Salt Lake City Boating Accident Lawyer

Salt Lake City Boating Accident Lawyer

Although Utah is a desert state, there are countless destinations for boating, which are especially popular during the warm summer months. Sadly, boating accidents tend to occur around this time, and Utah happens to be one of the deadliest states for boating accidents. If you or a loved one was injured in a Utah boating accident, contact an experienced Salt Lake City boating accident lawyer at Esquire Law today.

Most boating accidents occur as a result of negligent behavior on the part of the other boat operator, and we know how to prove the operator’s actions caused your injuries. We’ll navigate Utah maritime laws and boating regulations and handle all negotiations with insurance companies to recover maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

Why Choose a Salt Lake City Boating Accident Lawyer?

At Esquire Law, our attorneys are highly experienced in handling boating accident cases and navigating Utah maritime laws. Boating has its own set of laws, and they differ by state, so it’s important to choose a lawyer who’s uniquely familiar with boating accidents in Utah.

Other than a mandatory youth certification course required to operate personal watercraft, there are very few formal boating safety education requirements for boat operators under Utah law. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the majority of boating accident deaths occurred in accidents where the boat operator did not receive boating safety instructions. 

Unfortunately, Utah has one of the highest rates of boating accidents in the United States. In 2022, there were 43 boating accidents, and the fatality rate of these accidents was higher than the national average. 

Utah has more than 100 waterways that are considered boatable bodies of water. Nearly half of all Utah boating accidents occur at Lake Powell, followed by Bear Lake, Willard Bay, and Utah Lake. Boating accidents have also increased across the country in recent years, but Utah has higher-than-average fatality rates, accounting for 10 or more deaths per 100,000 registered vessels. 

Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Utah

Boating accidents most commonly occur as a result of operator negligence, including inattention or inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and alcohol use. Boating accidents most often happen in good visibility and calm waters, demonstrating the prevalence of operator error.

Boating Under the Influence

We know that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a leading cause of car accidents, and it’s no different with boating. Operating a boat requires attention and coordination, and doing so while under the influence can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Although boats travel at a lower speed than cars and sometimes there are no other boats around, the water is an unpredictable environment. The current can be stronger than anticipated, and this can make it hard to control the vessel, even for sober operators.


Most boating accidents occur in good weather and visibility, so speeding often plays a role. This gives operators less time to notice and slow down to avoid collisions. Speeding also increases the chances of flipping the boat, and in rough waters, it might be impossible to right the vessel.

Operator Error

One of the most common causes of boating accidents is operator error. This can be everything from failing to keep a proper lookout to making improper turns. In some cases, operators may not have enough experience or training to operate the boat safely.

Distracted driving is as much a problem on the water as on the roads.

Lack of Safety Equipment

Every boat should have safety equipment onboard, including life jackets and fire extinguishers. If operators do not have this equipment, if it’s defective, or if it’s not properly maintained, accidents can cause more severe injuries or even death.

For example, if a fire breaks out on the boat and the extinguisher doesn’t work, this scenario can quickly turn deadly. If the boat sinks or occupants must exit the boat, life jackets are necessary to save lives.

Defective Equipment

Safety equipment and all components of the boat must be in good working order to effectively prevent accidents. Many boats today have GPS. If the GPS fails, the operator might get lost or end up in dangerous waters. 

The engine, lights, horn, and flares are other examples of equipment that needs to be functional and well-maintained. 

Types of Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can involve people, boats, and other personal watercraft (PWC).

Types of boating accidents can include:

  • Two-boat collisions
  • Accidents caused by manufacturing or design defects
  • Collisions between boats and personal watercraft (PWC)
  • Injuries from striking fixed objects like docks or piers
  • Injuries from being thrown off a PWC
  • Swimmers being hit by a boat or Jet Ski
  • Swimmers being struck by a propeller
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning, primarily on vessels with living quarters like houseboats

Utah Boating Laws

The statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim for a boating accident in Utah is years. This means you must file your case within four years from the date of the accident, but the sooner you file, the better. 

