Many people in Texas go boating, water skiing, wake boarding, fishing, or swimming in lakes as a leisurely way to unwind. Unfortunately, the negligent or dangerous operation of boats harms people every year. Boating crashes can result in drowning, traumatic brain injury, or even a tragic death. Individuals who have been involved in these accidents in the Dallas region can consult an injury attorney at Feizy Law Office who has experience in these types of claims.File a Negligence Claim to Seek Compensation after a Boating Accident
The operator of a boat must use reasonable care, paying attention to where the boat is headed, obstacles that are in the way or just under the water, the depth of the water, and the possibility of a collision with another boat or individual. The operator of a boat should also avoid excessive drinking and monitor passengers to make sure they wear life jackets and avoid rough housing on the boat. Like drivers of cars or motorcycles, the operator of a boat owes a duty of reasonable care to others on the water, including his or her own passengers. As in motor vehicle accidents, a driver who negligently or recklessly operates a boat can be held responsible in a civil personal injury lawsuit.
Some examples of negligent or reckless operation of a boat include boating in restricted areas, operating at high speeds without regard for traffic and weather conditions, allowing passengers to ride on raised surfaces such as the bow or transom where they have a chance of falling overboard, causing harm to a person with a vessel's wake in swimming areas or in "no wake" areas, driving in circles around a swimming person or other person in the water, and boating while intoxicated. In Texas, you can be criminally penalized for boating under the influence. A first conviction carries a penalty of 180 days in jail or a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
If you are hurt because of someone’s negligent or reckless operation of a boat, you will need to show the operator's duty of care, a breach of that duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. For example, if you are swimming in a no-wake zone in Texas waters and get hit by a vessel's wake, you can possibly sue the operator of the boat for negligence. Evidence that the accident occurred in a no-wake zone and was caused by a vessel's wake will go towards proving the operator's breach of duty.
In some cases, such as when the operator of the boat was under the influence of alcohol and caused an injury, negligence per se may apply. This rule allows you to substitute the defendant’s violation of a statute intended to protect people like you for the elements of duty and breach. You still would need to prove the causation element, which means that you would not have been hurt if the defendant had not violated the statute and that your harm was reasonably foreseeable. You also would have to identify quantifiable costs and losses that you incurred.
You can potentially recover a wide range of compensation from a negligent boat operator who causes your injuries, including both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical bills, lost income, vocational rehabilitation, and out-of-pocket expenses. You may also have non-economic damages that are recoverable, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.Contact a Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney in Fort Worth
If you or a loved one is hurt in a boating accident or a motor vehicle collision in Fort Worth or the surrounding cities, the lawyers at Feizy Law Office can help you explore your options. Call us at (214) 651-8686 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation. We represent accident victims in Arlington, Garland, Irving, and Plano, among other cities around Dallas.