Boat and Watercraft Accident Lawyers
Minnesotans love spending time at the lake during the summer. But unfortunately, because of the negligence or carelessness of others, a day at the lake can have tragic and unforeseen consequences. In 2015, there were nearly 20 fatalities on Minnesota lakes and more than 70 non-fatal boating accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a boating, jet-ski, or watercraft-related accident, or know someone who has been injured or killed in a boating, jet-ski, or watercraft-related accident, it is important to contact Meshbesher & Spence for a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys. We can help you determine if you are able to recover damages for your injuries.
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Cases are stronger when an attorney is involved early.
Speak to any attorney now. No Recovery. No Fees
Speak with a boat and watercraft accident lawyer at Meshbesher & Spence and let us help you receive compensation for:
- Lost wages, future earnings and earning capacity
- Past, present and future medical bills
- Pain, suffering and emotional distress
- Permanent injury and disability
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Wrongful death and funeral expenses
- Property damage
- And other general damages
The lawyer you choose make a difference®
The lawyers at Meshbesher & Spence are here to help. We have the experience and knowledge to make sure that you are fairly compensated. We are prepared to work diligently to make sure you are appropriately compensated for your medical expenses and physical and emotional suffering.
As the victim of a boat accident, you may face lost wages, unmanageable medical bills, repair bills, out of pocket expenses, and a mountain of complicated insurance claims. The insurance companies have experienced attorneys looking out for their interests. We believe you should have the very best attorneys looking out for you. Meshbesher & Spence has more than 50 years of experience of representing injured individuals and families and we will fight to get the compensation you deserve.
You don’t pay anything unless we make a recovery for you
When you hire Meshbesher & Spence, you will not be asked to pay any attorney fees or out of pocket expenses until you receive compensation for your injuries. In the event that you do not recover compensation for your injuries, you will not be asked to pay anything. This means that you have no reason not to hire the experienced law firm of Meshbesher & Spence. It is important to act immediately to protect your rights. Call Meshbesher & Spence to spea with a lawyer to discuss your potential boat accident claim. You will receive a free consultation, and our personal injury lawyers are available to visit you in the hospital, at home, at one of our five office locations, or any place that is most convenient for you.
Here’s a list of the most important things to think about when choosing an attorney to represent you in your claim:
Research your potential lawyer’s experience and track record. This is key in verifying your attorney’s familiarity with cases like yours, their overall capabilities, and record of success.
Make it local
Sure the actors in those frequent daytime TV commercials touting the law offices of some large, important sounding firm might sound enticing but the truth is they’re usually from large impersonal referral services or scammy out-of-state firms looking to snag as many clients as they can without any real regard for you or your case. The same is true for those paid online search ads “trolling” for out-of-state cases. But the worst part is these lawyers don’t have any of the real hands-on experience with your local judges and court system, which puts them – and your case – at a distinct disadvantage.
Always hire an attorney whose practice is based in your state – even better, one in your specific town or area. (Meshbesher & Spence has four locations in Minnesota to serve you – and we make house calls!) Choosing a local attorney is not only best for the outcome of your case, as our extensive knowledge of your state’s laws and local experience will directly support your claim – it also helps support the local economy as well.
Contingency: You pay when they win
Simply put, if you don’t win – you don’t pay! This means that if you don’t win your case, you owe your lawyer nothing. A contingent fee agreement says that your lawyer receives a percentage of your settlement as his or her payment. Because you don’t pay out of pocket, you should not hesitate to approach established firms who may appear to be out of your league financially. You want the very best attorney you can get to take your case – contingency allows you to get the most for your money.
Remember it’s NEVER to your advantage to represent yourself – there’s a reason why it takes so much schooling and experience to become a successful lawyer. Since you don’t pay if you don’t win, you can afford to choose the very best in the business and give your case its best possible chance in court.
Whether your claim is medical malpractice, worker’s compensation or a something else altogether, make sure you choose a lawyer with specific experience in the arena in which your claim exists. Just as an obstetrician has a different and more specialized set of skills than a neurologist or rheumatologist, each area of law has it’s own set of idiosyncrasies and intricate complexities and it will serve you best to choose a lawyer who “does it for a living,” instead of a family friend whose focus may be tax or family law but who does some worker’s compensation claims on the side. Always seek out the most qualified professional for your best chance at success.
Word of mouth
Although word of mouth referrals from friends and family can be your best source of information, be sure to check your source carefully. Ask only people you trust, who have experience in claims (either as plaintiffs or within the legal field), and be sure to ask specific questions about what it was like to work with the attorney they’re referring, whether or not they would hire them again, and why.
If you know or have access to a defense attorney, ask them who their best adversary in the area is. Never choose an attorney solely because they are a friend of a friend, or are related to you or someone you know. These qualities do not necessarily make them the best-qualified attorney to represent you and your case.
