Private Vessel Injury



1. What should I do if I am involved in a boating accident?

Most boating accidents require a report to either the state agency regulating boats or to the United States Coast Guard or both. If an operator is involved in a collision with another boat or an ‘allision’ (which means striking a fixed object or a non-moving vessel), he or she should immediately contact the state agency regulating boats to ascertain what type of report is required, if any. A reporting requirement is generally triggered if the boating accident involves personal injury requiring medical treatment beyond immediate first aid or damage to any vessel or other property above a certain specified amount, frequently $500. Failure to remain on the scene, render aid, and timely report the boating accident to an appropriate law enforcement agency is a crime. Report the incident to your insurance company to be safe and always if a state or federal report was made.

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2. What should I do if I am asked by a news reporter for an interview or to make a comment?

Because this communication may be very important later on in your claim, an appropriate response is “no comment.”

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3. What should I do if I am asked by an insurance adjuster to make a recorded statement?

Do not give an insurance adjuster a recorded statement. You have the right to refuse to give a recorded statement. The adjuster is not your friend. He or she wants to limit your claim and if possible will use the statement against you later on in your claim. An appropriate response to an insurance adjuster under the circumstances would be ‘I’m not ready at this time to make a statement or answer your questions.’, ‘May I have your name, your company’s name, and your telephone number and I will get back with you soon.’ This response gives you room to breathe and time to contact your attorney.

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4. But do I need an attorney if I’m injured in a boating accident?

Because of the intricacies of the law related to boating, you can probably formulate your own answer to this question. The chances of successfully settling a claim for a fair amount to the plaintiff are extremely low. It may be possible to settle your claim for a mere nuisance value if you wish to do so, but beyond that it will probably be necessary for you to seek the assistance of an attorney that handles admiralty and maritime matters.

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5. Why should I choose you to represent me or my family?

Professionally, our firm is prepared to undertake your case. We have many years experience working against insurance companies and defense law firms, and we can put that experience to work for your benefit.

Gerald McGill learned boat safety while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering at the source of boating safety in America; the United States Coast Guard Academy. He later commanded two Coast Guard Cutters with the responsibility of rescuing boating accident victims and investigating the circumstances of the accident.

The experience of our firm will benefit you in the investigation of this accident and in the preparation and presentation of your claim for settlement or trial.

We are in good standing with the Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi Bars and in good standing with the Federal Courts including the United States Supreme Court. We are in the business of representing people and families just like you.

Should you choose not to have us represent you, we still urge you to seek the assistance of experienced maritime attorneys.

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6. How can you help me if I live in another state or city from your law offices?

Even though our main office is in Pensacola, Florida, we will travel across the nation to you in an appropriate case. In some cases, we may have to associate with a local attorney in states other than the gulf coast states of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, in order to comply with local state rules.

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7. How are your legal fees paid?

We collect a fee only if we recover for you. We charge you a “contingent fee” which is usually one third of the total amount we recover. We advance on your behalf the costs to investigate and prosecute your claim. If we don’t make a recovery for you, you owe us nothing. Our fee and recovery of our funds advanced for costs are contingent upon the recovery of money damages for you either through settlement or by a court judgment.

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8. How do I make an appointment with you?

You can e-mail us or telephone us directly. You may also send us a quick message via our online form. Upon receipt of the form or a telephone message from you we will contact you personally and immediately.

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9. What about sensitive personal information?

We hold all communications from you in the strictest of confidence and will not disclose to anyone without your permission any information. Even if you don’t decide to retain us the information you provided us is held in strict confidence and will not be disclosed without your permission.
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