Nobody expects to get hurt in a Kentucky lake boating accident, but accidents happen with some frequency. Whether you own a boat in Kentucky or are visiting a Kentucky lake on vacation, it is important to understand the risks of boating and to take steps to prevent a serious accident and injuries.
If you do get hurt in a boating accident or if a loved one sustains fatal injuries, it is essential to start working with a Kentucky boating accident lawyer on your case as soon as possible.
You may be able to file a claim for compensation, but it is important to act quickly. An advocate at our firm is ready to discuss the details of your case with you. We have the Kentucky Courage you need on your side after a boat accident.
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, we have years of experience representing injury victims and their families in a wide variety of boat accident cases. We can begin working on your claim today.
How a Boating Accident Attorney Can Help You
When you are dealing with hospital bills and physical injuries from a boating accident on a Kentucky lake, it can be difficult to think about filing an insurance claim or seeking compensation through a lawsuit. But you do not have to go through this process alone.
An aggressive Kentucky lake boating accident can advocate for you and your rights at every step. There are a wide variety of ways that a boating accident attorney can help you.
The following are some of the most common things a Kentucky boat accident lawyer can do to assist with your case:
- Investigating the accident – The true cause of a boating accident is not always immediately apparent. Your attorney can work with experts to independently investigate the incident, figure out what really happened, and determine who was at fault.
- Filing an insurance claim – Your lawyer can help you with the arduous and detailed process of filing an insurance claim. Many people who get hurt in boating accidents begin the process of seeking compensation by filing a claim with the insurance company.
- Negotiating with the insurance company – After you have filed an insurance claim, the insurer might make a settlement offer that is not high enough to cover your losses. An experienced lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to seek a reasonable and fair settlement for your damages.
- Appealing denied benefits from an insurance company – If you have already filed an insurance claim and have been denied benefits by the insurer, your attorney can appeal that denial and can provide evidence to demonstrate that you should be entitled to compensation.
- Gathering evidence in your case – When you hire an experienced boating accident lawyer, you are working with an advocate who has experience gathering multiple types of information and evidence in boating accident injury claim. In gathering evidence for a boating accident case, your lawyer can obtain information from witnesses and can even work with an accident reconstruction expert to prove your version of events.
- Filing a boating accident lawsuit – If you cannot obtain fair compensation from the insurance company, the next step may involve filing a boating accident lawsuit. The process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Kentucky can be extremely complicated, but a dedicated lawyer can help from the very start—from filing your lawsuit to handling all aspects of the case from that point forward.
- Managing discovery in your boating accident lawsuit – From issuing interrogatories and requests for documents to interviewing witnesses and the defendant in depositions, your boating accident lawyer will handle every phase of the discovery process for your lawsuit.
- Negotiating a settlement with the defendant – In some boating accident cases, it may be possible to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the defendant. Your boating accident lawyer can try multiple strategies in settlement negotiations, which can continue up until a verdict is reached.
- Taking your case to a verdict – Whether it is a bench trial or a jury verdict, your boating accident attorney will see your lawsuit through to the end. We are prepared to take your case to court and to represent you up until a judge or jury decides on a verdict or a damages award in your case.
Compensation for Injuries in a Recreational Boating Accident
After a boating accident, you may be eligible to receive multiple forms of compensation. Most often, plaintiffs in a boating accident case will seek compensatory damages. These are damages that are aimed at compensating you for losses.
Compensatory damages take two forms: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate a boat accident victim for objective financial losses, like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are designed to compensate a boat accident victim for more subjective losses like pain and suffering.
Examples of compensatory damages include:
- Hospital bills
- Surgery costs
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Psychological trauma
Under Kentucky law, in some cases a plaintiff may be able to seek punitive damages, as well. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not aimed at providing a plaintiff with compensation. Rather, punitive damages—although they can be paid to the plaintiff—are aimed at punishing the defendant’s behavior.
The statute defines punitive damages as those “awarded against a person to punish and to discourage him and others from similar conduct in the future.” Punitive damages are awarded only in the most egregious cases.
Common Causes of Kentucky Lake Boating Accidents
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the following are some of the most common types of boating accidents:
- Boat capsizes and/or sinks
- Grounding of the boat
- Person falls overboard
- Person ejected from a boat
- Fire or explosion onboard the boat
- Accident involving water-skiing
- Collision with another vessel
- Collision with an object
- Striking an object that is submerged
- Person being struck by a vessel, propeller, or propulsion unit while in the water
- Exposure to carbon monoxide
- Interaction with marine life
What are some of the most common causes of these kinds of accidents?
