Boating is a popular pastime that many people enjoy worldwide each and every day. For the most part, this is an activity that people can safely enjoy, but alas, accidents do happen. More specifically, the propellers of a boat can cause serious injury when a person accidentally makes contact with them. Because propellers typically consist of blades that quickly rotate in order to help boats operate, it’s no surprise that the damage they can cause can be quite extensive. In fact, standard boat propellers consist of three blades, and when boats are running, they typically operate at 3,200 RPM and can inflict 160 impacts in one second, traveling from head to toe on an average individual in less than one-tenth of a second. Injuries resulting from boat propellers can require long recoveries, as well as extensive hospital stays and rehabilitation. These types of injuries not only affect boaters and passengers, but they can also affect swimmers who are in close proximity to boats.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boat propeller accident injuries are usually multiple, deep, parallel lacerations that can result in the following:
- Significant blood loss
- Permanent scarring
- Traumatic or surgical amputation
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that in a one-year study, 1,115 people in the United States were injured as a direct result of boat propellers. It has also been reported that roughly 20 percent of propeller injuries involve operational speeds of less than 10 mph.
Some boat accidents and boat propeller injuries can be prevented by taking proper safety precautions. First and foremost, every passenger should be wearing a lifejacket when on board. Operators should fully understand how to operate their vessels, be fully aware of their surroundings when navigating, and should not be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. They also need to inform their passengers that for their own safety, they must comply with certain safety rules. This includes ensuring that passengers are seated properly prior to getting underway and that they do not sit on a gunwale, transom, bow, or seatback. Sitting in an unsafe area or moving around when they shouldn’t be can cause them to fall off and possibly sustain injuries from the boat’s propellers.
There are also several safety devices that can potentially prevent these devastating accidents from occurring, including the installation of ringed propellers, cut-off switches, propeller guards and cages, sensors, and propulsion alternatives. It is also recommended that the kill-switches are attached to lanyards to ensure that boats automatically turn off if the operator was to fall overboard. It is also highly advisable to note swimming zones when boating, and to stay at least 300 feet away from buoys and flags, as well as 100 feet away from navigation channels and inlets.
While some boat propeller injuries may have possibly been prevented, sometimes all it takes is one negligent decision to cause a serious accident, regardless of how many safety precautions were taken. For example, another boat operator may be operating his or her boat recklessly or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. That boat may collide with another, causing the passengers of the other boat to fall off and make contact with the propellers.
Passengers may also be injured as a direct result of the boat operator they are riding with; in some cases, boat accidents propeller injuries result from a boater’s inexperience or poor judgment. In other cases, people who sustain boat propeller injuries may not have been on a boat at all; for example, they could have been swimming in a lake, and a boater did not see them and got too close to them with their boat, and as a result, severely injured them with the boat’s propellers. If someone else’s negligence is the cause of your boat propeller accident, he or she may be found liable for your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are working with a personal injury attorney on your boat propeller accident lawsuit, you likely have several questions about the process, especially about the timeline. Although your attorney may have attempted to give you an estimate on the timeframe for your lawsuit to finalize, he or she likely also told you that this could be difficult to specifically pinpoint.
If you are looking to receive money sooner and have concerns about your lawsuit taking too long to finalize, USClaims may be able to help. At USClaims, we focus on helping plaintiffs just like you receive money sooner through a process known as pre-settlement funding, or a lawsuit advance. This risk-free service guarantees that you won’t owe us anything if your case doesn’t settle for any reason. Contact us today to learn more about how the process works, to see if your case is eligible, and to get started.