Las Vegas Boat Accident Lawyer

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The United States Coast Guard (USCG) reports that there were 4,439 boat accidents involving 658 deaths and 2,641 injuries in a recent year, as well as $67.5 million in property damage. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Nevada was the most accident-prone state in the nation, with almost 130 boat crashes resulting in death, injury, or property damage per 100,000 registered boat owners each year, just ahead of Utah with 126 and Arizona with 104 crashes per 100,000 registrations.

Boat accidents are extremely confusing personal injury claims for people to handle because liability is not always clear, and there can be many other challenges for people in obtaining financial compensation for injuries.

A Las Vegas boat accident lawyer will be incredibly important to any person who suffers injuries in a boat accident because legal representation often helps individuals understand their rights and the proper steps to take in these cases. Never wait to reach out to Cloward Trial Lawyers for help.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents

The USCG states that when the cause of death is known, 81 percent of victims drown in boat accidents, and 83 percent of those victims were not wearing life jackets. Alcohol use is the lead known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, listed as a leading factor in 16 percent of cases.

Other common causes of boat accidents include:

  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure
  • Inclement weather
  • Navigational rules violations
  • Hazardous waters
  • The force of waves or wakes
  • Reckless actions by drivers or passengers
  • Equipment failure
  • Falls overboard
  • Sinkings
  • Fires
  • Breakdowns
  • Lack of proper safety gear

Boat Accident Injuries

A boat accident has the potential to cause very serious injuries in some cases, and people may face prolonged periods of hospitalization as well as several months or even years of rehabilitation. Among the most common injuries, boat accidents often have the potential to cause such injuries as:

  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Crush injuries
  • Closed head injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Leg injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Arm injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Permanent nerve injuries
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Wrongful death

Possible Boat Accident Locations Around Las Vegas

There are several areas in and around Las Vegas in which people may use recreational boats. Lake Mead is a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam located in Nevada and Arizona, and it is the largest reservoir in the US in terms of water capacity. You can find Incident Reports extracted from National Park Service (NPS) Morning Reports and Coalition Reports from 1989 to 2023 online.

Other common boating locations in the Las Vegas area may include:

  • Lake Tahoe
  • Lake Las Vegas
  • Wild Horse Reservoir
  • Pyramid Lake
  • Emerald Cove
  • Lake Lahontan
  • Eagle Valley Reservoir
  • Lake Mohave
  • Catnip Reservoir
  • Wilson Reservoir
  • Walker Lake
  • Overland Lake
  • Blue Lakes
  • Angel Lake
  • Ruby Lake
  • Schroeder Reservoir
  • Groves Lake
  • Washoe Lake
  • Angel Lake
  • Cave Lake State Park
  • Hobart Reservoir
  • Spooner Lake
  • Lahontan Reservoir
  • Squaw Creek Reservoir
  • Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge
  • Knott Creek Reservoir
  • Lamoille Lake
  • Black Canyon of the Colorado River
  • Topaz Lake
  • Lake Tahoe
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Possible Damages in a Boat Accident Case

If a person is involved in a boat accident, they can usually seek financial compensation, known as damages. Compensatory damages often involve both economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages relate to a person’s actual losses that can be proven and calculated. Examples often include:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Ambulance transportation costs
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Nursing care costs
  • Follow-up medical care costs
  • Property damage
  • Medication costs
  • Lost wages

Noneconomic damages will not be quantifiable. Some of the different kinds of these damages can include:

  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Mental trauma (depression, anxiety, flashbacks)
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Physical pain
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reputation and humiliation damages

A boat accident that causes a wrongful death can lead to such damages as:

  • reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • medical expenses resulting from a deceased person’s final injury
  • lost wages and benefits a deceased person would have been able to earn if they had lived
  • loss of companionship, comfort, care, and affection of the deceased person
  • survivors’ grief or sorrow
  • any pain, suffering, or disfigurement the deceased experienced before death

There may also be a case for punitive damages or exemplary damages, although these types of awards are much rarer. Punitive damages can be awarded in cases involving negligent parties engaging in oppression, fraud, or malice under NRS § 42.005.

Fraud is defined as the intentional misrepresentation, deception, or concealment of a material fact known to a person and made with the intent to deprive another of their rights or property or otherwise injure them. Malice is conduct intended to injure a person or despicable conduct that is engaged in with a conscious disregard for the rights or safety of others.

Oppression is despicable conduct subjecting a person to cruel and unjust hardship with conscious disregard for their rights. Conscious disregard means the knowledge of the probable harmful consequences of a wrongful act and a willful and deliberate failure to act to avoid those consequences.