Showing that the at-fault operator violated boating laws or acted negligently is the centerpiece of any boating accident case. The Utah Chapter 18 – State Boating Act requires that boat owners register their boats, that boaters comply with safety rules and regulations, and that boats have the necessary safety equipment. 

Boaters at fault for accidents face penalties described in Section 73-18-12 through Section 73-18-13.5.

The Role of Negligence in Boating Accidents

Because operator negligence is a major cause of boating accidents, it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer who can prove that the operator is liable for your injuries. If a boat operator is found negligent in any way when involved in a Utah boating accident, they can be held liable for pain and suffering and monetary damage incurred as a result of their actions.

What You Should Know About Compensation After a Boating Accident

The amount of compensation you may be able to receive after a boating accident depends on the specifics of your case. An experienced Salt Lake City boating accident lawyer can estimate the recoverable damages in your case based on operator negligence, law violation on the part of the other operator, and other facts. 

Building your personal injury claim requires careful examination of the facts and physical evidence. The estimate of recoverable damages may change as your case progresses and your attorney negotiates with the other party.

How a Salt Lake City Boating Accident Lawyer Can Help

Only a licensed attorney can tell you if you have a boating accident case and provide a fair estimate of your recoverable damages.

You may have a strong case if:

  • You have proof that the boater operated their vessel recklessly or even maliciously
  • You or other passengers suffered injuries during the accident
  • You or other passengers received medical attention
  • Someone lost their life during the accident
  • Law enforcement came to the scene, took statements, and filed a report

However, even if you suffered only minor injuries or your losses were related to property damage, an attorney may be able to help you show negligence on the part of the other operator and receive compensation to cover your injuries and losses. 

A key piece of evidence in boating accident cases is the boating accident report. This report contains information about what happened, where it happened, and who was involved. Your attorney will request a copy of this report as soon as possible.

Then, your lawyer will begin collecting evidence. This can include reviewing weather reports, taking photographs of the scene, and interviewing witnesses. In some cases, your lawyer will hire an accident reconstruction specialist to determine what happened during the accident. This is especially common in boating accidents where there are no eyewitnesses and it’s not clear what happened. An accident reconstructionist can piece together the evidence to explain a likely scenario of what happened. 

Next, your lawyer will handle all communications with the operator’s insurance company, boat rental or leasing companies, or boat manufacturers to get you the compensation you deserve. These companies will often try to shift blame to the victim to avoid paying a fair amount of compensation. Your lawyer will secure a fair settlement out of court or take your case to trial if necessary. 

Choosing the Right Boating Accident Attorney

Hiring an experienced attorney who has handled boating accident cases gives you the best chance of winning your case and securing maximum compensation

At Esquire Law, we have over two decades of trial experience and a dedicated team of boating accident lawyers to ensure you get the full compensation you’re entitled to. We’ll collect all the relevant evidence and help you file the right paperwork for your claim so you can focus on your recovery. 

Because we work in the best interest of our clients, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay us until we win your case, and our former clients report complete satisfaction with our legal services. 

Client Testimonials & Reviews

“I spoke with Esquire Law about an accident I had that the police placed me at fault. I wasn’t really expecting it to go anywhere, but they took my case and in no time they had a settlement offer for me. The settlement was way more than I expected. They were friendly and actually cared about me. I am grateful for the work they did and will recommend them to everyone.” —Daniel E.

“Esquire Law’s Salt Lake office did EVERYTHING for me from the first phone call. Hassle free, easy, and empathic. Everything was straight to the point and they recovered a great settlement. Would definitely recommend!!!” —Tonya Y.

“Esquire law has been spot on when it comes to making sure I’m comfortable… healthy… and remain in constant contact with me as far as my case is concerned, letting me know. I’m in great hands. Hats off to you esquire law.! Thank you for not making me feel like any ole number… You guys are the best.” —Charley H.

Get Help Now With Your Boating Accident Claim

If you were injured in a Utah boating accident, don’t wait to get the compensation you deserve. Evidence and memories can fade as time passes, so you should contact an attorney and file a boating accident claim as soon as possible.

The expert lawyers at Esquire Law are ready to use all means at their disposal to secure you the highest possible amount of compensation so you can recover and move on with your life.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation case consultation today.