The vast majority of Maryland’s population lives within a short drive of the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and dozens of other major navigable waterways. Even residents of Garrett County are within a short drive of Deep Creek Lake, a major sport boating destination in the summer. This proximity to water means that Maryland residents are more likely, on average, than most Americans to own a boat or to have occasion to be on a boat.
With these statistics comes another sobering statistic. Each year in Maryland’s sovereign waterways, hundreds of people are seriously injured in boating accidents and dozens more are killed. In light of these realities, it may come as no surprise that Maryland courts, for the most part, treat boating accidents the same way they treat automobile accidents. And just like you would if you were injured in an automobile accident, if you are a victim of a boating accident, one of the first calls you should make after you seek medical treatment is one to a Maryland personal injury attorney.
Why are boating accidents so prevalent in Maryland? For starters, Maryland’s waterways are much more unpredictable than its roadways. The surface of the water is an ever-changing condition that can sometimes afford the boat operator less control than an automobile driver. Additionally, most waterways have very few rules as to the direction and speed of boat traffic. Sure there are no-wake zones and speed limits near high traffic or shallow areas, but there are no designated lanes of travel. This makes the actions of a neighboring boat operator much more difficult to predict. Finally, boating is a social activity that most often occurs in the summertime. This naturally makes people more inclined to consume alcohol and drugs for social purposes, which can impair a boat operator in much the same way it impairs an automobile driver. Despite the perception that alcohol, drugs, and boating go hand-in-hand, make no mistake that there are strict laws in place that mirror the DUI and DWI laws.
Some people are surprised to learn that the average injury in a boating accident can be more devastating than one in an automobile accident. Water has the unique properties of a liquid in that it can be displaced fairly easily at slow speeds. At high speeds, however, a person or object that comes in contact with a body of water will experience the same instant gravitational forces that one would expect if the surface was concrete. This being the case, many boating injuries are quite severe, and range from whiplash injuries to broken bones to concussions and everything in between.
Fortunately for Maryland boating injury victims, the mechanics of proving a personal injury suit resulting from a boating accident is much the same as proving the same for an automobile accident. As a result, a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney is more than likely going to know exactly how to proceed with your case and to recover the maximum monetary damages for your injuries.
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