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What to do if you are in a boating accident

With the seemingly infinite amount of coastline, lakes and rivers in Louisiana, it is no doubt that boating is a popular past time. Additionally, Spring break season is quickly approaching, and there will certainly be more boaters and swimmers out on the waters than ever.

Where there are more boats, there is certainly an increased risk of boating accidents. Whether there is a light tap or a full-on collision, and whether injuries are incurred, it is important to know what to do if and when an accident were to occur.

In the event of an accident, secure all individuals and vessels. Remain where the accident occurred, and minimize danger in every way possible. If minor damage to the either or both of the vessels is the only result of the incident, the situation is similar to a minor car accident: information is exchanged, and the operators have the option to contact their respective insurance companies.

If the damage is more serious and results in the injury or death of a person or the repairs of a vessel amount to more than $500, the accident must be reported to either the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division or the state police within five days of the accident.

From there, an individual exploring legal compensation for the property damage, injury or loss of life that results can contact the Department to receive an official accident report. While there is certainly no guarantee, this official report could be a step in the right direction to gaining peace of mind as well as accurate legal advice.

A boating accident can be a huge burden. Knowing what to do when one occurs, both long-term and short-term, can help alleviate the stress that comes with it.

Source: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries: State of Louisiana, "Boating and Incident Reporting," accessed March 7, 2016

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