Austin Personal Injury Blog

Recreational Boating Accidents and Lake Liability

Posted By The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC || 6-Jun-2018

Recreational boating is a great summer activity enjoyed by many in Austin, TX. However, sometimes accidents occur.

If you get injured while boating, you need to able to prove that the harm you suffered resulted from another person’s negligence in order to recover damages from that individual. In other words, you must show that someone failed to act with reasonable care, and that, as a result of that negligence, you sustained an injury.

The following are common boating accidents and how negligence is determined in each scenario:

  • Collide with another boat - In the event when a crash occurs between two boats, both operators are often partly liable. Similar to car accident cases, injured passengers on either boat have a legal case against both operators. However, if one of the operators got injured during the accident, he or she could have a case against the other operator. Keep in mind, this claim only works if the injured operator could argue that they are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
  • Hit another boat’s wake - When a boat strikes a big wake (or wave), the force of the jolt to the boat can knock down passengers or throw them out of their seat or overboard. According to state and federal laws, boat operators are required to keep a lookout for anything that might be considered a hazard to his/her vessel and passengers. In general, the operator’s liability in a wake accident will depend on several circumstances, such as the size of the wake, the boat’s speed, the boat traffic in the area of the incident, the visibility, and whether the operative gave any warning to the passengers before the wake accident.
  • Collide with a rock, the land, or a submerged object - Despite boating in ideal weather and visibility conditions, water vessels can still hit a rock or a submerged object. In poor conditions, the accidents can be devastating. The operator’s liability for a collision with a fixed object will be based on several factors. For instance, if an operator drives the boat at high speeds through a thick fog, without navigational charts or a GPS, and hits a rock, that is considered negligence. If the operator has charts for the area and travels cautiously before striking a fixed object, he/she is most likely not going to be found negligent.
  • Failure to have proper safety equipment on the vessel - Even though failure to have the proper safety equipment on board will not lead to an accident, it can impede the rescue efforts afterward. State and federal boating laws require all boats to have several types of safety equipment on board, including life jackets for each passenger, life rings, fire extinguishers, flares, etc.

Boating accidents can be devastating in nature. Victims can suffer catastrophic injuries, costly medical bills, and lost wages or earning capacity. In worst case scenarios, a victim suffers fatal injuries.

If you have been injured in a boating accident in Austin, TX, request a free consultation with our experienced lawyer at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC today.

Categories: Boating Accidents
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