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Boat Accident Injury Lawsuits

Boat trips can define a memorable summer, though can also be extremely dangerous, and in the worst case scenarios, deadly. Boating accidents can result from intoxication, boat defects, unlawful operation of a watercraft or operator negligence. Injuries can be severe, and drownings and deaths are commonplace results of boating accidents.

In 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,463 accidents that involved 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries and around $49 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. About 10 percent of the 3,500 drownings each year in the United States are attributed to .

Year-on-year, 2016 saw an increase of about 11 percent in the number of recreational boating fatalities across the nation. Where cause of death is known, 80 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims over 80 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated attorney, experienced in handling personal injury, wrongful death, and product liability lawsuits and nationwide. Do not hesitate to contact The Lyon Firm for top legal representation.

Boating Injury & Drowning Accidents

•    Collision with recreational vessel
•    Collision with fixed object
•    Boat malfunction
•    Flooding/swamping
•    Grounding of watercraft
•    Capsizing
•    Struck by propeller

Boating Accidents

Open motorboats are by far the most dangerous form watercraft in terms of total injuries and deaths reported. Casualties involving open motorboats outnumber all the other water vehicles by a large margin. Motorboats account for 47 percent of all boating accidents. Other kinds of watercraft involved in accidents and drownings include the following:

•    Open motorboat
•    Personal watercraft—jetski and wave runner
•    Cabin motorboat
•    Duck boat
•    Pontoon
•    Barges
•    Sailboats

Defective Boat Recalls

  • Boston Whaler Inc.—Faulty electrical system
  • Marquis-Larson Larson—Poor ventilation
  • Lund Boat Company—Engine interference
  • Tracker Marine Group—Cracks in hull
  • Kawasaki Motors—Defective fuel system
  • Tohatsu America Corp—Faulty fuel system
  • Cobalt Boats—Defective hull
  • Mercury Marine—power steering issues, electrical defects
  • Yamaha Motor—fuel system defects
  • Cheetah Boat—Ventilation defects

Boating Accident Injuries

•    Drowning
•    Head and Brain Injury
•    Neck & Spinal Injury
•    Bone Fractures
•    Crush Injuries
•    Burn Injuries
•    Amputation

Boating Injury Lawsuits

The number one risk factor in boating drowning accidents is an inability to swim. In the United States of America drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1–14 years. Boating is associated with 15-20 percent of Ohio’s drowning accidents each year.
Other leading factors in boating and drowning accidents include:

•    Boat Size—smaller vessels are notably more dangerous. Eight out of every ten boaters who drown use vessels less than 21 feet in length.
•    Alcohol and Drugs—Alcohol use is listed as the leading factor in 15 percent of boating drownings and deaths. Drugs are also a known factor in accidents.
•    Inexperience and Lack of Safety Instruction—around 77 percent of deaths occur on boats where the operators do receive boating safety instruction.

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Drunk Boating Accidents

About half of boating accidents and drownings involve alcohol or drugs. And even with PSAs and harsh drunk boating penalties, many boat operators continue to drink and cause serious accidents on Ohio’s rivers and lakes.

Even a few beers can prove dangerous while driving a speed boat, and anyone who is intoxicated and causes an injury can be held liable. Boat drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.10 percent are 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than those who do not drink.

Boat safety is first and foremost, and boat owners should consider the following:

  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink or less per hour
  • If you plan to drink, allow a non-drinker to operate the boat
  • Responsible boaters always refuse to allow an intoxicated person to take the helm

Contributing Factors of Ohio Boat Accidents

•    Operator inattention
•    Operator inexperience
•    Improper lookout—restricted vision
•    Excessive Speed
•    Machinery malfunction—improper light fixtures
•    Weather
•    Navigation rules violation
•    Hazardous waterways
•    Overloading of Passengers or Gear
•    Improper anchoring

Houseboat Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The U.S. Coast Guard and the CDC have become particularly concerned with deadly incidents related to carbon monoxide buildups in houseboats. Single hull houseboats, which have swim platforms that extend behind the back of the boat are of particular hazard. Carbon monoxide exhaust gas from the engines collect in the space under the swimming platform and may reach lethal concentrations.

Large boats, like houseboats, often have generators that vent off the rear of the boat near swimming decks, posing the risk of CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide may build up in the space beneath the swimming deck when a boat is moving at slow speeds or idling.

CO may build up in a boat cabin, galley, cockpit, bridge, and aft swim deck. A draft can cause CO gasses to build up inside the cabin, creating an invisible toxic gas that has caused reported deaths.

Swimming decks can be particularly dangerous when a boat is stopped and the engine idling because the decks are right above where a boat vents exhaust.

Duck Boat Accidents

In 2010, a duck boat accident on the Delaware River killed two passengers after the boat collided with a passing barge. In 2015, a Philadelphia woman died after a duck boat struck her in the street. In the same year, a duck boat crashed into a bus and killed five passengers.

