Alaska’s waters are beautiful, but they also hold potential dangers for those who head out on them for work or recreation. Boat registrations increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately, boating accidents increased right along with them, driven in part by lack of operator training and experience. In 2020, there were 5,265 boating accidents in the United States, and 767 fatalities. The number of accidents and injuries increased significantly from just a few years before—about 25%.

What all this means is that Alaska residents and visitors are more likely to be injured, or even killed, in a boat accident than in the recent past. The majority of those injuries and fatalities are due to some type of operator error. If you or a loved one are among those injured in an Alaska boating accident, you may be entitled to payment for your injuries if the accident was someone else’s fault.

Contact Eric Derleth, boat accident lawyer in Anchorage and Soldotna at 907-262-9164 today to learn more about how our law firm can help you. We never charge a fee in personal injury or boating accident cases unless and until we win your case.

Causes of Alaska Boat Accidents

Alaska boat injuries may stem from fishing boats, airboats, sailboats, ferries, motorboats, canoes, kayaks, or any type of watercraft, up to and including cruise ships. While an accident may result from a manufacturing defect, most often these accidents are caused by some kind of negligence. In other words, someone’s carelessness resulted in another person’s injury and damages.

Operator negligence is one of the most common causes of boat accidents in Alaska. That negligence may involve a failure to properly train to operate a boat, careless or reckless speeding, or operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol. A boat accident may also arise from a negligent failure to maintain equipment, including safety equipment. While failure to provide life vests does not cause an accident, lack of available safety equipment may worsen an injury from a boating accident or increase the chance of fatalities.

Types of Injuries from Boating Accidents

Injuries from a boating accident can be serious, permanently disabling, or even fatal. Drowning is the most common cause of fatalities in Alaska boating accidents. Common boating injuries include:

  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Hypothermia
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Skin abrasions
  • Broken bones
  • Amputation of limbs in accidents involving propellers
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis

In addition to the pain caused by these injuries, victims may suffer loss of physical function, inability to work, and huge medical bills just when they can least afford them. Insurance companies understand the vulnerable position boating accident victims are in, both physically and financially—and they take advantage of that. An insurer may offer you a settlement for your injury, knowing that you need cash urgently and may not be in a position to understand your future needs or the true value of your claim.

But remember: the claims adjuster is not on your side. Their priority is making sure that the insurance company pays out as little in claims as possible, not making sure what you need to get your life back after an injury. You need an experienced Alaska boat injury lawyer to protect your interests and your rights.

Work with a Skilled Boat Accident Lawyer

Boat accident lawyer Eric Derleth is an Alaska native with over 25 years’ experience representing injury victims, including boating injury victims, in the courts of our state. Eric is known as “the Trial Guy” because of his thorough case investigation, intense trial preparation, and his record of success with juries. In many cases, Eric is able to achieve a favorable settlement without the need for a trial because his opponents know he is equipped to defeat them in the courtroom.

There is no risk to you in consulting an attorney; our office offers no-obligation consultations and only receives an attorney fee if your case is successful. To learn more about Alaska boating accident law, and how an attorney can help you, call Eric Derleth at 907-262-9164 or contact our law office. From his office in Soldotna, Eric Derleth serves clients in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau, and throughout Alaska. Call today for a free, confidential consultation.