Have you ever gotten in a boating accident before? If you have been a boat accident victim, you know how severe they can be. They can cause mental or emotional distress and physical injury. Sometimes, they could even be fatal. It is worse when you realize that someone’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident.
Below, we explore who is liable for boating accidents on Texas lakes. We also examine the causes of these accidents and what laws apply to a boat accident claim in Texas. If you have been in a watercraft accident, contact a Texas boat accident lawyer as soon as possible to get started on claiming financial compensation for injuries and damages.
One can hold one or more of the following parties liable in a boating accident.
The operator of the boat should ensure that the passengers are safe. They should not be intoxicated while operating the vehicle or recklessly operate the boat. If they do any of these or disregard boating laws, you can hold them liable if a boating accident occurs.
As operator inattention is one of the top causes of fatal boating accidents. You, along with your boating accident attorney, can ensure that they are held liable.
If you are on a recreational boat, then the operator or owners should provide an approved life jacket in excellent condition. It must be the wearer's size, not a size smaller or larger. The lifejacket must also be enough for all the passengers on board. If they do not have enough life jackets or do not require their passengers to wear them, they might also be held liable.
Life jackets are essential because federal laws require that all types of vessels have a Type I, II, or III U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for everyone on the vessel. If your boat is a personal watercraft or vessel longer than 16 feet, the laws require a Type IV Coast Guard-approved throwable device.
When there are children under 13 years, they must wear a life jacket at all times on boats that are less than 26 feet high. The only exceptions are when they are below the deck or in an enclosed cabin.
If a boat passenger acts recklessly, thereby causing an accident, you can hold them liable for a boating accident. Also, if they prevented the boat operator from fulfilling their duty, one can hold them responsible. When a passenger acts recklessly, and the operator can stop such behavior, but they do not, one can hold such operator liable for the accident.
One can hold the boat owner liable if they allow inexperienced boaters to operate the vessel.
If the boat has a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer would be the person responsible for the accident. You can also hold manufacturers of other safety equipment in the vessel, such as life jackets, liable if these things malfunction. Your boating accident lawyer can advise in such cases.
You can hold the rental company liable for a boating accident if routine maintenance was due and they failed to carry it out. If the rental company is also aware of any fault in the boat and fails to fix it, one can hold them liable.
The legal team of rental companies usually tries to protect them from this liability. They make you sign a waiver that disclaims their liability for anything that happens to you on the boat. If you have signed this contract, all hope is not lost. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the signing, such a contract might not be enforceable. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the contact and find loopholes.
Federal laws and state laws apply to a boat crash. Below, we outline what rules apply to Texas boating accidents.
Federal maritime laws apply to boating accidents that occur in the following places:
The following are some of the federal laws that guide boating accidents:
Texas state laws likely govern bodies of water that are non-navigable or used mainly for recreational purposes. One of such laws is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code with the following provisions:
Section 49.06 of the Texas Penal Code addresses boating under the influence and ensures that you can hold the boater liable for the damages caused.
Both federal and state laws agree on some of the same rules. Under both laws, it is illegal to operate a vessel while intoxicated. If your BAC is 0.08% or above when using a boat, you can be held liable by the authorities.
The causes of boat accidents are similar all over the US. However, in Texas, they are slightly different. This is because there are two major ways people get involved in Texas boat accidents.
The Maritime Transportation System in Texas is a ports and waterways system that allows commercial goods and people to transport themselves across the water in Texas. Think of it as a complex railroad system that ensures that every train arrives at the right time and the right place.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway connects all commercial ports. This ensures that the export of crude oil products runs smoothly and that the import of petroleum products runs unhitched.
Every time rig workers travel back and forth, tons of cargo containing petroleum products are imported and exported. If there is one mistake, it could be a recipe for disaster or a fatal accident.
The following are common types of accidents are accidents that occur in the Maritime Industry:
These accidents are hazardous and end up as boating fatalities because of all the petroleum products and heavy equipment involved.
Recreational boating accidents are pretty different from maritime accidents and less fatal. This does not mean that they are not severe.
A negligent action is usually one of the top causes of these accidents. The following are some other causes:
You need to contact a professional maritime lawyer if you or anyone you know gets involved in a boating accident. Our experienced boat accident attorneys will ensure that you can claim compensation from whoever is liable for your accident.
We will also ensure that you get financial compensation from the insurance companies for any property damage or medical bills incurred. If you incur any other losses from the accident, such as loss of enjoyment and loss of income, we have also got you covered. Contact us today to commence the legal process.