Baton Rouge Boat Accident Lawyer
Every single year, recreational boating accidents cause thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths in the United States. In Louisiana specifically (a notorious party state), boating accidents are incredibly common due to intoxication behind the wheel. Not only can intoxication-related boating accidents lead to DUI charges, but they can also lead to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits from the victims. Below, our legal team discusses everything you need to know about a civil boating accident case, from negligence, to damages, to possible liable parties, and more.
At the Law Offices of Ossie Brown, our team of attorneys can handle both criminal and civil boating accident lawsuits. Whether you’re facing a DUI charge for intoxicated boating or you were catastrophically injured in a boat accident, you need the best legal representation on your side. Call a Baton Rouge boating accident lawyer at 225-343-1111 today to schedule a free consultation.
How Many Boat Accidents Happen in the U.S. Every Year?
Boat accidents occur when someone is injured, or something is damaged in relation to a vessel and its equipment or parts. This can include collision between vessels, sinking, mishap while towing, fires or explosions, and more. Vessels that could be involved in a boat accident include cabin motorboats, open motorboats, pontoons, kayaks/canoes, and personal watercrafts, also known as jet skis.
Over the past two decades, the average number of boat accident injuries caused by recreational boats has slowly decreased. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 2,641 boating injuries in total in 2021, compared to over 4,000 in 2002. In addition, there were 658 casualties due to boating accidents in 2021. When the cause of death could be determined, 81% of deaths were caused by drowning, and of those drowning victims, 83% were not wearing a life vest. Alcohol was the leading cause of fatal boat accidents.
Boating accidents can cause great bodily harm to those involved, but they can also cause damage to personal property. The Coast Guard also estimated that boat accidents in 2021 caused approximately $67.5 million dollars in damaged property.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents in the U.S.
In the same 2021 report, it was found that the top five highest contributing factors to boating accidents that year were:
- Operator inattention;
- Operator inexperience;
- Improper lookout;
- Machinery failure; and
- Excessive speed.
Operator inattention occurs when the person responsible for operating the boat does not pay attention to their surroundings, their vessel, and/or their passengers. Boating under the influence can cause operator inattention.
Operator inexperience is categorized as the lack of experience or knowledge of how to operate a particular vessel. Improper lookout is caused by a lack of attention dedicated to detecting danger. This can occur during a boating crash because no one was designated to be the lookout or if the person designated to be the lookout failed to recognize and/or alert the operator of potential danger.
Other causes of boating accidents can include overcrowding the vessel, hazardous weather, and a lack of safety equipment on board the vessel, such as life jackets or life preservers.
Common Boat Accident Injuries
Boating accidents can cause a range of external and internal injuries. Some of the injuries that can occur in boating accidents include:
- Fractured or broken bones;
- Severe lacerations;
- Loss of limbs;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Deafness or blindness;
- Paralysis; and
- Injuries that result in death.
While most boat-related injuries are non-fatal, boating accidents can cause death in many ways. If a victim is deemed unconscious due to being thrown off the boat or hitting their head, their risk of drowning increases significantly. Additionally, if the boat capsizes, overturns, or floods and passengers cannot swim or become stuck underwater, they may drown.
If you or one of your family members has died due to a severe boating injury, contact a Baton Rouge boating accident attorney at our law firm. Like other personal injury cases, if the accident resulted from negligence, the at-fault party may owe you compensation. To begin filing a claim for your injuries, call Baton Rouge boat accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown so that we can help you on the road to financial recovery.
Can You Sue for a Boating Accident?
Yes, you can sue for a boating accident if the accident occurred due to negligence, especially if the accident resulted in property damage, injury, or death. Victims of boating accidents can also sue manufacturers if their boating accident was caused by defective equipment.
No matter how the accident occurred, a boating accident injury can cause a great deal of physical pain, as well as cause emotional and financial stress. To ensure those responsible are held liable for the damages they’ve caused, boating accident victims should hire a legal team to recover compensation. Personal injury attorneys with trial experience in boat accident cases will know how to handle your case best.
Types of Boat Accident Claims That We Handle
A Baton Rouge boating accident attorney at our law firm has what it takes to represent both sides of a boating accident case: the plaintiff and the defendant. So if you suffer a major boat accident injury, such as a spinal cord injury, we can help you recover compensation. Meanwhile, if you are facing criminal charges for causing a boat crash, a boat accident lawyer at our law firm can represent you as well.
