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Boating Accidents Can Cause Death, And Responsible Parties Can Be Held Criminally Liable In Georgia

Recently, a jury found the man who caused the death of famous singer Usher’s young son in a boating accident guilty as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on February 21, 2014. The accident was a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided with proper safety being exercised.

The law in Georgia that governs Boating Accidents is O.C.G.A. Section 52-7-14. The Georgia Law is very extensive and lists very important duties in the case of a boating accident including:

1.) The Duty to Render Assistance and Identify the Vessel and Self that states that so long as it is safe to do so that assistance should be rendered to any person involved in a boating accident;

2.) The Good Samaritan Clause which makes it possible for those rendering aid not to be held liable in doing so;

3.) Accident Reports are Required to be filed with the Department within 48 hours of said accident if any injuries or deaths were involved;

4.) These Reports are very extensive and must include very detailed information as listed in Subsection (c)(3)(A)-(T) of the Georgia Statute;

5.) Medical Facilities must report injuries or deaths and supply copies of medical records;

6.) Salvage Rights stating that any person who fails to claim a vessel within 12 months will lose the ownership interest in said vessel; and

7.) Official Authority giving any officer who is authorized to enforce the provisions of this Georgia Law the authority to maintain any vessel for a period of time necessary for evidentiary purposes and otherwise.

As noted in this case, criminal liability may also follow in such incidents even if the acts were not intentional. As we approach the warmer months here in Georgia, it is very important that we are aware of Boating Laws in Georgia and that we exercise extreme caution when engaging in activities in the water.

In the case in point, a child was being pulled on an inter tube by a jet ski and was hit by the Defendant accidentally causing the young boy’s death. This was not an intentional act. Regardless, the jury felt that there needed to be accountability for this action. In a case like this, nobody wins. A young child has lost his life, and a man has lost his freedom.

Boating and the water are very dangerous activities for both adults and children, and, as we learn of cases time and again, a day of fun in the sun can turn into a tragedy. Therefore, it is very important that we all exercise extreme caution in all of our boating activities to try and avoid these senseless tragedies.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident causing injury or death, then we are truly sorry. If you think that you are entitled to compensation in such a circumstance, then please kindly feel free to Contact Us for your free legal consultation.

We want the water to be enjoyed by Georgians and hope that boating accidents become a thing of the past as we all exercise care on the water and proper boating safety. If you would like to learn more about Boating Safety, you may visit the Boating Safety Resource Center provided by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division.