If you’ve been affected by an unfortunate boating accident and are hoping to secure compensation for your losses, it’s best to get in touch with an experienced Lafayette boat accident attorney. They have the knowledge and skill needed to help you receive the justice you’re seeking.
Boating accidents in Lafayette are more frequent than many people believe. It is important to be aware of the risks and take adequate precautions while boating. If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident, it is highly advisable to contact an experienced lawyer who specializes in this area of law.
Carelessness when it comes to recreational boating can lead to disastrous consequences. Collisions between vessels such as yachts, jet skis, kayaks, and inflatable pontoons are common occurrences due to irresponsible behavior.
If you were in an unfortunate boat accident that was due to the carelessness of someone else, you have the lawful right to seek personal injury reimbursement for your losses. At Wright & Gray Law Group, we understand how traumatic it can be to experience a severe injury. We strive to recover damages so victims can concentrate on their recovery and getting their life back to normal.
Louisiana’s Gulf Coast offers a perfect backdrop for thrilling boating experiences, but it also comes with the risk of accidents. Unfortunately, Lafayette boaters often face such tragedies, and if they’re lucky, escape with minor or severe injuries. Unfortunately, in some instances, boaters can be involved in a fatal accident.
Thus, if a boater in Lafayette has been involved in an accident, they can pursue a claim for personal injury. By determining who was at fault for the accident, they can obtain compensatory damages as well. If you’re in need of legal aid, it’s essential to seek out the top personal injury lawyers in Lafayette. This will ensure you get the most effective representation possible.
What Is Classified as a Boating Accident?
Boating accidents are common and easy to explain. Usually, they are caused by somebody’s inattentiveness or negligence while sailing a boat or other vessel. Some of the major causes of these mishaps include weather conditions, improper equipment, lack of experience and awareness, reckless behavior and many more.
- Commercial vessels
- Fishing boats
- Recreational vessels, such as yachts
It’s important to note that boat accidents can take many forms such as:
- Flooding and swamping accidents
- Boat collisions with fixed objects
- Grounding accidents
- Skiing accidents
- Yacht accidents
- Fishing accidents
- Marina and dock accidents
- Party boat accidents
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries like brain damage from drowning. It is not uncommon for them to result in death, which can be classified as a wrongful death if it occurred due to human negligence or recklessness.
Boating Accident Statistics
Contrary to what people may think, boating accidents are actually very common. According to the US Coast Guard, in 2020 there were 3,329 reported boating accidents – despite water transportation being less used than other forms. Tragically, in total 407 people encountered fatal boating accidents, while 1,764 others were hurt.
Get in touch with a Lafayette boating accident lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights and how best to proceed.
What Are the Causes of Boating Accidents?
Most watercraft accidents do not just happen by chance. There are a range of factors that can contribute to them, and we will explain them thoroughly here. It’s essential to take into account the various elements that could cause aquatic incidents.
- Operator Error: Boat operators are one of the major contributors to boat accidents. It can be caused by their inattention, distractions or anything that takes away the operator’s focus while navigating the vessel. It’s important for those in charge to stay vigilant and alert while on board so as to avoid any potential risks. Boating accidents often result from amateur operators not having the necessary experience. For instance, when an inexperienced operator encounters unexpected weather or sea conditions, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
- Over-Speeding: Moving vehicles, including boats, must observe speed limits to avoid accidents. When vessels move too quickly, the driver won’t be able to spot to prevent hazardous situations in time. So, it’s important for boaters to adhere to designated speed regulations on waterways.
- Faulty Machinery: Proper maintenance of boats is essential to keep them running properly. If boat owners fail to do this on a regular basis, any malfunctioning of parts at sea can be attributed to their lack of upkeep. In some cases, however, the malfunctioning may be due to a manufacturing defect.
- Bad Weather: Severe weather and choppy waters can make sailing treacherous, leading to boat collisions. It’s important to check the forecast before setting out, especially if you are an inexperienced operator. Unfortunately, some people don’t take the time to do this and end up putting themselves in danger. Consequently, once they encounter hazardous conditions or turbulent waters, it can be too late to turn back safely.
Lafayette Boating Laws and Requirements
The state of Louisiana has seen many serious boating accidents, so it’s important to be aware of their boating laws. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is the legal governing body which enforces them in Lafayette.
Eligible Boat Operators
Only individuals who are at least 16 years old can qualify for operating a boat in Lafayette. Moreover, they will be allowed to run a motorboat with more than 10 horsepower and personal watercraft only when they have finished an approved boater education course. Anyone born on or after the 1st of January 1984 will qualify for this requirement. Alternatively, an individual aged 18 and above who has taken passed a relevant boater-education program may also join you.