Duck boats are not designed for tourism purposes, though have been used by several companies in unsafe manners. The vehicles were originally designed as military transport vehicles and lack important safety features. Tour operators may also neglect regular maintenance and endanger boat passengers.

The boats lack maneuverability, and because duck boats sit low in the water, they sink easier than other watercraft. Combine such hazards with passengers without life jackets and fatal situations can easily arise. Safety advocates and more than one boat accident lawyer has called for boat safety reforms.

In 2018, a dozen people died in Missouri after the captain of the boat allegedly discouraged passengers from wearing life jackets. The accident in Missouri occurred on Table Rock Lake after a strong storm capsized the duck boat, killing 17 passengers. The boat was owned by Ride the Ducks, a duck boat tour service that operates in Cincinnati, Ohio and several other cities across the country.

Ohio personal injury attorneys and boat accident lawyers are urging boat operators on the Ohio River and other waterways to prevent similar duck boat accidents in the future. About 350 drowning deaths each year in the United States are attributed to boating accidents.

Boat Accident Lawyer

Boating accidents typically occur on lakes or rivers. Many waterways are quite busy with commercial freight vessels which can be responsible for an accident.

Negligent operators and other boats are most likely to cause a serious accident and injury. To help you investigate the cause of a particular accident, contact a boating negligence lawyer.


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Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

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A Voice for Those who have suffered 

Why are these cases important?

Serious injuries and accidents often result through no fault of the injured party, yet the injured victim suffers from life altering physical, mental and financial losses. Such economic and human losses can have devastating financial consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through personal injury lawsuits.


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Questions about Boating Accident Injury Cases

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Any kind of negligence by an individual or company that causes injury or harm can lead to filing a personal injury lawsuit. The amount a plaintiff is entitled to depends on several factors, particularly how egregious the act and how serious the injury.

Personal injury attorneys generally only will take cases on a confidential and contingency fee basis, which means your lawyer will only get paid if he or she is able to reach a settlement or positive verdict. The Lyon Firm will review your case for free and assess what compensation any plaintiff can expect through litigation.

Personal Injury cases can range from minor auto accidents to complex lawsuits filed against large corporations. The Lyon Firm has handled both with equal care. Severe injury requires legal action on occasion, no matter if the injury is the result of a vehicle accident, a dog bite, a boating accident, workplace injury, defective consumer products, medical malpractice, or toxic exposure.

What is the Process?

Pre-Suit Investigation and Negotiations: Personal injury lawsuits are unique and require a thorough investigation before a lawsuit is filed. An initial investigation involves gathering all relevant medical records, accident reports, and interviews with available witnesses.  Preservation letters are drafted to notify the defendant of the case. The duty to preserve electronic evidence is critical in most cases to prevent spoliation.

Filing a Lawsuit in Cincinnati: If pre-suit negotiations are unsuccessful, then a lawsuit must be filed to preserve the statute of limitations.  Filing a lawsuit early in the process is often necessary to begin gathering evidence while the witnesses memories are fresh and documents remain available.

Once suit is filed by your personal injury lawyer, the court will set a case management schedule and the parties will begin exchanging information in the formal process of discovery. Depositions will be taken to preserve testimony for trial and to understand what certain witnesses are likely to say at trial.

Proving Negligence, Causation and Damages: In addition to lay witness testimony and other documentary evidence, personal injury claims rely upon medical and scientific evidence to prove negligence, causation and damages. The chosen expert in a case must have a reliable and sound basis in science and in the facts of the case or his opinion may not be admissible under the rules of evidence.

In the areas of Toxic and Environmental Torts, the admission of expert testimony may be scrutinized harder than in other areas simply because the subject may not have been as widely tested and may rest on novel scientific theories.

Are there any limits to what I can recover?

Each state will vary. Under Ohio law, an injured party may recover damages related to medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, loss of enjoyment of life, past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, and punitive damages. The numerical limits are as such:

  1. Non-Catastrophic Injury:   The non-economic award is limited to $250,000 per plaintiff, or three times the economic loss, up to $350,000 per plaintiff. A maximum of $500,000 for each “occurrence.”
  2. Catastrophic Injury: No limits.

The Lyon Firm may be able to file injury claims and recover rightful compensation for clients for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings and long-term disability.

Why should I hire The Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters.   Personal Injury lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury.  Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results: Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results.

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against negligent individuals or companies to obtain just compensation under the law. 



(Brown County, Kentucky):   The Lyon Firm was second chair a case involving a driver texting and driving when he crossed the median, killing a father of four. The case was resolved once discovery confirmed the cell phone records proved the texting-related incident. The settlement will pay for the surviving childrens’ education. The driver was likely facing additional criminal charges at the time of the settlement.



(Cincinnati, Ohio):  The Lyon Firm was lead counsel in a $495,000 settlement. This case involved a motorcycle operator who sustained fractures of the calcaneus, talus, medial cuneiform, tarsal bones, and tarsometatarsal when a car ignored its driving lane and crossed into his right-of-way. Settlement provided repayment of medical bills of $20,000 and funds for future education to re-enter the work force in a less physically-demanding job.