before the boat accident.
  • Loss of consortium if your spouse suffered a loss of companionship, affection, love, services, sexual relations, etc., due to your injuries.
  • Physical impairment (e.g., disability, loss of a limb, disfigurement)

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are rarely awarded and reserved for boat accident cases involving defendants (at-fault parties) who acted intentionally or with an extreme disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are a form of punishment to deter similar harmful acts by others in the future.

Can I Be Partially Responsible for a Boat Accident in Minnesota?

Victims can be partially responsible for their injuries if there is evidence that they contributed to their boat accident. As a result, the defendant will likely argue that your negligence contributed to your injuries to avoid or minimize their liability. Minnesota follows a modified comparative negligence system. Under this law, each party to a claim is assigned a percentage of fault, reducing their compensation accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 20 percent to blame, you will receive 80 percent of your award or $80,000. You can recover compensation as long as you are found 50 percent or less at fault. Anything over 50%, then you will not receive damages.

Contact Our Minneapolis Boat Accident Attorneys

If you have been in a boat accident involving a negligent operator or machine failure, contact Hall Law today. You and your loved ones should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes.

Our Minneapolis boat accident attorneys have over thirty-five years of experience and have successfully represented numerous clients in boat accident cases.

Boat Accident Reference Materials