Under NRS § 42.005, punitive damages may not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to a person if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more, or $300,000 when the amount of compensatory damages awarded to a person is less than $100,000. There will be no limit on punitive damages, however, when a driver is convicted of a DUI offense.

Contact Our Las Vegas Boat Accident Lawyers Today

Did you sustain serious injuries, or was your loved one killed in any kind of boat accident in the greater Las Vegas area? Make sure that you seek the help of Cloward Trial Lawyers because we have a record of success in handling these types of claims, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that you are able to recover every dollar of compensation you are entitled to.

Our firm will represent you on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not have to worry about paying us anything unless we win or settle your case. Call (702) 605-5000 or contact our Las Vegas boat accident attorneys online for a free consultation.

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Benjamin P. Cloward became the youngest lawyer in the history of the State of Nevada to be awarded the prestigious “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Nevada Justice Association.

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Benjamin P. Cloward

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Ian Estrada moved to Las Vegas in 2011 to work for a prestigious, local defense firm where he represented national insurance companies in personal injury lawsuits.

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Ian Estrada

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Landon Littlefield spent several years working as a complex commercial litigation attorney before finding his passion in personal injury.

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Landon D. Littlefield

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Riley Clayton has successfully tried numerous personal injury, wrongful death, and insurance bad faith cases to verdict.

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Dillon Coil focuses on serving injured workers, police officers, firefighters, laborers, and their families.

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Dillon Coil

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Answers to your most commonly asked questions

When car accident victims in Las Vegas sustain injuries, they are oftentimes unsure of where to go or what to do. One of the most important steps you can take following a car accident is to retain skilled legal representation as soon as possible.

At Cloward Trial Lawyers, we can address all of your legal questions and concerns and advocate for you every step of the way. What follows are the answers to some common questions that arise in the wake of a Las Vegas car crash.

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Boat accidents are often highly confusing situations for people to navigate. Some of the important steps people will want to be sure they take will include:

  • Seek medical attention — Any person involved in a boat accident should always make sure they get prompt medical treatment for their injuries. Even when a person does not think they were hurt, medical attention is still recommended because many injuries can involve delayed symptoms, and you will not want to wait to visit a doctor because insurance companies are very likely to challenge any injury claims when there is any kind of window of time between the date of an accident and medical attention. The bottom line is that you want to create a medical record as soon as possible after any boat accident.
  • Call the police — People should always contact law enforcement when there are any injuries, or there is extensive damage to a vessel.
  • Report the accident — The operator or owner of a vessel involved in an accident must file a Nevada Boating Accident and Casualty Report with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). When a person dies or disappears, an operator must notify NDOW immediately and report the accident in writing to NDOW within 48 hours. When a person loses consciousness, requires medical treatment, or is disabled for more than 24 hours, an operator must notify NDOW immediately and report the accident in writing to NDOW within 48 hours. When damage to a vessel or other property exceeds $2,000 or there is a total loss of a vessel, an operator must report the accident in writing to NDOW within ten days.
  • Get boater information — When a boat accident involves another vessel, a person will want to get the name, phone number, address, and insurance information of the other boater.
  • Preserve evidence — Always take photographs or video of boats and any other relevant circumstances relating to an accident, and try to get close-ups of damage. You should also photograph your injuries while they are at their worst.
  • Contact your own insurance company — You can report your accident to your own insurance company without too much concern, but you should probably wait to file a claim with another insurance company until you have legal representation.
  • Call a lawyer — People are going to need to retain legal counsel without delay after any boat accident. You will want to have a legal professional on your side who can help you explore your rights and ensure that a negligent party is held accountable.

Nevada state law makes it illegal for a person to engage in the negligent or reckless operation of a vessel, to operate in an exclusion area, overload a vessel, fail to use engine cut-off switches (ECOS), fail to maintain improper speeds or distances, operating in unsafe conditions, and failure to follow navigational rules. Nevada also prohibits people from operating vessels while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Every vessel must have a Type I, II, or III personal floatation device (PFD) onboard and readily accessible for every person on a vessel.

A negligence claim will often depend on the type of accident a person was involved in. A collision with another vessel will usually lead to a claim filed against another operator. When boats enter turbulent waters and cause passenger injuries, the operators may be liable. If boats strike rocks or other submerged objects, operators can again be liable. Failure to have proper safety equipment on board can also make an operator liable.

Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, includes the Jones Act, Death on the High Seas Act, Maintenance and Cure, and many others. It pertains to incidents occurring at sea or in navigable waters (“waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce” under Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 329.4). Maritime law usually applies when commercial accidents cause seaman injuries and/or damage to vessels and cargo, certain recreational boating accidents, instances of piracy and criminal activity on ocean vessels, injuries on jet skis or fishing boats, and insurance claims for ships or cargo.

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