Boat accidents, much like car accidents, cause injuries, damages, and trauma that should never be taken lightly. A natural consequence of incidents such as these is that the involved parties will want to file a claim for insurance purposes, and even pursue further legal action. Making an insurance claim after a boating accident has the potential to be a complex process; it all depends on what happened and how many people were involved. Here is everything you need to know about the process and common reasons it comes about.
Define Boating Accident
The first task here is to discuss what a boating accident actually is. Boating accidents cover a wide range of circumstances from someone sustaining an injury as a passenger to missing people on the water and general collisions too. Anything where there was injury to a person or damage to a vessel can be considered as due cause for filing a claim, and it will be taken seriously by adjusters and attorneys alike. Common causes of boating accidents include things like the driver being drunk, rough weather, collisions, animal interference and inexperience.
When Should You File a Claim?
Just like other collision and accident incidents, there is a Statute of Limitations that determines when you are able to file a claim. If you miss this window, there are no further actions available to you and anything you do after this point will be dismissed. The actual guidelines vary between the states, but it is generally expected that the accident is reported within 48 hours of it taking place and a claim follows within 10 working days. There is some flexibility afforded, for instance, if someone dies or there are multiple parties involved thus complicating the procedure.
How Do You File a Claim?
Every insurance company will have a slight variation on what they need you to do in order to successfully file a claim after an accident occurs. Check with your provider and read through the terms and conditions of your contract before you proceed. This is the only way to ensure you don’t get anything wrong or submit incorrect information that will either harm or delay the outcome. Generally, there are three options for launching the claims process.
The majority of insurance companies have a website. Sometimes, though this is less common, there will be an option to file on one of the pages of the site which you can find by a quick internet search. The more popular and secure method is through logging into your online portal and accessing the correct form through here. You will have to submit details and evidence of the accident, and then wait for claims adjuster to get back in touch with you.
Alternatively, there may be an app option. Insurance companies are not too far behind the curve when it comes to making life easier for their customers. This means there is a strong possibility that you will be able to download an app, login, and file a claim all from your smartphone.
Or, if you don’t feel overly comfortable with using technology, most providers allow you to start the claims process over the telephone too. Find the right number and make sure you have things like your personal details to verify identity and policy number to hand so there are no unnecessary delays. This way may take longer because you will have to submit evidence through the post before an adjuster is able to evaluate the claim properly.
Hiring an Attorney
The next step is to hire an attorney to represent you throughout the claims process. They will support you when it comes to knowing what to say and when to say it, gathering evidence and key witnesses, and explaining any legal jargon that may be thrown your way too. It will also be a useful relationship further down the line should you feel the need for further compensation against the guilty party. It is not typical for an insurance claim to be denied, but it has been known to happen. If you are in this position, an attorney will be able to guide things towards a more positive outcome.
Figuring out how to navigate the claims process post boat accident is difficult when you don’t have the experience. Call in to our Denmon Pearlman Law offices today and see how we can help. We can be found at:
- Tampa – 2504 W Crest Ave, Tampa, FL 33614
- Petersburg – 520 2nd Ave South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
- New Port Richey – 5703 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652
- Brooksville – 1790 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601
- Seminole – 5290 Seminole Blvd. Suite D, St. Petersburg, FL 33708
Call now for a free consultation on (800) 800-4300