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Recreational Boating Accidents

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Recreational Boating Accidents

Recreational Boating Accident Lawyers Morris County, NJ

Morristown Jet Ski Accident Lawyers

Recreational boating – whether it be sailing down the Hudson River, piloting a jet ski off the Jersey Shore, or taking a fishing boat out on the Delaware River – is one of New Jersey’s favorite pastimes. Indeed, with New Jersey’s extensive coastline, rivers, and lakes, the state has built up a lively industry of recreational boating, with many residents and out-of-state visitors operating their own watercraft or renting from recreational boating companies. With all of this fun, though, comes the high risk of accident and personal injury.

Boating accidents account for the second highest rate of transportation-related injuries and death in the U.S. behind motor vehicle accidents.  Luckily, the Morristown Law Firm of Smith & Doran has extensive experience defending the rights of injured victims across the state. We know how to fight for your future while at the same time always maintaining an open line of communication.  The lawyer you hire is the lawyer you get, every step of the way.

Parsippany, NJ Boating Accident Lawyers Discuss – The Leading Causes in the U.S.

In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that there had been over 4,000 recreational boating accidents in the U.S. in the previous year. Strikingly, 13% of those accidents resulted in death, with a total of 610 deaths in all. The report found numerous causes for the accidents, including:

  • Operator inattention (563 accidents / 38 deaths)
  • Improper lookout (431 accidents / 26 deaths)
  • Operator inexperience (391 accidents / 44 deaths)
  • Excessive speed (282 accidents / 23 deaths)
  • Alcohol use (277 accidents / 108 deaths)
  • Machinery failure (255 accidents / 14 deaths)
  • Hazardous waters (185 accidents / 55 deaths)
  • Weather (174 accidents / 45 deaths)
  • Overloading of passengers or gear (51 accidents / 25 deaths)
  • Improper loading of passengers or gear (50 accidents / 27 deaths)

As you can see from the above, many accidents and wrongful deaths could have been avoided if the operators of the boats had taken due care in operating and maintaining the boat. As an operator or passenger on a boat or jet ski, make sure to avoid riding with any pilot who is intoxicated and always follow the safety protocols provided by a seller or rental company.

Who May Be Liable for Recreational Boating Accidents

When a person is injured or killed in a boating accident, one or more parties may be liable for the injuries. If, for example, a boat owner operated his boat while intoxicated and this resulted in a passenger falling overboard or a collision with a second boat on which others were injured, then the injured parties could have an action in negligence against the intoxicated boat operator for any injuries they may have suffered, potentially including punitive damages if the boat operator was reckless (courts will often find an intoxicated operator of a vehicle to be reckless).

Likewise, a company that operates boating tours may be liable for negligently maintaining a boat, resulting in machinery failure, or in negligently hiring a boat pilot who lacks training, or failing to properly assess the weather or water conditions that day. A rental company that rents out boats and jet skis can also be liable to an injured party for negligently renting out a defective watercraft or in failing to take precautions such as making sure any operator of the watercraft is knowledgeable in safely operating a boat or jet ski. Finally, the manufacturer or seller of a recreational boat can be liable to any party injured by the boat if the boat was defective at the time it was sold.

Contact a Morristown, NJ Personal Injury Attorney

Robert A. Smith of Smith & Doran is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney.  This means that he specializes in civil court cases, including accident and injury cases of any kind.  It is an accolade given by the New Jersey Supreme Court to only 2% of the active lawyers in the state. His fellow lawyers have also accorded him the highest possible Martindale Hubbel rating of AV® Preeminent in recognition of his excellent legal knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards. Bob Smith prides himself on providing personal but professional legal counsel, and he believes open and honest communication with his clients is the key to building a long-lasting partnership based on trust.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a New Jersey recreational boating accident, Smith & Doran is ready to protect your rights today.  Contact us online or through our Morristown offices at 973-261-6254 to schedule a cost-free consultation.

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Verdicts and Settlements


Recovery for a six year old girl who suffered serious neurologic injury, as well as the loss of her parents and siblings, when the family's car was crushed by a garbage truck which had jumped a median strip partly as a result of a faulty braking system.


Settlement obtained for a sixty-seven year old man who fell down a flight of stairs as a result of an inadequate handrail, suffering quadriplegia.


Award obtained for a Sussex County man who suffered cervical injuries requiring two surgeries as a result of two separate car accidents.


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Map and Directions

The Law Offices of Smith & Doran, P.C.

Washington Street, Suite 302

Morristown, New Jersey 07960

Phone: 973-261-6254

Fax: 973-292-9168