Boat Accident Injury Lawyer
Legal Representation for Victims of Boating Accidents
Free Consultation • Available 24/7
Across the United States, boaters and jet ski operators often find themselves becoming the victims of other boaters’ reckless behavior or negligent repair and maintenance practices can lead to avoidable injuries and property damage. It is not uncommon for many drivers to be without a proper drivers’ license required to operate a boat. As a result, boating accidents occur all too frequently throughout the state of Texas, involving both tourists and residents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a water vessel accident, contact a boat accident injury lawyer.
Because there are so many types of boats, there are several different types of water vessel accidents. Some accidents are minor and do not result in much damage or injuries to those involved. However, in some cases, boat accidents can lead to severe injury or death. In those situations, you need an experienced boat accident injury lawyer to get the recovery you deserve. A boat or other water vessel company that fails to maintain its equipment allows the vessel out in dangerous conditions or let a negligent employee drive the vessel can be held responsible for the injuries. We can help you recover damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.
We have more than 40 years helping victims of personal injuries in boating accidents.
What are the most common reasons for boating injuries?
In 2017, the Coast Guarded reported almost 4,300 accidents. Also, there were over 650 deaths and more than 2,600 injuries. These crashes account for more than $46 million of damage to property and millions of dollars in medical bills. Based on a recent study completed by the United States Coast Guard, the top five types of recreational boating accidents are:
Collisions with other recreational boats
Collisions with other vessels are the most common type reason for boating injuries. Operator inattention is the top contributing factor to boating accidents. Also, alcohol use is the top contributor to the number of boating deaths that occur each year. It is important to remember that alcohol impairs your brain on both water and land. Other contributing factors include:
- Improper lookout
- Operator Inexperience
- Machinery Failure
Flooding and capsizing
Boats are inherently stable. However, too much weight on a boat leads to instability. This instability can lead to a boat capsizing. Aside from putting too many people on a boat, other ways a boat can become unstable is from improper maintenance that leads to leaks or other bad weather. These two instances can cause the vessel to fill with water and sink or capsize.
Collisions with fixed objects
In 2017, 17 percent of boating accidents involved a fixed object such as post or rock. These types of collision are easily avoidable. For example, by simpling paying attention and avoiding alcohol, these types of crashes drivers can prevent injuries.
Grounding is the fourth most common type of boating accidents. These types of accidents occur when sandbars and underwater landmasses are not visible.
Falling overboard is one of the fifth most common cause for boating fatalities. It’s a problem for both large and small boats. On small boats, operator error or recklessness such as sharp turns, sudden stops, and quick stops can launch a passenger into the water. On the other hand, larger vessels without proper railing contribute to the likelihood of a passenger falling overboard. These railings help keep passengers from nearing the edge of a boat.
Maintaining a safe speed is crucial to avoiding injuring others in the water. A vessel operator traveling at high speed risks throwing passengers of the boat when making a turn. Further, much like on land, you run the chance of causing an accident with another boat or going through marked areas where recreational swimming is occurring.
Boating on a holiday weekend can be dangerous because of the number of boats likely on the water. These congested waters can create extremely hazardous conditions. Also, strong currents, shallow water, and rocks can present hazards for major accidents.
Several other types of accidents lead to boating injuries or death. One of which is water skiing. While it is one of the more fun water activities, it is also a common type of boating accident. Simply hitting the water at a bad angle, being pulled by a poor driver and drowning are all risks water skiers face. Also, propellors injuries are also a common cause of serious water activity injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered a boating accident injury caused by the negligence of another person, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have a qualified boating accident injury lawyer ready to assist you.
Which boats have the highest capsizing risks?
Small boats have the highest chance of capsizing. In fact, 41 percent of capsizes were 15-19 feet. These boats were typically fishing boats with large, hard to drain cockpits. These accidents occur most when these boats are out in bad weather and become overloaded.
Nearly all of capsizes can be attributed to one of three reasons
The first, as mentioned, the most common reason is too much weight poorly distributed on the vessel. Small boats are much more susceptible to an extra person onboard or too many heavy coolers. In addition, the longer you own a boat, the more likely it is to gain weight. By storing things on your vessel, you are adding more weight. There are some safety measures in place to prevent capsizing in smaller boats. Boats under 20-feet are required to have:
- Flotation devices on board
- Displayed capacity plates that state how much weight and how many people can be on board
Exceeding capacity limits is taking a big risk with your safety and those you invite on board your vessel. It can also leave you open to lawsuits if someone suffers an injury.
