How Quickly Should You File a Boat Accident Report?


Boating is a popular activity in Arizona, where lakes are plentiful and sunny days are the norm. Unfortunately, the frequency with which people take to the water results in an increase in the number of boating accidents. If you or a loved one is involved in a boat accident, it’s important to file a report as soon as possible.

Not only does the law require boat accident participants to call the police, but alerting the authorities can also help protect you in the event that there’s a lawsuit. Keep reading to learn what your responsibilities are with regard to boat accident reporting and discover the benefits of filing early.

Types of Boating Accidents

If you own, operate, or regularly ride on a watercraft, you should know that various incidents can meet the legal definition of a boating accident. Here are some of the most commonly occurring accidents involving boats:

  • Collisions with other vessels: Accidents involving a collision with another watercraft are most likely to result in injuries and deaths.
  • Collisions with fixed objects: These incidents occur when boats run into rocks, jetties, and other unmoving objects while on the water.
  • Flooding: Boats can take on water or even sink when struck by natural waves or waves formed by other vessels.
  • Grounding: Resulting in damage to the hull or other boat parts, grounding occurs when a boat runs aground on rocks or reefs.
  • Falling overboard: Individuals may fall off a boat because of changes in speed, on-board intoxication, or roughhousing with other passengers.

While there are many causes of boating accidents, incidents frequently occur because of operator inattention and inexperience, machine failure, and speeding. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage.

When Should You File a Boat Report

Individuals who fail to file a boat accident report in a timely fashion may face legal repercussions and consequences. In fact, both the federal and Arizona state governments have laws surrounding mandatory boat accident reporting.

According to U.S. law, individuals must file a report within 48 hours if a boating accident results in a death within 24 hours, causes injuries that require more than basic first aid, or leads to the disappearance of a person involved in the incident. On the other hand, individuals must file within 10 days in the event that a boating accident causes more than $2,000 in damage or a vessel is lost.

The state of Arizona has its own laws on boat accident reporting. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, watercraft operators are required to stop and provide personal information after any incident resulting in property damage or injuries. They must also report the accident to the nearest law enforcement agency. If the accident involved a fatality, the Arizona Game and Fish Department should be notified within 48 hours.

Depending on the specifics of your boat accident case, Arizona may have additional legal requirements for reporting. Talking to a personal injury firm immediately after an incident is the best way to protect your rights while ensuring you abide by all state laws.

Benefits of Reporting Your Arizona Boat Accident Quickly

If you’ve been involved in a boat accident, then you probably know what a stressful, upsetting experience it can be. Between dealing with injuries and worrying about the legal repercussions, you might forget to take note of important details about the event.

One of the best reasons to report an accident immediately is that it ensures there will be a third party around to record key facts and details. Law enforcement will take note of the date and time of the boat accident, as well as the names, phone numbers, and addresses of those involved. They may also take down witness information and photograph the scene of the incident. All this information can be used to build your case and ensure you get the compensation you’re owed.

Having documentation of the accident scene can also be helpful in the event that you have to file a claim with your insurance company. Your lawyer can use this information to ensure that providers pay for boat repairs, medical bills, and more.

Filing a report is the first step to take after a boating accident. The next step is to call an experienced personal injury attorney who can protect your rights. At JacksonWhite Law, we understand that individuals frequently suffer injuries due to others’ negligence or recklessness.

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

Free Personal Injury Case Review

Call (480) 467-4392 or fill out the form below to get your free consultation and discuss your best legal options.