If you’ve been injured in a boating accident and are looking for compensation for the losses you’ve endured, consult a knowledgeable Lake Charles boat injury attorney immediately.
Many people are unaware of the fact that boat accidents in Lake Charles are quite common. To comprehend the seriousness of these incidents, it is important to understand boating accident facts and why obtaining a skilled boating accident lawyer is so vital if you have been hurt.
Recreational boating accidents can range from single vessel occurrences to more serious incidents where vessels interact with each other, such as yachts, jet skis, kayaks or inflatable pontoons. It is usually due to the negligent behavior of someone involved.
If you were involved in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to receive personal injury compensation for the damages you incurred. At Wright and Gray Law Group, we make it our top priority to ensure that victims are justly compensated for their damages. This way they can spend the necessary time on healing without worrying about money issues.
Louisiana’s shoreline on the Gulf Coast is perfect for a boating adventure. However, it is important to remember that with the joy of exploring the water comes certain risks and potential for an unfortunate accident. Unfortunately, Lake Charles is not immune to boating tragedies. Boaters might end up with just minor scrapes or deep wounds – but sometimes it leads to the worst outcome of all – death.
It is essential for boaters in Lake Charles to be aware that they can file a personal injury claim if they face an accident. Once the parties responsible for the accident are identified, they can pursue compensation. For this, it is necessary to enlist the services of reliable personal injury lawyers in Lake Charles.
What Is Classified as a Boating Accident?
Boating accidents are very common and range from minor incidents to more serious ones. Generally, these incidents involve a boat or other vessels and could be due to a variety of reasons, such as faulty equipment, bad weather conditions or careless handling.
- Commercial vessels
- Fishing boats
- Recreational vessels, such as yachts
Boating 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 be extremely harmful and even fatal. Staying underwater for too long can lead to brain damage, while boat accident-related deaths are far from uncommon. When such fatalities occur, they would usually be determined as wrongful death due to human negligence.
Boating Accident Statistics
Despite being a relatively uncommon form of travel, boating accidents are more common than people think. The US Coast Guard reported 3,329 boating accidents in 2020 alone, showing that these incidents shouldn’t be taken lightly. Tragically, boating accidents resulted in 407 deaths and 1,764 injuries. These figures demonstrate the importance of exercising caution while on the water.
Get in touch with an experienced Lake Charles boating accident attorney now to ensure that your rights are safeguarded.
What Are the Causes of Boating Accidents?
Boating disasters rarely occur randomly. There are several elements that can have an influence on a boating accident, which we are going to be looking into further.
- Operator Error: Boat operators are commonly the contributors to many boat accidents. Whether it be from inattention or distracted boating, their actions or lack thereof can cause dangerous situations. To have a safe experience, it’s important for operators to remain focused and diligent while operating their vessel. Naivety on the part of the operator can be a major cause of boating accidents. For example, when someone inexperienced with boating is presented with an unfamiliar weather or sea condition, it can often lead to tragedy.
- Over-Speeding: Boats, just like all other vehicles, have a risk of accidents when speed limits are breached. Consequently, there are speed regulations in place for operators on waterways to abide by. This helps keep boaters safe so that they can enjoy their time on the water. Boating collisions are often caused by going too fast and not allowing the person in charge to take notice of any potential risks on time. Speeding doesn’t give them enough time for avoidance.
- Faulty Machinery: Meaningful maintenance of boats is integral to their performance on the water. Negligence of upkeep can lead to certain parts malfunctioning while also, in some cases, a manufacturing defect can potentially cause issues with the boat.
- Bad Weather:Boat collisions can often be attributed to hazardous weather conditions, as well as dangerous waters. Sadly, lack of experience sometimes leads operators to go on trips without checking the weather, which can be risky. Consequently, once they come across hazardous seas or inclement weather, there may not be enough time to turn back safely.
Lake Charles Boating Laws and Requirements
Since the boating accident statistics paint a gory picture, it’ll help to know Louisiana’s boating laws. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is responsible for Lake Charles’ boating laws.
Eligible Boat Operators
Everyone cannot qualify as a boat operator in Lake Charles. Instead, you must be 16 and above to operate a personal watercraft. Furthermore, you may run a motorboat over ten horsepower or personal watercraft only after completing an approved boater education course. This requirement is for persons born after January 1, 1984. Conversely, a person above 18 who has completed an approved boater education course can accompany you.
Rules of the Road
Louisiana also has rules of the road for vessel operators. Disobeying any of these rules attracts a fine of $300 or 30 days imprisonment. For example, the regulations require that vessels passing head-on must keep to their respective rights. In addition, vessels must respect each other’s right of way. Similarly, motorboats must maintain a direct course while passing sailboats.
There are other relevant rules, including that:
- Boat operators must not overload their vessels with passengers or cargo
- Vessels must not carry any motor or other propulsion machinery beyond their safe power capacity
- Operators must not allow anyone to ride or sit on the starboard or port gunwales
- Boats should never enter restricted areas marked for bathing or swimming
- Spilling oil or oily waste into the river is unlawful
Who Is Liable in a Boating Accident?
Boat accident victims often don’t know who to sue after boating collisions. However, since Lake Charles is in a fault-accident state, determining the responsible party is crucial. So, we analyze the various parties who could be liable for boating accidents.
Vessel operators hold the lives of passengers in their hands. This is because they’re the ones controlling the boats. So, operators can cause accidents in the following ways:
- Not providing a life jacket for every passenger
- Ignoring a reckless passenger’s activities
- Driving the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Disregarding boating laws
Yes, a boat passenger could be the responsible person in a boat crash. This would be the case where such a passenger acted recklessly or negligently on board the boat. For example, imagine a passenger pushing another boat occupant into the water. Now, imagine the passenger in the water cannot swim. If anything happens to such a person, the passenger that pushed them into the water will be liable.
Boat accident victims can also sue the vessel owner for loaning their boats to an unqualified operator. Furthermore, the boat manufacturer could be liable where the accident was from a manufacturing defect. Finally, a rental company that neglected the boat’s maintenance may also be the fault party.
Recoverable Damages in Lake Charles Boating Accidents
If you establish liability for a boat accident, you can recover damages. The fault party or relevant insurance companies will pay the following recoverable damages.
- Medical Bills: Medical expenses are the most crucial form of boat accident damages. This is because almost every boating accident victim will require medical attention.
- Lost Wages: You may be unable to work because of internal or physical injuries. Here, you can recover all your lost wages from the responsible party.
- Property Damages: It’s pretty easy for water to destroy any valuable property you brought aboard the ship. If this happens, the fault party will replace them
Some sufferings from boating accidents are intangible. However, the law doesn’t ignore them. Instead, it assigns them dollar amounts, and the fault party pays. These losses include:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A deceased’s family can also recover burial expenses in wrongful death cases. Finally, it’s noteworthy that you must file boating accident and wrongful death claims within one year from the accident or death.
Were You Injured in a Boating Accident?
If your boating injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
Wright Gray’s Boating Accident Lawyers in Lake Charles Can Help You
Have you survived a boat collision in Lake Charles? If you have, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation from the fault party. First, however, you’ll need legal representation from the best boating accident attorneys available. First, boating accident lawyers will determine accident responsibility. After that, you can file a boat accident claim for compensation.
Wright & Gray have extensive experience with boating accident claims. If you call us today, we can use our expertise to set you on the path of financial recovery from your boating accident losses.