Boating accident victims seeking compensation should be able to prove that their accident resulted from negligence or careless actions. There are four elements of negligence, which are:
- Duty of Care;
- Breached Duty of Care;
- Causation; and
In boating accidents, the duty of care refers to the responsibility of those on the boat and other boats to protect one another. This can include obeying speed limits, looking for potential danger, and operating boats only when sober. Duty of care is breached when someone acts carelessly or recklessly, thus failing to uphold their duty to themselves and those around them.
Causation is the ability to link the breached duty of care to a boating accident. Damages are the physical injuries, property damage, or other consequences of the boating accident, including economic and non-economic consequences. Economic damages can take the form of lost wages and/or medical bills; non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and lowered quality of life.
Boating Under the Influence
Like a car accident involving a drunk driver, if a drunk boat operator causes a boating accident, they may be held responsible for any damages caused. Operator inattention was the highest cause of boating injuries in 2021, and boating under the influence can cause the operator of the vessel to use poor judgment, have a lack of coordination, and experience reduced depth perception, among many other things. Those impaired by alcohol or drugs should not operate a boat and may face fines if they are found to be boating under the influence.
While we help those who have been injured as a result of drunk boating, we also help those who have been charged with boating while under the influence. If you are seeking a better sentence or charge, call us at (225) 343-1111 and schedule your free legal consultation. Our skilled legal defense team can help you achieve the best outcome possible regarding the circumstances.
Possible Liable Parties in a Boat Accident
Multiple people could be considered negligent and held responsible for a boating accident. The person operating the boat may be liable for damages if they cause a boating accident recklessly. Examples of reckless operation include hitting a wave, a rock, or the wake of another boat, speeding, and ignoring safety precautions.
There are also many ways in which the boat’s operator is not the negligent party. If a boating accident occurred due to a parts malfunction, the boat’s manufacturer may be responsible for the damages.
The boat’s condition may be a contributing factor in an accident, in which case the owner or owners would be responsible. For example, if a company rents out a boat that has not been regularly serviced, it may be found negligent in the case of an accident. A rental company or boat owner may also be liable for damages if they give control of the boat to a minor or someone who is inebriated.
Boat accidents can also involve more than one boat. If two boats crash into one another, one or both of the boat operators may be found to be negligent.
When Should You Report a Boating Accident in Louisiana?
During a boating accident, multiple things need to be done. The boat’s operator should stop the vessel at the scene of the incident. If other vessels are involved in the accident, both boat operators should stop their vessels. The vessel operator should also provide those injured with their name, address, and vessel identification information. Sharing information, including insurance information, can help many victims file boating accident claims.
If a boating accident results in the injury, death, or disappearance of a person or causes more than $500 worth of damage to property, the vessel’s operator must contact law enforcement and file a boating incident report in Louisiana. If anyone is in need of any medical help due to injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, head injuries, or even death, they should request an ambulance or other emergency medical services.
How to Report a Boating Accident in Louisiana
After notifying law enforcement of the accident, the boat operator must fill out a boating incident report and provide the LDWF with a full description of the incident, including the cause or causes of the accident. This report must be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within five days of the incident. If the boat operator is injured in the boat crash and is not capable of filling out the report, the other passengers have a responsibility to notify the department of that fact.
Boat Accident Damages
If a boating accident occurred as a result of negligence, those injured in the accident may be entitled to compensation for any economic or non-economic damages caused. Some of these damages can include compensation for
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capability;
- Medical bills;
- Destruction of property;
- Emotional distress;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lower quality of life; and
- Funeral or burial costs in the event of fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, a Baton Rouge boating accident attorney can help you seek compensation and recover damages.
Call a Baton Rouge Boat Accident Lawyer at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown TodayAfter a boating accident, victims who have been seriously injured may have a long road of physical recovery ahead of them. Our boating accident attorneys can help those victims also begin their journey toward financial recovery, which is just as important. If you are looking for legal counsel following a boating accident, The Law Offices of Ossie Brown can help you recover damages for medical expenses, property damages, and more. Call (225) 343-1111 to schedule a free initial consultation where we can assess the situation and help decide the best plan of action.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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