The state of Texas is home to many lakes and bodies of water that make fishing and boating a common pastime. Although you likely do not want to think about the potential for boating accidents, they do occur frequently and often cause significant injuries to boat occupants. When negligence leads to a boat accident, a Houston boat accident lawyer may be able to assist injured parties in seeking compensation for their losses.
Not every boat accident causing injuries leads to an automatic personal injury claim. However, if boat operators are negligent in causing an accident, injury victims may be entitled to compensation. A hard-working attorney could be vital to your ability to recover damages for losses in a boating accident.
Texas Boating Laws and Regulations
Boating laws in Texas are intended to promote safety and minimize the risk of harm when operating vessels, including motorboats and personal watercraft (PWC), like jet skis. These laws, which are overseen by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), regulate matters like (but not limited to):
- Boat operators, including the required education and when operators have to report accidents
- Watercraft, such as the required life-saving gear, lights and other safety equipment for vessels.
While failure to comply with Texas boating laws can result in fines and other penalties, it can also cause boat accidents, injuries and/or deaths. When the latter happens, negligent boat operators, owners and/or others can be liable for compensating victims for the injuries, harm and losses they have sustained.
Common Boat Accidents in Houston
Despite the lure of boating as a fun source of recreation and relaxation, individuals can suffer catastrophic and even fatal injuries in boat accidents. As boating grows in popularity, often among novice boat operators, the number of boat accidents continues to rise. Common types of boat accidents that occur may include:
- Colliding with other boats and personal watercraft
- Grounding or striking fixed objects
- Drowning from boats capsizing or occupants falling overboard
- Flooding or swamping
Mishaps involving personal watercraft and water skiers also commonly result in boat accidents involving injuries. In some cases, these injuries can be devastating, cause permanent impairments, and ultimately result in death.
While mechanical issues can lead to boat accidents, boat operator error is a frequent cause of boat accidents. Whether due to impairment by alcohol or drugs, distraction, or inexperience, negligence by boat operators is the primary cause of many boat accidents. A Houston boat accident lawyer may be able to assist individuals who have suffered injuries due to boat operator error.
Common Causes of Boating-Related Accidents and Injuries
Boating poses inherent dangers to both boat operators and occupants alike. One problem that often arises in recreational boating is operator inexperience. Many new or inexperienced boat operators assume that they can operate boats just as they can operate regular motor vehicles, which is not the case.
For instance, individuals who do not operate boats on a regular basis are likely unfamiliar with boat safety protocols. They may not be aware of the rules for various waterways or the necessity of everyone wearing lifejackets. In other cases, they may be unaware of or fail to heed to “no-wake” zones or rules that exist to prevent boaters from hazards.
Unlike motor vehicles, boats have no brakes. Deceleration is the only way to stop a boat, which takes much longer than stopping a motor vehicle using brakes. As a result, boat operators easily can misjudge the distance needed to stop the boat, which can result in accidents.
Negligence and Boat Accident Claims
Any negligence by boat operators that causes an accident can lead to a personal injury claim for damages. All boat operators, regardless of experience and knowledge, have a duty to operate their boats safely for the protection of everyone on the waterway in question. When boat operators act in a way that falls below this standard of care, their negligence may make them liable for any property damage or personal injuries that result.
Injury victims may be able to seek various damages from negligent boat operators with the assistance of a boat accident attorney in Houston. Some of the potential damages to which injury victims may be entitled include medical expenses, lost income while off work due to injuries, and pain and suffering. Durable medical equipment, rehabilitation costs, and the costs of ongoing medical and personal care also may be compensable items.
Injuries from Boating Accidents
Boat accidents can cause a range of injuries, from physical harm that leads to permanent impairments to psychological damage that may have lifelong impacts. Traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury and disfigurement are among the most common types of boat accident injuries.
Whether a boat accident leaves victims with seemingly minor or catastrophic injuries, it is critical to understand that:
- Getting medical treatment should be the top priority immediately after a boating accident happens.
- An attorney at the Amaro Law Firm can provide essential help, support and representation when it is time to move forward with the legal options and seek financial recovery.
Talk to a Houston Boat Accident Attorney Today
When you or a loved one suffers severe injuries as a result of a boating accident, you likely need legal advice. In the aftermath of a catastrophic accident, you may be unsure where to turn first. A Houston boat accident lawyer may be able to represent your interests in seeking compensation for your losses.
Staying safe always should be a priority while boating. Unfortunately, some boat operators engage in careless conduct that can lead to devastating accidents. When this situation occurs, you should not hesitate to protect your legal rights to compensation by getting the legal advice that you need.