With the summer season at an end and school beginning, hours on the water may be relegated to weekends. That doesn’t change the fact that lakes can be dangerous too. As the second largest lake in the state, Navajo Lake is a popular destination throughout the summer. Fishermen, kayakers, water skiers and other boating enthusiasts come to enjoy the lake’s natural beauty.

Unfortunately, not everyone takes time to use reasonable care while on the water. In 2016, there were more than 4,400 accidents resulting in 700 people being killed on American lakes and rivers. The cost of these accidents resulted in $49 million in damages. Alcohol use was the primary factor in fatal boating accidents, with drowning being a primary cause of death. Of those who drowned, 83 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

Like accidents that occur on streets and highways, negligence (i.e. the failure to use reasonable care) can lead to liability in boating accidents. This post will answer some common questions that arise after a boating accident.

What should happen directly after an accident? – Safety is the primary objective after an accident. If possible, getting everyone out of the water and onto passible vessels is paramount. As we alluded to earlier, drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents.

Should I seek medical attention? – Even if you believe you have only suffered minor injuries, seeking medical attention is critical to prevent such injuries from getting worse. What may seem like just a headache could actually be a concussion that could have greater implications if undiagnosed.

Should the police be involved? – A police report is a helpful way of documenting how the accident occurred and memorializing the state of your injuries (if any). While police reports are not conclusive in proving fault, they can establish facts essential to your case.

Does it matter that the other boater is a tourist? – Generally speaking, jurisdiction (i.e. which court has the power to hear a case) depends on where the accident occurred. The fact that a tourist may have been responsible for your injuries may not have a bearing on where a personal injury lawsuit may be filed.

If you have additional questions about your legal rights and options after a boating accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you.