Boating is a popular activity in Maryland, with thousands of people taking to the state’s waterways each year to fish, swim, and enjoy the scenic views. However, boating accidents can and do occur, often resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. If you’ve been involved in a boating accident in Maryland, it’s important to understand the common defense strategies that may be used against you in a potential lawsuit.
One of the most common defense strategies in Maryland boating accident cases is comparative negligence. This means that the defendant (the person or entity being sued) will argue that you were also at fault for the accident and that your actions contributed to your injuries. For example, the defendant may argue that you were not wearing a life jacket or that you were operating your vessel recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under Maryland’s contributory negligence rule, if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation.
Assumption of Risk
Another common defense strategy is the assumption of risk. This means that the defendant will argue that you knew or should have known that boating carries inherent risks and that by choosing to participate in this activity, you assumed those risks. The defendant may argue that you were aware of the weather conditions or the potential for other boats to be in the area, but chose to go out on the water anyway. While the assumption of risk may limit the defendant’s liability, it is not a complete defense to a claim for damages.
Lack of Causation
A third defense strategy in Maryland boating accident cases is lack of causation. This means that the defendant will argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident, but rather by some other factor. For example, the defendant may argue that you had a pre-existing medical condition or that your injuries were caused by a subsequent event, such as a slip and fall on the dock. To successfully defend against this strategy, you will need to provide medical evidence and other documentation to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the boating accident.
Statute of Limitations
The defendant may argue that your claim is barred by the statute of limitations. In Maryland, you generally have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file within this time period, your claim may be barred and you may be unable to recover any compensation. It’s important to act quickly after a boating accident and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.
The Boating Law
The boating law, known as the Maryland Boat Act, provides a set of regulations and requirements that all boaters must follow while operating their vessels on Maryland waters. The defendant may argue that they were in compliance with the law at the time of the accident and therefore should not be held liable. However, if the defendant violated any of the provisions of the Boat Act, such as failing to maintain proper lookout or operating their vessel at an unsafe speed, then they may still be held liable for your injuries.
In some cases, a boating accident may be caused by a defect or malfunction in the vessel or one of its components, such as the engine or steering mechanism. If this is the case, you may be able to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the defective product. The defendant may argue that the accident was not caused by a defect, but rather by your own negligence or misuse of the vessel. To successfully pursue a product liability claim, you will need to provide evidence that the defect was the cause of the accident.
The Maryland Boat Act requires that all boaters complete a boater education course before operating a vessel on state waters. The defendant may argue that they were not aware of the rules and regulations governing boating in Maryland and therefore should not be held liable for any violations. However, ignorance of the law is not a defense and all boaters are responsible for knowing and following the rules.
Understanding the common defense strategies in Maryland boating accident cases can help you prepare a strong case and obtain fair compensation for your injuries and other damages. By working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can navigate the legal process and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Remember to act quickly after a boating accident, as the statute of limitations may limit your ability to pursue a claim.
Alpert Schreyer, LLC is a personal injury law firm with extensive experience representing clients in boating accident cases in Maryland. Our team of attorneys understands the common defense strategies used by defendants in these cases and can develop effective strategies to counter them.
We begin by conducting a thorough investigation of the accident to determine the cause and identify all responsible parties. We work with experts in boating safety, accident reconstruction, and other relevant fields to gather evidence and build a strong case on your behalf.
Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and are often able to reach a fair settlement with the defendant or their insurance company. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to trial and fight for your rights in court.
At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, we believe that every client deserves personalized attention and aggressive representation. We work closely with you throughout the legal process, keeping you informed of your options and advocating for your best interests at every stage.
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident in Maryland, don’t hesitate to contact Alpert Schreyer, LLC for a free consultation. We can help you understand your legal options and develop a strategy to pursue the compensation you deserve.