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What happens if you are injured on a friend’s boat?

Summer is rapidly approaching and it’s only a matter of time before the New York waterways are filled with sailboats, personal water crafts and motorboats. There’s something for everyone on the lakes and ocean around our state; whether it be a fishing trip, enjoying a casual ride or getting highspeed thrills on the water. Stay safe, though, boating can be a dangerous hobby.

A tragic boating accident has already struck this season. In Lancaster, New York, a local man’s boat crashed on Lake Erie. Eric Przykuta, seventh grade science teacher and lacrosse coach, was on a fishing trip with two other men when their boat collided with a break wall. The passengers managed to climb the break wall and call for help. Przykuta did not survive the crash.

It’s times like this that you may wonder what would happen if you were in a boating accident while on a friend’s boat. Your medical bills could be overwhelming. The trauma of the event may be overpowering. This is a time when a personal injury attorney can give you the counsel you need.


Much like car accidents, if a boating accident occurs due to negligence, you may be owed compensation for things like injuries, lost wages or rehab. Boats operate very differently than automobiles though, and the accidents they’re involved in differ greatly from ones you see on motorways. These are a few of the most common boating accidents, and how they may be caused by operator negligence:

  • Boat collisions: If you were in a boat-to-boat collision as a passenger, your rights are fairly similar to being in a car accident as a passenger. Which operator is at fault will be a factor, but you will most likely be owed compensation from both boat operators.
  • Wake accidents: A key difference between boats and automobiles is that boats can produce massive wakes that can have a very real impact on other operators. As a passenger, a wake could cause you to take a bad fall, cause the driver to lose control, or even throw you clear overboard.
  • Visible and sunken objects: Like the accident in Lancaster, striking an object above or below the water can have devastating results. Your chances of compensation are often situational. For example, if the operator strikes a rock while coasting through a no-wake zone, it is unlikely. A high-speed collision at night may be a different story.

These are only examples; and your individual situation will come with variables. Speaking to a personal injury attorney is your best chance to determine if you may be eligible to receive damages to help cover your medical bills and other expenses after an accident.

You are not taking your friends and family to court

Even when someone is severely hurt, it is not uncommon for victims to not want to pursue a personal injury case in court when a friend or family member is involved. These can be tricky situations to navigate.

Keep in mind that you will most likely not be suing your friends and family, but rather their insurance company. In most cases, aside from a small bump to their premiums, your friends and family won’t have their finances put in jeopardy.

If you were the passenger in a boating accident and have suffered injury, keep in mind that your friends and loved ones want to see you recover. There is no shame in looking for proper compensation to get yourself back on your feet, and back on the water.

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