Georgia Boat Propeller Injuries

Propeller of the boat underwater scuba divers climbing up the ladder.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy boating to relax and beat the Georgia heat. But along with the thrill of recreational boating is the ever-present risk of boat propeller accidents. These tragic incidents can happen in the blink of an eye and leave victims with severe and possibly life-altering injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured by a boat propeller in Georgia, you could be entitled to compensation if someone else’s negligence directly led to the accident. As we are one of the best personal injury lawyers in Atlanta, our experienced boat accident attorneys can help you seek the money you need to pay your bills, recoup other losses, and move on with your life. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free initial consultation.

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What Are Some Common Causes of Boat Propeller Accidents in Georgia?

Boat propellers are typically made from stainless steel or metal alloys. In many cases, their edges are razor-sharp. Since a boat’s propellers are typically below the waterline, they can be difficult for boat operators, passengers, swimmers, and others to see. In addition to being dangerously sharp and near-invisible, propellers often continue spinning even when operators have their boats in neutral. The hydrodynamic effect of a spinning propeller can easily pull even relatively strong swimmers toward the propeller and under the boat. This combination of factors means boat propellers can pose serious risks to anyone near a boat’s stern. Propeller guards, cameras, and special sensors can all reduce the risk of propeller accidents. However, accidents can still occur even with these safety measures in place. Operators are ultimately responsible for the safety of everyone on and around their boats. When operators are negligent, they can be held liable for injuries they cause in boat propeller accidents. Some common causes of boat propeller accidents in Georgia include:

  • Reckless steering – When boat operators recklessly steer their vessels, passengers can fall over the transom and directly into propeller blades.
  • Operator inexperience – Inexperienced operators can contribute to propeller injuries by failing to wear cutoff switch lanyards, reversing their vessels into passing swimmers, or simply forgetting how to quickly stop the propeller engine in emergency situations.
  • Unsafe boating procedures – Operators can cause serious injuries if they neglect to steer clear of “diver down” flags, allow swimmers near the stern during launch, or start the engine before all passengers are safely aboard.
  • Operating under the influence – Enjoying alcoholic beverages out on the water is common, but drinking and boating are extremely hazardous for operators. Boat operators who are inebriated cause many propeller injuries every year.

What Are The Consequences of Boat Accidents?

When boat passengers, swimmers, or others in the water come into direct contact with boat propellers, the consequences can be severe and sometimes even deadly. Common injuries from boat propeller accidents include:

  • Deep lacerations, which can result in blood loss and infections
  • Traumatic amputations, including loss of limbs, fingers, or toes
  • Internal injuries from deep puncture wounds can lead to internal bleeding and possible organ rupture
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Fatal injuries and wrongful death

What Are Some Types of Boat-on-Swimmer Accidents?

Here are some of the most common types of boat propeller accidents that can injure swimmers and others in or near the water:

  • Falling overboard accidents – Boat passengers can fall overboard and into propellers when operators make recklessly sharp turns or hit large waves.
  • Entanglement accidents – Entanglement accidents occur when boat passengers or swimmers get entangled in tow ropes or other lines that are caught in and pulled toward rotating propellers.
  • Surfacing diver or swimmer accidents – When boat operators enter areas they shouldn’t, divers and swimmers can surface directly underneath propellers and suffer serious injuries.
  • Boat collision accidents – In some boat collisions, a boat or personal watercraft can run over the top of another vessel and strike passengers with its propeller.
  • “Circle of death” accidents – A “circle of death” event occurs when a boat operator goes overboard or loses control of their vessel while the throttle is still engaged and the boat begins circling through the water by itself. This dangerous circling can seriously injure anyone in the water who encounters the runaway boat propeller.

boat propeller

How to Determine Liability in Georgia Boat Accidents?

If you were injured in a Georgia boat propeller accident, it’s important to determine who was liable before you can seek compensation in a personal injury claim. Depending on the circumstances, one or more of the following parties may be at fault:

  • A boat operator – The boat operator could be liable if they failed to look out for the safety of passengers or swimmers, operate the boat while intoxicated, or ignored local boating laws.
  • A boat passenger – A boat passenger could also be at fault if they seized control from the operator or behaved in a reckless manner that prevented the safe operation of the vessel.
  • A boat owner – If the operator of the boat was not an owner-operator, the owner of the boat could be liable for knowingly lending their boat to an individual who was not properly qualified or trained to operate it.
  • A boat rental company – Similarly, a boat rental company can be liable for renting a boat to an unqualified individual or providing a rental boat with known mechanical defects.
  • A boat manufacturer – The boat manufacturer may also share responsibility if the propeller accident results from a manufacturing defect.

How Can a Boat Accident Lawyer Help?

To obtain compensation after a boat propeller injury, you must file an injury claim and demonstrate that another party was liable. A Georgia boat accident lawyer can help you with the time-consuming and complicated aspects of your case by:

  • Explaining your legal rights and the steps you can take to protect them
  • Determining how much compensation you are owed for your injuries
  • Conducting an independent investigation into the boat accident to uncover critical evidence and determine who was at fault
  • Communicating with the other party, their insurance company, and other attorneys on your behalf
  • Filing important case paperwork on your behalf
  • Negotiating aggressively to demand full compensation for your losses

How Long Do I Have To File A Boating Accident Injury Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a boating accident in Georgia, please be of the different time limits in place to file claims in the state. The statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years from the date of the injury. However, the statute of limitations for a loss of consortium claim—which is a spouse’s claim for the loss of love, companionship, affection, and all other values arising out of a marriage—is four years from the date of the spouse’s injury. If a claim is not filed within this time frame, you will likely be unable to recover any compensation for your loss.

Contact a Boat Accident Injury Lawyer in Georgia Today

When you’re ready to discuss the details of your case with a knowledgeable boating accident attorney, contact the boat accident lawyers at Butler Kahn by phone or online. We can help you understand your options and determine the next steps during a free initial case review. 

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