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Summer brings up images of barbecues, picnics and days spent on the water. As the temperatures continue to rise, more people are flocking to West Virginia’s lakes to take out their boats and have some fun. Before boating season gets into full swing, this may be a good time to remember that boating accidents can be just as serious as car accidents.

This reminder came too late for one group of people who were involved in an accident on Cheat Lake during Memorial Day weekend. Preliminary findings of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) — which will be conducting the investigation into the incident — indicate that shortly before 9 p.m., the 23-foot boat crashed into an embankment and some trees. At this point, the cause of the accident is eluding investigators.

At last report, officials were attempting to make sure that no one else was on board other than the 12 people at the scene. Helicopters were called in to transport three of the victims to hospitals in the area. Of the 12, these three suffered critical injuries and two others were seriously injured. The remaining seven people suffered injuries that varied between minor and moderate.

A captain with the DNR anticipates that the investigation into this accident will take a significant amount of time. In the meantime, the victims will be recovering from their injuries and incurring significant financial losses due to medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. As is the case in car accidents, victims of boating accidents may also file personal injury claims seeking restitution for their damages. Successfully litigated claims will establish that the injuries suffered resulted from the negligence of someone else after which the court may consider entering a monetary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.

Source: CBS Pittsburgh, “12 People Injured In Boating Accident On Cheat Lake“, May 26, 2015