The Minnesota attorneys of Meshbesher & Spence have been representing families in crisis for over 50 years. We’re skilled in personal injury, class action, criminal defense, and civil litigation. At Meshbesher & Spence, we are proud of the tradition of excellence upon which our practice is built, and continue that tradition in a relentless pursuit of justice for each individual and family in need of our representation. Our work is based upon the belief that the lawyer you choose truly does make a difference, and we believe that every Minnesota family deserves the very best. If you’re in need of an attorney, contact Meshbesher & Spence today for a free consultation call 1-888-728-9866.
In order to minimize this risk and to save precious moments during an emergency when every second really counts, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the rules and regulations for operating a vessel on open water and familiarize yourself with how and when to use the items in your safety kit before your next trip on the water.
Pro Tip: The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer free voluntary boat safety checks for any small boat in order to verify all safety equipment is on board and in good working condition. If you want be sure your kit is in tip-top condition, give them a call.
BOATING SAFETY KIT: WHAT YOU NEED AND WHY
The following items should be on board your vessel in order to keep all passengers protected. Some items listed below are the minimum required by the U.S. Coast Guard or the state of Minnesota, while others are just a good idea to have on board to make sure your days (and nights) out on the boat are safe and fun.
All boats over 40 feet are required to have a current copy of the ISDOT ISCG International – Inland Navigational Rules aboard. Life Jackets
There must be a readily accessible U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V life jacket or life vest per person on board. These personal flotation devices must be easily accessible, in good working condition, and fit properly. Type IV, throwable floatation devices cannot be your primary onboard life-saving devices. The state of Minnesota has a Mandatory Child Life Jacket Wear Law. For specifics on the regulations governing children’s life jackets, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Throwable Floatation Devices
All vessels 16 feet or longer are required to have one throwable floatation device – Type IV – like a ring buoy or buoyant cushion immediately available.
All boats are required and highly recommended to have fire extinguishers aboard. The type and number vary dependent upon vessel size:
26 feet or less: Required to have at least one B-1 type Coast Guard-approved hand portable fire extinguisher. This is the minimum.
26 to 40 feet: Must have two B-1 type or one of the B-2 type USCG approved extinguishers. 40 to 65 feet: Need three B-1 extinguishers or one B-1 and one B-2 USCG approved fire extinguisher. Over 65 feet: Requires a minimum of 3 and as many as 8 (depending on vessel weight) of the B-2 USCG approved fire extinguishers on board and in tandem with a fixed system in the machinery space.
Loud and Clear: Audible Distress Signals
All boats should have a working sounding device such as a horn or whistle for your protection. The minimum requirements are that you have a hand, mouth, or power-operated whistle or horn capable of producing a continuous sound for two seconds and audible for at least one-half mile of the craft. The type of sounding device (hand, mouth or power-operated) varies with the size of vessel. Remember, only government patrol craft boat may carry a siren.
Can You See Me? Visual Distress Signals
Either white lanterns, flashlights or night signals (depending upon the size and type of boat) must be carried on-board as visual distress signals while in coastal waters and the Great Lakes.
It’s a good idea to have several different kinds of visual signals, including handheld orange smoke, flags, sea marker dye, and flares on hand in your safety kit. Flares and flare guns can be highly effective distress signals. If you decide to add flares to your safety kit, be sure all of your flares are stamped with a manufacture date.
Though the Coast Guard reports a flare’s shelf life is 3 years, the American Boating Association recommends keeping flares in the 3 to 6 year range aboard as backups, since they’re still likely to work. After 6 years, these flares must be disposed of properly by contacting your local fire department, sanitation department, or EPA office to learn the local hazardous waste disposal rules.
OTHER SAFETY ITEMS NO BOAT SHOULD BE WITHOUT
First Aid Kit: Accidents happen; be prepared with bandages, antiseptic and burn cream ointments and other first aid essentials. Water: It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re out on the water in the summer sun. Tool Kit: Make sure your kit is well equipped for a variety of boating repair needs. Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hats, cover-ups and sunglasses.
Bailer Bucket: In case your boat begins to take on water, a bailer bucket can help keep you afloat until you can make a repair or get some help.
Oars or Paddles Anchor and Enough Chain: Depending on where you are boating, usually 5x depth. Before each boating season, you should do a safety check on your boat to make sure all the above items are present, current, and in good working order before taking your boat out.
Knowing what is required and making sure you’re in compliance will not only keep you and your passengers safe, but will also help to reduce liability and keep you in good standing with the U.S. Coast Guard and your boat insurance company.
*To really be prepared for a safe boating season, pair this list with our article on Boating Safety 101 for tips to avoiding boating accidents and liability.
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Boat & Watercraft Accident Lawyers