Missouri Boating Laws and Regulations
Operators of boats and other aquatic vessels carry similar responsibilities to drivers on land. However, the age to legally operate a motorboat or personal watercraft (PWC) is only 14 years with parental supervision, or 16 years without a parent in Missouri. In addition, boaters must have a boating safety identification card, or a Missouri-issued driver’s license.
In addition, boats must be clearly registered, labeled as such, and titled if they are over 12 feet long. Just as with driving cars, there are traffic regulations for boats concerning speed and consideration of other boaters. There are also some clear regulations concerning passenger safety, with all boats requiring the clear vessel capacity requirements. If the boat is over 16 feet in length, it must have a personal floating device for every passenger in tow.
Despite these regulations, lots of people still embark on unlawfully dangerous boating expeditions. This is clearly demonstrated by the boat accident rates in Missouri, both fatal and non-fatal. Since the Department of Public Safety and Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Boating Statistics & Drownings report states that most accidents happen on the weekends in May, June, and July, it is clear that the cause, more often than not, is simple oversight and neglect to follow state boating laws.
What to Do When a Boating Accident Happens
According to The Handbook of Missouri Boating Laws and Responsibilities, it is the “duty of any operator involved in a boating accident” to report when an accident happens. This is out of plain consideration and care for all passengers on the vessel. Operators of the vessel must report the following information about the accident within 5 days of it happening:
- His or her name and address
- The vessel registration number
- His or her driver’s license number
If this information is not communicated, the person navigating the boat may be liable for any damages, costs, and deaths related to the accident. The exception to the rule of reporting the accident within 5 days is if someone dies or disappears as a result of the accident, if a serious injury causes loss of consciousness or requires immediate medical treatment, or if the damage to the boat or other property exceeds $500.
While it is most important to stay calm, we can understand why being involved in any kind of accident could be nerve-wracking. After your accident is reported within the legal limits, you should call a boat accident lawyer in St. Louis to discuss the potential legal actions you could take. Start with a free consultation when you call Schultz & Myers, LLC today at 314-444-4444.
Potential Claims After a Boating Accident
When pursuing legal action, consider the statute of limitations for the boating accident claim you may have. Missouri is known for relatively lengthy statutes of limitations in civil claims, but that does not mean you should wait until the last minute to file your case. When it comes to seeking compensation for awards after an accident, it is always better to start building your claim sooner rather than later:
- Wrongful Death: 3 years
- Personal Injury Claims: 5 years
- Property Damage Claims: 5 years
Of course, the statute of limitations for your particular case could be different from the information listed above. It is always a good idea to contact a lawyer about your circumstances, so we can figure out a course of action for you.
Boating Accident Compensation
When you are involved in a boating accident, the damages can encompass a wide range. The compensation you seek in a civil claim, like a personal injury case, will depend on your costs for medical treatment after the accident. You may seek compensation for any of the following injury-related costs:
- Medical bills: Hospital bills, follow-up treatment costs, and prescription medications can all potentially be covered by a legal settlement. Make sure to document any injuries you sustained as a result of the accident and the extent of the care you needed to seek as a consequence.
- Therapy bills: You may seek compensation for mental health or physical therapy after the accident. This is especially true for anyone who is left permanently disabled as a result of the accident.
- Work finances: You may be eligible to file a personal injury claim, seeking compensation for lost work, or lost ability to work, if your injuries prevent you from seeking work in the future.
Of course, this is a non-exhaustive list of compensation you may seek after an accident. Each case is unique, and our boat accident lawyers serving St. Louis can evaluate your particular circumstances when we begin working on your case. Speak with a staff member at Schultz & Myers, LLC about your case when you call us today: 314-444-4444.
Schultz & Myers, LLC Understands Boat Accident Cases
Our boat accident lawyers in St. Louis want to represent you. We know how difficult it can be to pay for all medical costs and property losses suffered as the result of an accident. The burden of holding the liable parties accountable should not be on you, so let Schultz & Myers, LLC handle your case.
The sooner you give us a call, the sooner we can begin seeking compensation for the damages and losses you have suffered. Call us for a free consultation today at 314-444-4444.