Texas is a massive state with deep rivers and lakes, as well as a border with the Gulf of Mexico. Is it any wonder that many Texans like to beat the heat of the summer months by heading out on to the water? Boating is both a pastime and a way of life for the people of this great state. Sadly, even boating can turn dangerous when negligence is involved.
At The Lenahan Law Firm, our Dallas personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing victims of personal injuries resulting from a wide range of accidents, including boating accidents. Boating accidents are not often simply random acts. Individuals who act in a manner of negligence or who operate vessels that do not meet the state’s stringent safety requirements are likely to cause such accidents. If you are looking to collect damages for the injuries you have suffered or need assistance negotiating with your insurance adjuster, contact our Dallas boating accident attorneys at (214) 295-1008.
Just like driving a car on a roadway, a motorist must be attentive and careful when operating a boat on waterways. It can be thrilling and exciting to speed across a lake, river, or ocean, but reckless behavior can severely injure passengers, swimmers, and other boaters.
Some incidents may even result in a drowning or other wrongful death. Alongside inattentiveness, other causes of boating accidents include:
- Boating while intoxicated or under the influence (BWI/BUI)
- Improper maintenance of the boat
- Defective product malfunction
When a boating accident involves a collision with another boat or any large object, a fire could break out and cause severe burn injuries. Sharp edges could cause cuts and lacerations, or even an amputation. Crashes can also cause broken bones, head trauma and brain injury, or a spine injury that leads to paralysis.
It is also important to note that boating accidents do not always involve another boat or object. Unfortunately, boats can also collide with swimmers, surfers, paddle boarders, windsurfers, parasurfers, and other individuals in or on the water. Get legal representation from a Dallas wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer today if you have been in any such accident and need compensation for your injuries.
When you are renting a boat, boating with a friend, or going on a tour with a boating company, then proper rules and procedures should always be followed. That way your chance of injury is minimized. If the party responsible for your safety does not follow Texas laws, then they should be held accountable for the damages they caused.
Texas has very strict life jacket laws, including:
- Children under the age of 13 on a boat under 26 feet in length must wear a life jacket at all times when the boat is in motion
- Any boat under 16 feet must be equipped with one life jacket for every person on board
- Any boat longer than 16 feet must have a throwable floating device that is easily accessible onboard
If the boat that you are on does not comply with these rules, then they are in violation of Texas laws and liable for any injuries that those violations lead to. But it is important to note that Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning that even if you are found partially at fault for an accident, such as not wearing a life jacket, you can still recover some damages so long as you are less than 50% responsible. That being said, the level that you are found responsible can impact the amount of compensation that you receive. Meaning, if you were found to be 20% responsible for your injuries or the accident, and you were awarded $100,000 in damages, then you would actually receive $80,000.
The first step to filing a successful personal injury claim is determining who the liable party is. When it comes to boating accidents, finding the liable party may require an extensive investigation into the facts around your accident. That being said, some of the most commonly liable groups include:
The boat owner: Owners, whether they are on the boat or not, are responsible for ensuring that their vessel is safe for passengers and up to code. If they fail to do this, then they are liable for any resulting injuries and property damage.
The boat operator: If the person steering the boat causes an accident due to being negligent, drunk, or otherwise impaired, then they would likely be considered the liable party. Boat operators, just like owners, are expected to follow all rules and regulations set down by state and federal laws. Failing in this responsibility is unacceptable.
The manufacturer or mechanic: Boats need constant maintenance in order to operate safely. If the party responsible for the building of the boat or for maintaining the boat fails to make sure that it is safe, then they may be the responsible party for your accident.
Another passenger: Sometimes other passengers act in a negligent manner that leads to the operator losing control of the vessel. Passengers may be drunk, may panic unnecessarily, or may behave recklessly, all leading to serious injuries.
Finding liability can be difficult, especially in boat accident cases. There is often a lot of chaos associated with boat accidents, and you may not have a clear idea of what even caused the accident in the first place. That is why you should work with an experienced boat accident attorney who can launch a proper investigation into the causes of your accident.
We exclusively represent those who have been severely injured in boating and other accidents. Our firm only accepts as many cases as it can handle and is fully capable of taking your case to trial if necessary. Avvo® and Super Lawyers have both recognized us with the highest honors, further proving our professional service and legal excellence. Consult with a member of our team immediately if you have suffered a serious boating accident injury.
To ensure that your Dallas personal injury attorney will be focused and dedicated to your case, call The Lenahan Law Firm today at (214) 295-1008.
- The Unforeseen And Poisonous Danger Of Boating
- Boating Laws - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Boating Safety - United States Coast Guard