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What to do After a Boating Accident in NY

By Dansker & Aspromonte

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Recreation on the water is fun, relaxing and entertaining, but when you are involved in an accident all those reasons go floating in the current. Property damage and personal injuries, or in a worst-case scenario where a victim goes under water, there are actions requiring immediate attention. You need to know what to do after a boating accident in NY.

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Property only damages require the operator to exchange information with others involved. If you cannot locate the other party involved in the accident, then you must report it to law enforcement immediately following the accident or as soon as physically able to. Failing to do this results in a violation leading to a fine of $100 to not more than $250.

An accident where personal injury happens, or if someone has disappeared under water, information must be exchanged between all parties involved. If others involved in the accident cannot be located or if exchanging information is not possible, law enforcement must be notified as soon as possible. Failing to report the accident with these provisions will be considered a violation of the law.

• First violation is a Class B misdemeanor with $250 to $500 consequences – A.K.A. Fines.• Within 5-years, any subsequent violations are a Class A misdemeanor imposing $500 – $1000 fines.

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Serious physical injury, disappearance into the water or death(s) resulting from accidents where a water recreational vessel operator fails to stop constitutes a Class E felony; this includes commercial vessels as well. If damages due to the accident are in excess of $1000, a report must be filed – in writing – with the State Parks within no more than 5-days of the accident. Violation is punishable by a $25 – $100 fine.

Providing Assistance – Good Samaritan Law

According to Section 41.3 of the Navigation Law:

It shall be the duty of every master or pilot of any vessel to render such assistance as he can possible give to any other vessel coming under his observation and being in distress on account of accident, collision or otherwise.

When you come across another in distress, law requires that you assist to the best of your abilities. However, under certain, specific conditions an operator is excused from this duty.If providing assistance:

• endangers your personal vessel• endangers any of your vessel’s passengers• more extensive or further damage will result in doing so• interferes with law enforcement or other rescue attempts

There are steps to take if you find yourself in a situation where there is a distressed operator/vessel, whether on shore or in a boat.Rescue Sequence

  1. REACH – If someone is in distress and close enough to the shore, attempt to convince them to swim to it. With that said, reaching for water vessel accident victims from shore is the safest rescue scenario – extend a pole, stick, oar, ladder or any other long object.
  2. THROW – Using this method, you throw a floating device they can use to stay above the waterline, or a line to pull the victim to safety without putting you endangering yourself or the need to go into the water.
  3. ROW – Using this method you approach the victim, who could be tired from the strains relating to the incident, with your boat and help them out of the water. Take caution they do not capsize your boat and cause you to fall into the water with them. Also, be conscious of your boat’s load limitations; you do not want to put yourself at risk.
  4. GO – The most dangerous method to your safety is the GO method, and should only be tried by trained lifesavers or in extreme peril. It involves you going into the water and interacting with a victim and should be avoided if possible. The victim could possibly grasp at you in a panic and pull you underneath the water with them. A life jacket or floatation device should be used in this effort at all cost, being sure to take a floatation device with you to provide to the victim once reached.

Lacerations, sprained knee and ankles, broken bones, head injuries and hypothermia are all common boating injuries. Any injury you incur when on a cruise ship or on – or from – a personal water vessel should be discussed with an experienced attorney who understands the law and what to do for you. Contact Dansker & Aspromonte LLP Associates today and let us tell you how we can get you the compensation you are entitled to.

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