The following are reasons that Kentucky lake boating accidents may occur:
- Operator inexperience
- Drunk boating or alcohol intoxication
- Defect in the vessel or one of its parts
- Negligent maintenance by a boat mechanic
- Inclement weather
- Natural hazards
If another party’s negligence caused your injuries, it is extremely important to work with a boating accident attorney in Kentucky to seek compensation for your losses.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Boating Accident
If you have been hurt in a boating accident, it is essential to take steps to preserve your right to seek compensation. The following are steps you should take after you have been injured:
- Seek medical attention. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after getting hurt in a boating accident. Even if you do not have immediately obvious symptoms of a serious injury, it is important to remember that some serious injuries can take hours — or even longer — for symptoms to appear. For example, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may not appear immediately. Or, for example, the signs of “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” might not appear until it is too late, according to WebMD. Failing to seek timely medical attention could result in the defendant arguing that you are partially to blame for the severity of your injuries.
- Photograph the scene of the accident. If you are able to do so, you should take pictures of the scene of the accident with your phone, including images of any property damage and injuries. You should take photos from a wide variety of perspectives, and from both long and short distances. It is important to capture the scene as best as you can so that your lawyer can use the photographs as evidence in your case. The pictures should also have a clear timestamp to show when they were taken. If you are using your smartphone to take pictures, there is likely a timestamp feature built in.
- Gather contact information for witnesses and anyone else involved in the accident. If you were involved in a collision with another boat, ensure that you obtain contact information and vessel information for the operator and passengers onboard the vessel.
- Get help from a Kentucky lake boating accident lawyer. After you have been injured, you should hire a lawyer to assist with your case. Your lawyer can help you negotiate the complex process of filing an insurance claim and related paperwork, and, if necessary, filing a boat accident lawsuit.
How Long Do You Have to File a Boat Accident Lawsuit in Kentucky?
Each state has a specific statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. Under Kentucky law (K.R.S. § 413.140), most boating accident lawsuits must be filed within one year from the date of the injury.
In other words, the clock on the statute of limitations begins ticking on the date of the accident, and the injured person has one year from that date to file a civil lawsuit. If the injured person does not file a lawsuit within that one-year period, then the claim will become a time-barred claim under Kentucky law. Once a claim is time-barred, the potential plaintiff is no longer eligible to file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
Only in very rare circumstances can an exception to the statute of limitations extend the deadline beyond one year from the date of the accident.
How Comparative Fault Can Impact Your Boat Accident Lawsuit
It is important to understand how comparative fault could impact your boat accident lawsuit. Comparative fault is a defense that is often raised by the defendant in a boating accident or other personal injury lawsuit to avoid being responsible for the full amount of the plaintiff’s damages.
In raising the issue of comparative fault, the defendant is arguing that the plaintiff is also partially to blame for the accident and injuries, and accordingly, the defendant should not be responsible for paying a full amount of compensation or damages awarded by the court.
Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state. Accordingly, under Kentucky’s comparative fault law (K.R.S. § 411.182), a plaintiff is still entitled to recover damages even if she or he is partially at fault — and regardless of the percentage of fault. Whether a boating accident plaintiff is 5 percent at fault or 95 percent at fault, the plaintiff can recover, but the damages award will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
Our Lawyers Serve Injured People Throughout Kentucky
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, our boat accident lawyers service residents and visitors throughout Kentucky.
There are a variety of recreational bodies of water in the state where boat accidents frequently happen, and we routinely represent clients who have been injured in these and other locations.
Examples of popular lakes and other recreational bodies of water in the state include:
- Kentucky Lake
- Lake Barkley
- Buckhorn Lake
- Lake Cumberland
- Laurel River Lake
- Barren River Lake
- Green River Lake
- Cave Run Lake
- Rough River Lake
- Dale Hollow Reservoir
- Yatesville Lake
- Nolin River Lake
- Herrington Lake
- Taylorsville Lake
- Cedar Creek Lake
- Fishtrap Lake
Talk to a Kentucky Boat Accident Lawyer Now
If you need assistance with a boating accident claim, an experienced and aggressive Kentucky boating accident attorney at our firm can help. We have years of experience serving clients in personal injury claims in Kentucky and can get started on your case today.
Contact Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer now to learn more about our services and how we can assist with your boat accident claim.