When boaters fail to operate their vessels responsibly, they endanger innocent lives. In the case of negligence, the vessel owners, rental companies, and other boat pilots can be held responsible for the damage. More importantly, they can be held liable for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Steps to Take Immediately Following a Boating Accident

  1. Ensure Safety: Stop the boat, help the injured, and call for assistance.
  2. Report the Incident: According to federal law, you must report accidents resulting in injuries, fatalities, or over $2,000 in damages.
  3. Document the Scene: Take photos/videos of damage, injuries, and boat positions. Collect witness contact info.
  4. Don’t Admit Fault: Don’t make statements accepting responsibility until consulting a lawyer.
  5. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel okay in the moment, get evaluated for injuries anyway. Some injuries, such as TBIs or whiplash, may not be immediately apparent.

Following these crucial steps can help protect your rights and strengthen your claim for compensation.

Understanding Comparative Fault in Boating Accidents

In boating accident cases, fault isn’t always obvious. Multiple parties could share responsibility, like:

  • Other boat operators violating navigation rules
  • Boat owners failing to maintain vessels
  • Companies selling defective boating equipment
  • State/local agencies neglecting to mark hazards

Michigan follows a “pure comparative fault” system. This means you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault. However, your compensation could be reduced proportionately to your percentage of fault.

It’s crucial to have skilled legal representation to thoroughly investigate all possible sources of negligence and liability. An experienced boat accident attorney will also defend your position and work to minimize the percentage of fault attributed to you.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

  • Driver not paying attention
  • Driver inexperience in operation and safety procedures
  • Driver intoxication
  • Improper lookout
  • Equipment failure
  • Excessive speed
  • Failure to use life jackets
  • Swimmers struck by propellers
  • Overloading or overcrowded vessels

Wrongful death or injury as the result of a boating accident is inexcusable. Geoffrey Fieger and his team in Southfield, MI, have fought for boating accident victims and their families across the country—and they aren’t afraid to fight for you.

Common Injuries Suffered in Boating Accidents

Boating accidents often result in serious physical harm, because of the size and force of the vessels. Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones and crushing injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries from being struck
  • Spinal cord injuries potentially causing paralysis
  • Deep lacerations requiring stitches or amputation
  • Severe burns from fires or explosions
  • Near-drowning and oxygen deprivation injuries

Victims often face mounting medical bills, lost income, temporary or permanent disability, and immense pain and suffering. To be fully compensated for these past, current, and future losses, it’s critical to work with a top boating accident attorney.

Types of Vessels Involved in Boating Accidents

  • Open motorboats
  • Personal watercraft
  • Cabin motorboats
  • Kayaks
  • Canoes
  • Jet skis
  • Airboats
  • Inflatable boats

Don’t settle for empty apologies and inadequate settlements. Instead, let the team at Fieger Law fight hard for you. We’ll get the answers and results you need.


For over 70 years, the nationally-recognized injury lawyers at Fieger Law have fought and won judgments for our clients. If you or your family member suffered from a boating accident, Geoffrey Fieger and the expert attorneys at Fieger Law can help. We’ve won lawsuits against the best-equipped attorneys and insurance companies in the country. No matter who or what you’re facing, we can help you win. Contact us today to discuss your options.