BOATING & PERSONAL WATERCRAFT ACCIDENTS
Houston Boat Accident Lawyer
Federal and state maritime laws both have their own regulations concerning boat accidents. Because of this, a boating accident can be a complex and challenging process for those who wish to file a claim. At Reich & Binstock LLP, our Houston boat accident lawyers have years of experience in dealing with these types of complicated claims. We have helped numerous clients throughout Texas in recovering compensation for their damages and losses. If you or a loved one seek compensation for your boating accident injuries, reach out to the professionals at Reich & Binstock today.
Causes Of Boating Accidents
Some boating accidents are caused by the negligence of others such that the injured party may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party. In these instances, boating accidents may be attributable to a wide range of causes, such as:
While there are generally no regulations for speed limits for boaters, it is still important to maintain a safe speed. Driving a boat at excessive speeds can make it easier for the driver to lose control of the boat, resulting in the possibility of a dangerous accident.
Plenty of boating accidents have been a result of the captain’s reckless behavior. This behavior can include, but is not limited to, any of the following scenarios:
- Allowing passengers to act recklessly (sitting in dangerous spots while the boat is in motion)
- Attempting to do tricks
- Splashing other boats
- Jumping wakes
- Violating low wake rules
- Not paying attention to other watercraft in the vicinity
- Traveling too close to other boats
- Overloading a boat with too many passengers or cargo
Just as it is against the law for someone operating a vehicle to drive under the influence, it is also illegal for boat drivers. Operating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 is strictly prohibited. If you are caught boating while drunk, you may be hit with a hefty fine or even jail time. For first offenders alone, the penalty for drunk boating may be a $2,000 fine, 180 days of jail time, or both. Charges are even more severe if an accident and/or injuries occurred as a result.
Operating a boat is not as easy as one might think. Someone without the skill or experience needed to properly operate and navigate a boat can easily cause an accident.
Bad weather can be even more dangerous for boaters than it is for drivers. High winds, rain, and stormy weather can make waters extremely choppy and treacherous. Dangerous waters can easily overturn boats or potentially cause a variety of other terrible accidents.
The captain of a boat is responsible for the passengers aboard their watercraft. Passengers should remain seated while the boat is in motion and wear proper protective gear (i.e., life jackets for minors). They should also refrain from causing distraction or obstructing the drivers’ view.
Additionally, a boat driver must be aware of not only what he or she is doing but also what others on the water are doing. Most boating accidents occur when the driver fails to adequately perform one or both duties.
How Do Boat Accidents Happen?
Many people forget that not only do boat accidents occur, but they are quite common, too. There are several potential causes of a boating accident. Many boat accidents occur for similar reasons that a car accident might happen. Some of the more common reasons include negligent operation, alcohol use, or inexperienced driving.
When Are You Required to Report a Boating Accident?
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Code states that operators of any type of watercraft must report accidents to either a local law enforcement agency or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. If the accident resulted in an injury that requires treatment beyond simple first aid care or property damage exceeding $2,000, it must be reported within 30 days of the accident. If the accident resulted in a fatality or a missing person, it should be reported within 48 hours.
What Type of Report Must be Filed if There is an Accident While Boating?
When reporting a boat accident, the operator must provide a full description of the accident in accordance to department regulations. All reports of boating accidents remain confidential and are inadmissible in a court as evidence.
To report a boat accident, contact your local game warden or police station. You can also call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to report the incident at 512-389-4848. A TPWD police communications operator will be available to take reports 24 hours a day.
Before filing the report, there are some measures you must take immediately upon the accident’s occurrence. The first thing you should do as the driver of a boat or watercraft is tend to any other people that may have been affected by the accident, if necessary. If you are able to save them or minimize any further danger without posing risk to the vessel or other passengers, do so. You should also provide your name, address, and identification in writing to any injured persons or if the accident resulted in property damage to another vessel.
How Can a Houston Boat Accident Lawyer Help Me?
If you have been involved in a boat accident, you should seek legal help immediately. An experienced boat accident lawyer can assist in determining the facts of the accident and preserving any evidence that might be useful to your case. This evidence is a crucial piece of your case if you seek compensation for your damages either through a settlement or through the court.
It is not necessary to have an attorney for a boat accident, but it is recommended. Dealing with insurance companies on your own can be frustrating and may get you nowhere if you don’t have the knowledge and skill that a boat accident attorney can provide. Oftentimes, insurance providers will attempt to discredit your claim completely or at least significantly reduce the amount of compensation you’re entitled to. Only with the help of attorneys such as Reich & Binstock can a plaintiff avoid the insurance company trying to make them settle for less or throwing out the claim entirely.
Personal Watercraft Accidents in Houston
Personal watercraft riding, particularly on Jet Skis, is one of the most popular ways to enjoy waterways and sometimes to beat the summer heat. Unfortunately, riding in a personal watercraft also can be dangerous. Most personal watercraft injuries are caused by operator negligence.
Due to a watercraft’s size and overall lack of protection afforded to the driver, personal watercraft accidents may result in debilitating injuries and even death.
Houston Boat Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has received injuries in a boating accident, contact our Houston attorneys at Reich & Binstock today for a free consultation. You should do so as soon as possible, as you may only have a limited amount of time to make a claim. Either use our contact form provided below or call 713-622-7271 or 800-622-7271 toll free.
There is a never a fee unless we recover on your behalf.