Were You Injured While Boating? We Can Help.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the Dallas injury attorneys of The Benton Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.
Boaters are held just as accountable as drivers when involved in accidents. The attorneys at The Benton Law Firm have earned the trust of the Dallas community because of our dedication to helping people affected by boating accidents. We help our clients understand the many rules and regulations involved and how to take action. You may be eligible for financial benefits as the result of your injury after a boating accident. If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact the Dallas boat accident attorneys of The Benton Law Firm today at (214) 777-7777 to discover your options for seeking compensation.
Do I Need a Boating Accident Lawyer?
A serious injury from a boating accident can cause expensive medical bills at every stage of recovery, not to mention time away from work to recover. Meanwhile, your injuries may be causing you significant pain or even affect your ability to function and think. It is unlikely during this time that you will want to even think about pursuing a legal claim, let alone have the ability to do so successfully.
This is why a lawyer can be helpful. A lawyer can take on your case while you focus on resting and recovering. We can gather the evidence, talk to witnesses, confer with experts, and make the legal arguments necessary to win you as much compensation as possible. We won’t be fooled by aggressive insurance agents who offer lowball settlements and try to get you to admit fault. With a lawyer’s help, you can earn all the money you need to pay for all your medical expenses and other costs, all with minimal undue stress.
Why Choose The Benton Law Firm to Handle My Case?
You should not have to suffer as a result of a boating accident that was not your fault, and The Benton Law Firm is wholly dedicated to helping you seek compensation for any expenses you incurred. The attorneys at The Benton Law Firm have been proudly serving the Dallas area for years, winning hundreds of cases for our clients. After winning millions of dollars for our clients, we received a 10.0 Superb Avvo rating and have been inducted into the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum. Jeff Benton, who founded The Benton Law Firm, was named one of D Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Dallas 2018.” The The Benton Law Firm attorneys are committed to holding boat owners and insurance companies accountable when innocent people suffer injuries.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents In Dallas
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that is especially true when it comes to water activities. Texas has more square miles of inland lakes than any state in the country. Over half a million boats are registered in Texas, making it the 6th most popular boating state in the United States. In just the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex alone, there are over 50 lakes and reservoirs, making boating and watersports popular activities during the hot Texas summers. Family vacations, work retreats, parties, and official city events all take place on Texas lakes. While lake days are usually fun for everyone, they can lead to unfortunate accidents if all parties involved are not careful on the water.
Boating is typically a spring and summer “sport,” which unfortunately coincides with holiday weekends and heavy drinking. In fact, alcohol plays a role in over half of all boating accidents, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. According to data collected from the U.S. coast guard, Texas ranked at number 5 with 12.62 alcohol-related boating accidents per 100,000 watercraft in 2019. Boating while intoxicated is a serious offense which law enforcement officers actively look out for, especially during holiday weekends. However, they cannot be everywhere at once, and accidents do occur.
The top contributing factors to these accidents are:
- Operator inattention – Distractions come in many forms and could take the boat operator’s attention away from the task at hand. If they’re not alert and focusing on activities around them, they could crash into another boat, dock, or buoy.
- Improper lookout – Someone should be the designated lookout whenever you take the boat out for a ride. Failing to locate hazards or dangerous conditions could result in an accident.
- Operator inexperience – Many boaters don’t have the necessary experience to operate a water vessel safely. They might think it’s easier than driving a car because there are fewer obstacles. However, there are designated areas for maneuvering the boat to avoid grounding, speed limits, and other laws.
- Excessive speed – A safe speed reduces every boat occupant’s exposure to danger. Speeding can prevent the operator from avoiding a collision with another vessel or avoiding hazards in the water.
- Alcohol use – Alcohol can impair a person’s ability to operate a boat correctly and safely. Alcohol use is dangerous while driving a boat. If your BAC is over 0.08%, it’s also illegal. Boating under the influence can lead to deadly accidents and result in criminal penalties for the operator.
While days out on the lake are fun, boat operators need to be responsible. When they are not, they need to be held accountable for any mistakes that may have led to a person’s injury.
Boating accidents do not always involve two boats. They often involve one boat and other people in inner tubes or other smaller watercraft. Some accidents involve one moving boats and one stationary one. In September 2020, a 13-year old girl was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition after two boats crashed into each other on Lake Worth. One of the boats didn’t have any lights, preventing the other boat’s operator from avoiding the collision.
The majority of boating accidents occur at night, but this is no excuse for irresponsible boating behavior. There are strict laws that boaters must observe to ensure everyone’s safety on the water, like proper lights at night and keeping safe distances from diver-down flags. These safety laws are especially important to follow at night because visibility is so low, especially during busy lake events like the fourth of July fireworks.
Common Types of Boating Accidents In Dallas
Many factors lead to boating accidents, including alcohol, poor lighting, boat malfunction, driver inexperience, weather conditions, and speeding. Boat accidents can be quite severe to the victims sitting alone in the water or stationary on a boat. A motorboat flying at you at full speed while you’re in the water in an inner tube can lead to devastating injuries that may take weeks or months in the hospital to fully recover. As a victim of a boating accident, you are eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future income, and pain and suffering. Injuries people can sustain in a boating accident can occur for many reasons, including:
- Collision with another boat or structure
- Wave runner/jet ski collision
- Boat passengers thrown overboard
- Refueling explosions
- Injuries from contact with a boat propeller
- Equipment failures
- Hitting a large wave at excessive speed
- Overcrowding a boat or vessel
Boat operators are held to a high standard of care to prevent devastating injuries from occurring. When a boat operator neglects to take the proper precautions, they should be liable for any resulting injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, which can include broken bones, brain injury or damage, permanent injuries, drowning, or even death, contact The Benton Law Firm today to find out what compensation you may be entitled to.
