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Boating Accidents and Personal Injury on Lake Mead


For those living in and around Las Vegas, water sports and other recreational activities are very popular, particularly at Lake Mead, which is roughly 24 miles from the city.

Each year, hundreds of Nevada residents enjoy water sport activities on jet skis, sailboats, motorboats, and other watercraft. Unfortunately, such leisure activities do not come without risks, and injuries from boating accidents are not uncommon.

Depending on the situation, some accidents may even prove fatal, like one earlier this year, when a Nevada National Guardsman – and former Las Vegas resident – was killed in a boating accident on Pyramid Lake in Northern Nevada.

Michael Anthony Beaton, a senior airman with the 152nd Maintenance Squadron, was found dead on Anahoe Island – an island on the lake – back in February, after boaters spotted his unoccupied truck sitting near the lake shoreline. Once witnesses noticed that the driver did not return to the vehicle, emergency response teams were called to the scene.

Though the search for Beaton was suspended due to darkness, emergency responders took to the lake a day later, when they recovered his body.

Although authorities concluded that Beaton was killed in a boating accident, investigators noted that they could not confirm the precise cause of death. However, police did confirm that he was wearing a lifejacket.

Types of Boating Accidents

Last year, the United States Coast Guard counted more than 4,150 boating accidents – a 2.3 percent rise from 2014. Additionally, more than 620 boating accidents were fatal – a near three percent increase from the previous year. Of those that were not fatal, 2,613 resulted in injury. Although this figure is down from the year before – roughly 2.4 percent – the reality is that many boating accidents result in severe personal injury.

Typically, injuries in boating accidents are caused by some type of negligent behavior, such as a lack of experience or training in properly handling the watercraft. However, some other scenarios consistent with boat accident injury or fatality cases have included:

  • Drowning
  • Capsizing
  • Recklessness
  • Injuries resulting from falling off jet skis or boats
  • Operating a boat under the influence
  • Inattention
  • Collisions involving other individuals or watercraft
  • Falls from boating decks
  • Boating gear

Statistically, many boating accident deaths come as a result of drowning – nearly 80 percent. However, that figure only includes incidents where the cause of death is known. Some cases, like that involving Senior Airman Beaton, may not be as clear regarding the exact cause of death.

Another cause of fatal boating incidents is the consumption of alcohol. It is, in fact, the leading cause, and was directly linked to nearly 20 percent of boating accident fatalities in 2015.

Many accidents also involve operators who do not have adequate training in their watercraft. In fact, figures from the U.S. Coast Guard estimate that only 15 percent of fatal boating incidents occurred on a watercraft where the operator was certified from nationally approved boating safety programs.

Boating Accident Injuries

Although some boating incidents prove fatal, many more result in some type of injury. Though this can be as minor as cuts or bruises, there are situations where more devastating injury is possible.

Depending on the type of vessel, and the circumstances – for example, if the accident involved contact with a propeller or a significant fall – many injuries can prove far more serious, including sprained or broken bones, head injuries or severed limbs.

Additionally, certain vessels, like jet skis, expel water that can cause harm if an individual is in a direct path.

At the end of the day, injuries from boating incidents come down to one thing – negligence. And that negligence can come at quite a cost, especially for the victim. However, legal options are available.

Compensation for Boating Accident Injury

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, or if your injuries were directly caused by the negligent behavior of an individual on the watercraft, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, specifically the expertise of a personal injury attorney.

In many situations, victims may be eligible to file a personal injury claim, which can help address some of the many financial challenges that arise from personal injury. Such challenges might include:

  • Mounting medical costs
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Loss of wages
  • Temporary or permanent disability

Additionally, filing a personal injury claim can help with the recovery of other damages, including those to address pain and suffering or other difficulties that have occurred in the wake of an accident.

Only a qualified attorney can evaluate your boating accident claim and determine whether or not you have grounds for a personal injury claim. Because personal injury laws can vary on a state-by-state basis, it is important to consult with an attorney that not only specializes in personal injury, but also in the laws of your state as well.

Boating Accident Attorneys in Nevada

For those residing in and around Las Vegas, as well as other areas of Nevada, the dedicated attorneys at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen Law Firm can provide the sound legal counsel for those dealing with personal injury issues, including those who have been injured in boating accidents.

Our team of skilled personal injury specialists has a wealth of experience when it comes to negotiating and litigating personal injury claims, and can work with you and your loved ones as you seek justice during your recovery. Our attorneys understand that dealing with personal injury is never easy, and these types of accidents can be life-altering with respect to injury or death. No matter what the circumstances are surrounding your boating incident, our firm is committed to helping you build a case that delivers a favorable result.

We are proud to offer new clients the convenience of a complimentary no-obligation consultation, to help asses your options for a personal injury claim. 

To get started with a member of our skilled personal injury team, contact the law office of Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen Law Firm today at (702) 505-8115.

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