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New York City is surrounded by water, and there are many opportunities for recreational boating, from canoeing, kayaking and paddle boating to sailboats, motorboats and small personal watercraft such as jet skis. These exciting activities are not without risk, however. Last year several people were killed and dozens more injured in Long Island Sound and the various harbors, bays, rivers, creeks and channels of New York City, Nassau and Westchester County. As an experienced new york boating accident lawyer, Leandros Vrionedes understands what it takes to recover compensation when injured in a boating accident caused by another person’s negligent or reckless behavior.
Motorboats and personal watercraft have powerful engines just like motor vehicles on the road, yet boat operators are not subject to licensing, regulation and rules of the road like car drivers and motorcyclists are. While there may not be required training before operating a boat or jet ski, operating one without the necessary level of knowledge and skill to do so safely can result in liability for negligence when another is injured in a boating accident. Swimmers and users of light watercraft are especially vulnerable to traumatic brain or spinal injury or wrongful death from the operator of a power boat or jet ski who is negligent, reckless, or simply overmatched for the equipment he or she is using.
It is not only a negligent or reckless operator of a boat who may be liable for causing an accident. In some situations, the owner of the craft may bear legal responsibility as well. This may be the situation when the operator of the boat is an employee of the owner, or even if the owner simply allows a person to drive the craft who is incapable of operating it safely. Owners of tour boats or other vessels have a duty to train and supervise their employees and make sure their craft is equipped with the proper safety equipment, and they can be held liable for injuries caused when they breach these duties.
A defect in the design or manufacture of the craft may also play a role in a serious accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the accident thoroughly and look for signs of defects that could have caused or contributed to the accident, including watercraft that are missing required warnings, instructions and safety equipment.
A common tactic of the insurance defense lawyers in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is to claim that the injured plaintiff was also negligent and partly to blame for causing the accident. This defense is often raised in collisions involving recreational watercraft, but it is important to distinguish between a boating enthusiast having fun and being reckless. We fight to make sure blame for the accident is placed where it belongs and that the injured plaintiff is not unfairly saddled with legal responsibility. Regardless, it is important to remember that a plaintiff’s own comparative negligence will not prohibit the plaintiff from recovering compensation from a negligent defendant; it will only proportionately reduce the amount of any financial award that is deserved.
If you have been injured in a boating accident in or around New York City, Nassau or Westchester County, contact the new york boat accident lawyer of Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation regarding your right to financial recovery from the party responsible for causing your injuries.