The second reason for capsizing is leaking. In some cases, it’s something as simple as forgetting to put the plug to the drain in. Other times it’s leaking fittings. No matter what the cause is, when water is sloshing around on the bottom of a boat it leads to instability.
The third most common reason for capsizes is bad weather. Severe weather can capsize even the largest boats. Boats with full loads or that sit low in the water are at risk of being overwhelmed by waves or even wake in the water.
The Dangers of Duck Boats
While duck boats are popular forms of water recreation activities, there has been concern about the safety of this particular type of vessel for decades. While the Branson, Missouri duck boat incident is the most tragic in recent memory, it is not the first.
The dangers of duck boats have been documents for at least two decades. Duck boats have been linked to more than 40 deaths since 1999. However, the U.S. has failed to take action on the dangerous design flaws of the vessels.
What are the Design Flaws on a Duck Boat?
Life vests are usually available on duck boats. However, the issue is not the availability of life vests, rather the design of the vessel. Because of the way a duck boat is constructed, there are no escape hatches on duck boats. The canopies are particularly dangerous. A duck boat’s canopy can trap people inside of the boat if it goes under. Even if you have on a life a jacket, you will float to the top and won’t be able to get out. And if you aren’t wearing a life jacket, you will have to fight your way through a window in the canopy to get out.
The duck boat accident in 1999 in Hot Springs, Arkansas where 13 people were killed prompted The National Transportation Safety Board to recommend that canopies no longer be on duck boats. However, duck boat companies did nothing to remove the danger.
Another design flaw of duck boats is that the driver is about 10 to 12 feet behind the bow. This makes it difficult for the driver to see what is directly in the boat’s path. This can lead to both land and water crashes.
Duck boats are just as susceptible to bad weather and rough waters as other types of boats. However, because they are recreational boats, owners and operators have a responsibility to avoid rough waters and keep a close eye on changing weather patterns. Failure to do so is deadly.
Jet Ski Accidents and Negligence
Jet skis can be rented at many lakeside and beachside locations. While they are exhilarating, they can also be very dangerous. The combination of speed, rough waters and a lack of experience can lead to tragic accidents. Operating these vessels under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also contribute to many deadly situations. In many cases, jet ski accidents occur when an owner fails to keep up with the maintenance of the vehicle.
If the jet ski fails in any way, the rider or riders are susceptible to serious injuries and death. In addition, businesses renting out jet skis should make sure the renter are properly trained on how to use the craft.
If you or a loved one suffered injury as the result of a negligent jet ski rider contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have a boat accident injury lawyer ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.
What Can a Boat Operator Be Considered Negligent For?
You can hold a boat operator responsible for negligence for a number of reasons. The Carlson Law Firm handles several types of claims for boating accidents. Contact a Carlson Law Firm Boat Accident Injury Lawyer if you suspect negligence in the following areas:
- Operator hit a wave or wake at an excessive speed
- Navigating in bad weather which led to individuals falling overboard
- Contact with propellers
- Failure to carry proper safety equipment on board
- Ignorant of boating laws
- Overcrowding or overloading of the vessel
- Striking a motionless object
- Poor maintenance
In addition to these, if you suspect your vessel’s driver operated the vehicle you were on while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Alcohol is responsible for more than 50 percent of all boating accidents in the United States. If you were on a boat and suffered injuries because of an operator’s poor choices, a boat accident injury lawyer can help.
Our firm also handles reckless and careless operation cases. Boating operators are required to handle their vessel with care, particularly when there are passengers aboard. When this fails to happen they open themselves to civil litigation.
Boating accidents can lead to very serious injuries that can alter your life forever. Because of this, you should never hesitate to contact a boating accident injury attorney. You deserve to have your medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages covered. The Carlson Law Firm has been representing personal injury clients for more than 40 years. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What A Boat Accident Injury Lawyer Can Do For You
Legal claims involving water accidents can involve complex legal and technical issues. An experienced boat accident injury lawyer knows the particulars of maritime law, which comes with its own rules about filing claims and submitting pleadings to the court. The liability rules also differ in some ways from those that govern car owners or tour bus operators.
Our team of personal injury lawyers handles accidents involving boats, wave runners, jet skis, and all types of watercraft, large, or small. Whether you were an operator or a passenger of a watercraft, or a swimmer involved in a boating accident, we can help.
If you or a family member have been injured in a boat accident and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Texas boating accident attorney, contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation. We have a team available to take your call 24/7.