Who Can I Sue for a Boating Accident in Massachusetts?

June 15, 2021

The open waters brushing against the coast of Massachusetts attract thousands of boaters with their unparalleled charm and the thrill they provide to the boating community. Growing steady over the past years, boaters have seen a huge spike in their numbers in the waters of Massachusetts.

As these boats flood the open waters, rivers, and lakes in the state, the instances and risks of boating crashes have also shot up dangerously. By one estimate, presented by the U.S. Coast Guard, around 4,500 accidents involving boats happen annually.

This is, of course, an average, the actual number for any given year can be higher than this.

The economic losses and injuries incurred by such events are severe, to say the least. Any victim, unlucky enough to get caught in such a mess, can face staggering physical, emotional, and financial pressures. However, you can, under certain circumstances, sue the liable party for damages and claim compensation for your economic and non-economic losses..

Let’s explore where the liability lies with such cases and why you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to get the matter sorted out.

Defining Recreational Boating

a boat near an island on massachusetts waters

To start, let’s first understand the subject of our discussion. The term “boating accident” is a bit misleading because our discussion encompasses all aquatic vehicles used for recreational boating and which are covered by boating laws, such as:

  • Sailboats
  • Yachts
  • Jet Skis
  • Pontoons
  • Kayaks
  • Inflatable boats
  • Canoes
  • Paddleboards
  • Cabin cruisers
  • Airboats

And so on…

If it floats and is officially recognized under the umbrella of recreational boating, feel free to add it to the list. People want thrill and excitement in their lives; most are driven by the summer heat to take out their boats and take it to the waves.

It is exhilarating, an experience like nothing else, but there are also risks involved.

Types Of Damages Sustained In Boating Accidents

Just one more stop before we go ahead and discuss liability; we first need to know what to sue for. The damages sustained in boating accidents, just like automobile accidents, are divided into two categories: economic losses and non-monetary damages.

The former is the total of all the medical bills, extra expenses, lost wages, loss of income (in the future), property damage, and all the elements that come under the financial umbrella. The non-economic losses, however, are those that are not represented on bills, instead, these are the pain and suffering you had to bear because of the said accident.

Types of recreational boating injuries, some of which can leave such deep-seated scars include:

  • Superficial head injuries, leading to traumatic brain injuries
  • Back injuries going deeper and becoming spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Limb, shoulder, wrist, elbow, knee, or rib injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Severe soft tissue injuries

The list does not end here…

A serious blow can not only leave someone in agonizing pain for several days but also scar them emotionally for the rest of their lives. Boating is a recreational activity, a “fun” experience, but when people begin associating it with such severe trauma, it suffices to say that they’ve faced mental anguish as well as physical trauma.

In case of permanent injuries, the injured person will also lose joy in life, i.e. by not being able to lift and play with their children, and so on. Wrongful deaths are also possible in such situations (fatal boating accidents) and if that does happen, then the survivors of the deceased will have the right to sue.

Contact a boat accident lawyer and pursue legal action as soon as possible.

Who Can You Sue For Your Damages?

To sue the liable party, you’ll first need to establish where the negligence lies. It may be one person, i.e. a negligent recreational boater who owns the boat that crashed into yours, or it could be multiple parties, i.e. the boat operator and the boat owner, etc.

To establish liability in your case, you’ll have to retrace your steps and understand how the accident happened and what was the most important factor in causing the accident.

If negligent boating comes on top, then the boat operator will be the one you sue. However, there can be tons of other reasons too, perhaps even a combination of reasons. For instance, poor maintenance could factor in, perhaps there was a manufacturing defect with the boat, maybe the said boat was overloaded and thus hard to steer.

And so on…

In such cases, you can sue the boat owner, the maintenance crew, manufacturer, captain/manager, and so on, based on how the accident happened.

Just a reminder though, not all recreational boating accidents have to be boat crashes.

For instance, if passengers on board a recreational craft throw someone into the water, without any buoyant object, knowing too well that the said person couldn’t swim, this can also quickly devolve into a serious incident.

>a massachusetts boat with different fish species

In short, any damages incurred upon an individual on boating trips can possibly fall under this umbrella, and knowing the causality of events will help guide you about who you should sue for the damages.

Seeking Compensation For Boating Accident Damages

Here’s a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to get compensated for such accidents:

  • Gather firsthand evidence at the accident site
  • Photograph and videotape the scene
  • Report the incident to the Coast Guard, they will create an accident report
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • Get a copy of the accident report
  • Keep track of your losses, i.e. medical expenses, extra expenses, lost wages, and so on
  • Journal your pain and suffering
  • Contact a personal injury attorney before you speak to the insurance company rep
  • Proceed with settlement negotiations
  • If negotiations break down or don’t bear fruit, file a boating accident lawsuit

Call Us Today To Seek Legal Consultation & Getting Compensated

Boat accidents can cause a financial hemorrhage which becomes even more distressful under the prevailing economic circumstances. There is no reason for you to delay talking to a boating accident attorney, in fact, the longer you put it off, the lower your chances will be of securing a fair payout.

While Massachusetts is, primarily, a no-fault state, the no-fault insurance laws are not strictly applied, in some cases, you can sue the liable party for your damages. If you think that your crash was severe enough, feel free to reach out to one of our lawyers to discuss your legal options.

Not only will our personal injury attorneys, at Michael Kelly, guide you about whether you can sue the responsible party or not but also help you create a solid case for your compensation demand. You can expect complete cooperation and support from our side, without any upfront payments.

We will only ask for our legal fees once you’ve won your claim and become financially stable enough to pay us for our services, this is our contingency fee plan.

Call us today to learn more about your options and how we can help you with them!

How can we help?

Fill out our contact form below for your free, no obligation case review.

Primary Contact Form

I would highly recommend Michael Kelly to anyone who is seeking a knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated lawyer.

Frensis P.

Michael D Kelly profile image


Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.