In addition to holding boat owners accountable, The Benton Law Firm will work with your insurance company to ensure they are providing you with as much assistance as possible. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to underpay or deny your claim, but our attorneys will work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Common Injuries Caused By Boating Accidents
Boats are fun to take out on a warm summer day. Unfortunately, various dangers exist that could put you and others at risk of injury or death despite the beautiful surroundings. The most common injuries associated with boating accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Neck and head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Catastrophic injuries can result from boat accidents. It’s especially dangerous if someone hits their head and falls into the water. They could asphyxiate and drown. Some people don’t make a full recovery, requiring ongoing medical treatment to manage symptoms or improve mobility. The Benton Law Firm is familiar with the injuries boaters sustain and will fight for the full and fair compensation you need to cover your medical bills and associated expenses.
Compensation You Might Be Entitled To In A Boat Accident Case
Whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit, there are various losses you can seek. The at-fault party should be financially responsible for the past and future losses you suffered from the boating accident. You shouldn’t have to pay for anything yourself, especially when your actions didn’t contribute to your injuries.
Losses common after a boat accident in Dallas are:
• Pain and suffering
• Physical impairment
• Medical bills
• Mental anguish
• Lost wages
• Lost earning capacity
• Property damage
If you lost a loved one in a boat accident, you might be entitled to compensation for the losses suffered by you, your family members, and the deceased’s estate.
You could pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for:
• Loss of companionship, love, comfort, and society
• Lost earning capacity
• Emotional and mental anguish and pain and suffering
• Lost inheritance, including what the deceased would have earned if they didn’t die in the accident
• Lost services, care, maintenance, support, and advice the deceased would have provided if they survived
Every client’s case is unique. The compensation you are entitled to will depend on your total losses and other factors associated with the accident. Our Dallas boating accident lawyers have the experience and resources to investigate your case to determine the fair monetary value you should receive for your expenses and subsequent suffering.
The Benton Law Firm Doesn’t Charge Upfront for Our Services
At The Benton Law Firm, we understand the financial burden you might be facing. Many people go into significant debt while they’re treating their injuries. You shouldn’t be forced to suffer the consequences of another person’s negligent actions.
We don’t want to add more financial responsibilities to your plate. That’s why we take cases on contingency. We don’t charge upfront fees or costs to represent you in your case. We won’t expect payment of our legal fees unless we’re able to recover compensation. If we lose, you won’t have to pay.
Texas Laws You Must Follow When Pursuing An Injury Case
Filing a lawsuit requires complying with a statute of limitations. This is a strict deadline, and if it passes, you could lose your right to sue the at-fault boater for compensation of your losses. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years. There’s a two-year timeframe for filing suit against a boat operator or another party responsible for the crash that begins on the date of the accident. If you try to file suit once the statute passes, the court will likely dismiss your case.
You must also understand the proportionate responsibility rule. It could negatively impact the maximum amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive. A jury will review the facts presented to them and place a percentage of fault on all parties involved. If they determine your actions partially contributed to your injuries, they could diminish your losses by the portion of blame you share.
To clarify, let’s say you incurred a total of $50,000 in losses. The boat operator was 80% at fault for speeding. However, the jury finds that you weren’t wearing the life vest provided to you, resulting in injuries from almost drowning. They decide to assign you with 20% fault, reducing your available financial compensation to $40,000. Under normal circumstances where the operator is 100% liable, you would be able to seek the full $50,000. Additionally, there’s a 50% rule that could bar you from recovering any amount of compensation if you’re more than 50% at fault for your injuries.
Boating Accident Frequently Asked Questions
When clients come to The Benton Law Firm for their initial free consultation, they have many questions about their case. Most people don’t understand boating laws and who they can seek compensation from. We break down some of the most common questions clients ask us below:
Never. Insurance companies are never on the claiman’s side. Their goal is to save money wherever possible, and they could try to intimidate you into accepting a lowball settlement offer. Our Dallas boating accident lawyers won’t allow that to happen. We can file the claim with the appropriate insurance company and negotiate with the adjuster for an amount we believe will adequately cover your losses. Working with an experienced attorney often leads to much higher compensation than if you choose to handle your case alone.
Texas laws don’t require insurance to operate a boat. However, if the operator did purchase liability insurance, you could file a claim with their insurance company. A homeowners’ insurance policy could compensate for the damage to the boat, but a separate liability policy is necessary if there are injuries to the passengers. We can review all available insurance policies to determine the available coverage in a claim.
Report the accident to the Coast Guard and request transportation to a nearby hospital. Medical records are vital in an injury claim. You will need to provide adequate evidence of your injury and the resulting expenses.
You should attend your doctor’s appointments regularly until your injuries heal. Be sure not to skip any appointments or allow too much time to pass in between. Insurance companies will use a gap in treatment as proof that you didn’t sustain an injury in the accident or it’s not severe enough to require ongoing medical care.
You should also hire a lawyer to represent you in your case. Treating your injuries while you’re focusing on your case’s legal aspects can be overwhelming and stressful. Your only focus should be on recovering. Let us handle each step of your case, so you don’t have to worry about any legal responsibility.
Contact a Dallas Boating Accident Attorney
The Dallas boat accident attorneys at The Benton Law Firm understand the devastating injuries resulting from these kinds of accidents. Boating is a relaxing summer sport which too many people fail to act responsibly during. Boating accidents happen far too often throughout the state and, unfortunately, often involve children who do not know how to get out of the way of a speeding boat quickly.
Children and other family members should not be forced to swiftly swim out of the way because a boat operator cannot control their craft. If you or a loved one have been injured in a boat accident, contact the Dallas boat accident lawyers at The Benton Law Firm today at (214) 777-7777.