Today, boating ranks as one of the most-lauded leisure activities in the United States and the world in general. With a ton of water sports activities, it is not much of a shocker that thousands of accidents are recorded every year.
In 2017 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard recorded a total of 4,291 boat crashes, which resulted in about 2,629 injuries and 658 deaths. The total amount of property damage recorded also capped an incredible amount of $46 million dollars.
Although these stats are down from what they were in 2016 and other years before, alcohol and lack of proper boating safety instructions still account for 19% and 81% of deaths respectively.
These are just two of many reasons why boating accidents need to be documented and reported to help stop the menace in our waterways. In fact, you could be held on a count of felony for refusing to report a boating accident in some states.
Another critical reason to collect boat crash evidence is insurance claim. You need all the evidence you can provide to win your personal injury suit.
If you were involved in a recent boat crash and confused as to how to go about collecting boat crash evidence, then you will find this article especially helpful as it outlines everything you need to know about collecting boat crash evidence.
1. Safety First
Although this may sound basic, it is essential to note that you should be totally out of harm’s way before kicking off the documentation process. After a boating accident, be sure to check whether or not you need medical attention immediately.
Should you be strong enough to pull through, it is also crucial to check if others are out of harm’s way before collecting evidence. Of course, evidence is important. And you do need as many as you can find. However, your safety and that of others boarding the boat and the colliding boat (if any) must always come first.
2. Visual Documentation is Your Best Bet
Your best shot at proving your case is well-documented evidence. While this cuts across everything from police report to properly filed medical records, visual representation also has a huge role to play.
Your first line of action, after confirming everyone is safe, should be taking a visual representation of the location, boats/vessels involves, number of passengers on board, number of casualties, possible causes, blood stains, etc.
You need a photograph or video of virtually all that happened at the scene. Do not leave anything out.
3. Look Out for Possible Causes
There are a ton of possible causes of a boat crash. After an accident, you should look out for some possible causes such as riding in shallow waters, precaution signs in the environment, and debris in the water.
Notwithstanding, it is advisable to refrain from making any hasty conclusion. Even if you think you know what the exact cause is, it is better to list all the evidence as assumptions and let the Coast Guard decide why it all went south.
4. Get Information from Witnesses
Testimonies from witnesses will go a long way to help boost your personal injury claim. This will help support your claim that you are not the cause of the injuries, as such, deserves to be compensated.
Upon confirming that everyone is out of harm’s way, your next line of action should be documenting details about the crash. And this extends to collecting information about other passengers in your boat and the colliding boat (if any) or any witness around the area of the accident.
Be sure to get important information such as their names, addresses, telephone numbers, and any other contact info. Also, you could take it a notch higher by getting the insurance company names and insurance policy numbers of passengers involved in the crash.
5. Remember the Boat Operators Too!
To further strengthen your claim, you need to have photographs of the boat you board, the other vessel it collided with (if any) and their operators’ details. You should endeavor to collect their contact info too – names, addresses, telephone numbers. Furthermore, make sure you get the registration or identification number of the two boats/vessels involved in the crash. The brand of the boats is just as useful too.
In some cases, you may be unable to document critical information right on the scene. However, that shouldn’t pose much of a hassle as you can always go back to get the necessary info.
Although it may not be as authentic as getting the info right on the spot, you do have a shot at getting necessary info by visiting the crash scene and recreating the incidence. This will not only help to jog your memory, but also help you discover things that slipped away on the day of the incident. Go prepared!
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