Rules of the Road
Louisiana is strict when it comes to the rules of the road for vessel operators. Failure to follow these regulations can lead to a fine of $300 or imprisonment for 30 days. For instance, two vessels passing head-on must stay on their respective sides of the waterway. Besides, vessels must show each other mutual respect when it comes to using the right of way. Likewise, motorboats should stay on a constant trajectory while overtaking a sailboat.
Apart from this, there are a few other important regulations that need to be kept in mind, such as:
- Operators of boats must be mindful and not exceed their vessel’s capacity with passengers or cargo.
- In order to maintain safety, vessels must not carry any motor or other propulsion machinery that exceeds their approved power capacity.
- For safety reasons, no person is allowed to be on the starboard or port gunwales while the operator is in control of the vessel.
- It is essential to abide by the swimming and bathing restrictions, and ensure that boats do not enter these areas. Doing so will ensure a safe experience for all involved.
- It is prohibited to dump or dispose of oil or oily residues into the river as it causes environmental degradation.
Who Is Liable in a Boating Accident?
When it comes to boat accidents, victims can struggle to identify who should be held responsible for a collision. But in a fault-accident state such as Lafayette, this step is essential as it dictates who could potentially be liable. For this reason, we thoroughly investigate all of the parties that may have played a role in causing the boating accident.
Every time a vessel leaves port, it is the responsibility of the operator to ensure that the voyage is successful and safe. Unfortunately, poor decisions can sometimes cause significant accidents as operators are controlling the boats. Therefore, operators need to be aware of how their actions can have an adverse effect on passengers’ lives.
- Failing to provide life jackets for each passenger is a serious safety concern and should not be overlooked. Doing so can put passengers at risk and can lead to dangerous consequences.
- Overlooking a passenger’s heedless behavior is not advisable and one must take appropriate action to ensure safety in the travel environment.
- Operating a boat while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is highly dangerous and should always be avoided. Such an act puts not only the driver, but all passengers onboard in danger.
- Disregarding boating laws
Absolutely, a boat passenger can be the guilty party in an accident. If they were to behave recklessly or act in a careless manner, then there may be cause for legal repercussions. Take, for instance, if a passenger were to push another person onboard into the water – that could be seen as negligent. It is critically important to consider the swimming ability of a passenger before pushing them into any body of water. If the person is unable to swim, then whoever pushed them in will be held responsible for whatever might happen.
In cases of boat accidents, the vessel owner or manufacturer could be held accountable for their part in the incident. If an unqualified person was given permission to use the boat, then responsibility would fall on the owner. A failure in product quality due to a manufacturing defect could mean that the manufacturer is responsible for any damages caused. The rental company could be held accountable if they failed to put in the necessary maintenance for the boat.
Recoverable Damages in Lafayette Boating Accidents
If you’re able to prove fault in a boat accident, you can claim compensation. The liable party or their relevant insurance provider will reimburse any damages that are rightfully owed.
- Medical Bills: Medical costs are among the most significant forms of boat accident damages. This is due to the fact that virtually every boat crash victim will necessitate medical care.
- Lost Wages: If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, or are restricted from work due to physical or internal damage, you have the right to recover your lost wages from the liable party.
- Property Damages: On ships, keeping your valuables safe from water damage is always a challenge. However, in the unfortunate event that something does get damaged due to water, the responsible party will be liable for the replacement costs.
Despite the fact that some of the implications from a boating incident may not be able to be measured on a physical level, they are still taken into consideration by the law. A monetary value is assigned to each of these and the one at fault must pay for them. These include:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In instances of wrongful death, families of the deceased can be compensated for funeral expenses. Additionally, it is important to remember that claims regarding boating accidents and wrongful deaths must be filed within one year from the incident or passing.
Were You Injured in a Boating Accident?
If you have been hurt while boating because of someone else’s negligence, you could be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Wright & Gray’s Boating Accident Lawyers in Lafayette Can Help You
If you have been through a boat crash in Lafayette and want to secure financial restitution from the at-fault party, you must hire capable boating accident lawyers first. With the right legal team backing you, your chances of getting due compensation are much higher. Boat collision attorneys will first decide the liability for the incident. Then, you can submit a marine mishap claim to receive restitution.
Wright & Gray understand the complexities of boat accident claims and can provide assistance on your path to financial recovery. Get in touch now to find out how our experience can help you with your boating losses.