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When Is a Written Boating Accident Report Required in Kentucky or Indiana?

December 12, 2023

Whether you’re a maritime worker or a pleasure boater, no one expects a sunny day on the water to end in tragedy. Boat accidents can happen to anyone, even if you’re equally comfortable at sea as on land.

When recreational vessels and commercial shipping traffic share the waters, as they do in the Ohio River, the risks can be even greater. Tugboats and cargo ships expect personal craft to obey the rules of the water, but personal craft operators may not even know the maritime traffic rules.

Out on the water, it’s easy to get complacent, but most boating accidents are caused by operator distraction. Following a boat accident, you are required by law to file a written report in many cases.

In addition, if you were the victim of another boater’s distracted driving, you may be wondering if you have a legal claim against them. Karl Truman, an experienced boater, Merchant Mariner, and boating accident attorney, can help you with your legal case against an at-fault vessel operator.

Your First Steps After a Boating Accident

Boat accidents can lead to chaos and confusion. Is water entering the boat, or did someone spill their drink? Have all the crew or passengers on the boat been accounted for? Has any property damage occurred?

In the event of an accident, take a deep breath and follow these steps:

  • Attend any injuries: If anyone has been hurt, determine the extent of the injuries, apply first aid, and call for help as needed.
  • Use the VHF radio (channel 16) to call for help away from shore: A “mayday” call on the VHF radio will signal that you need immediate assistance from any boat in the area. A “pan-pan” call will signal that you need help but are not in immediate danger. Use a “pan-pan” call for a very slow leak, a boat that is disabled and adrift, or any other situation that could turn into an emergency. The US Coast Guard and most commercial traffic monitor Channel 16 for distress calls.
  • Call 911: If you require emergency services, call 911. They can calmly walk you through your emergency situation, locate the best place for emergency vehicles to meet you, and/or assist with getting the local Coast Guard to your location.
  • Document the accident: Preserve as much evidence as you can, taking photos, videos, and gathering eyewitness accounts and contact info.
  • Write down what happened: Memories can get fuzzy, so as soon as you can find a quiet moment, write down your own account of the accident.
  • File a written boating accident report, if needed: Keep reading to learn when to report a boating accident.
  • Talk to a boat accident attorney: If you were the victim of a boating accident that caused medical treatment or property damage, talk to a lawyer to see if you can seek compensation for your losses.

If a boating accident occurred in a lake or non-navigable body of water, you should expect the local emergency services to help with any injuries or fatalities.

If the boating accident happened in federal waters, like the navigable waters of the Ohio River, the Coast Guard will most likely get involved with any emergencies. For serious accidents, including those where you expect to have a legal claim against another party, it is a good idea to file an accident report with local law enforcement agencies. In many cases, failing to do so could be a felony offense.

RELATED: Maritime Injury and Jones Act Lawyer

When and How to File a Written Boating Accident Report in Indiana

A man making a phone call while on a boat

Boat accidents in Indiana must be reported if the boating accident results in any of the following:

  • A person dies or disappears,
  • A person has physical injuries or requires medical attention, or
  • Damage to the vessel and other property exceeds $750.

You must immediately notify law enforcement, either the local sheriff or state police.

In order to report boating accidents in Indiana, you need to mail in State Form 42528, which can be found on the Indiana DNR permits and forms page. You must mail in an accident report within 24 hours of the accident.

When and How to File a Written Boating Accident Report in Kentucky

Boating accident reports are required in Kentucky if the boat accident results in any of the following:

  • A person dies or disappears,
  • A person has physical injuries that require medical attention or becomes incapacitated, or
  • Damage to the vessel and other property exceeds $500.

You must report a boating accident within 48 hours if a person disappears, if there is loss of life within 24 hours, or if a person is too injured to perform normal activities.

The boating accident report must be filed within 5 days if the damage exceeds $500, including total boat loss, or if an accident report was not previously needed but later meets the qualifications.

In order to report boating accidents in Kentucky, you need to mail in Form KWP-504, which can be found on the Kentucky Dept of Fish and Wildlife Resources boating guidance page.

If You Were Hurt in a Boat Accident, a Lawyer Can Help

A person meeting with a personal injury attorney after a boating accident

Boating accidents can result in a wider variety of injuries. People on boats are almost never wearing any type of seat belt, so there is a greater risk of injury even in low-speed collisions. When working on a boat is your livelihood, there can also be workplace hazards like unmaintained equipment, lack of training, unsecured cargo, and more.

If you were involved in a boat accident and suffered injuries or property damage as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should call a lawyer now. If you were not the captain of the vessel, make sure that they file the required boating accident reports as further record of the accident and your injuries.

Maritime law is complex and not all lawyers are familiar with it, so it’s important to find a personal injury attorney with experience in the federal law of the water. Karl Truman is not only an avid boater, but a credentialed Merchant Marine and experienced boating accident lawyer.

He can help you collect evidence to rebuild the facts of your case, including the factors that contributed to the boat collision or accident. He has extensive experience in investigating liability for boat accidents, which means discovering who is responsible for the boating accident. Karl Truman will fight for you to recover fair compensation for the damage caused by the accident, and if needed, identify other insurance policies that may cover your accident if you reach the limits of one policy.

RELATED: Karl Truman, Boating Accident Attorney

Call the Colonel For Legal Help with Boating Accidents

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident on the Ohio River, or any of the surrounding bodies of water, call the Colonel. When the law of the water seems murky, Karl Truman’s extensive experience with maritime rules can be invaluable.

For a free consultation, call us at (502) 222-2222 or fill out our contact form. Our team can help you understand your rights and legal options for a boating accident claim.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.