Boating entails a certain amount of risk, and while it may be rare that another boater might intentionally harm other individuals they encounter, accidents could happen, much like whenever a person gets behind the wheel of a car, an individual piloting a boat could potentially injure other boaters, swimmers, or others in the water.
When an individual causes a boating accident, the injured party may have the right to demand compensation. A boat accident attorney in Lafayette, LA, could help you deal with defendants’ insurance companies to pursue the compensation they deserve. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Lafayette, LA, can pursue compensation by building a case.
Boaters’ Rights Under Louisiana Negligence Law
While many boat collisions may be accidents, it does not mean that an at-fault boater does not assume responsibility for their actions. Boaters are obligated to protect the welfare of other people they may encounter while navigating waters, and they assume this duty whenever they take their boat from the dock. This duty extends to other boaters, swimmers, and even their passengers and forms the core of the legal cause of action known as negligence under personal injury laws.
Negligence can help injured people to hold at-fault parties in accidents legally liable for the damage they cause. When applied to boat accidents, common examples of evidence that indicate negligence include:
- Failure to follow navigation buoys
- Not having proper lighting at night
- Boating while intoxicated
- Manufacturing issues leading to a defective product
Much like a car crash, any analysis of the evidence in a boating accident could examine the actions of both parties involved. However, if a plaintiff can introduce evidence that the defendant was breaking a boating law at the time of the incident, the defendant may be automatically assumed negligent. A boat accident attorney in Lafayette, LA, could help plaintiffs gather and frame evidence within the law to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence.
Laborde Earles injury was great for me they took care of me very fast and professional. If for any reason I need legal help they will be who I use.Client
Proving Liability in a Lafayette Boat Accident Claim
To recover full compensation following your boating accident in Lafayette, your boat accident lawyer in Lafayette, LA, will need to prove that another party’s negligence is the cause of your boat crash injuries. To prove negligence, the following four elements will need to be met:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
- Financial and non-financial damages
Some parties are found liable for boating accidents in Lafayette more frequently than others. These include:
- Negligent boat operators
- Boat passengers
- Boat parts designers, producers, and distributors
- The owner of the boat
- The boating company
- Government agencies
- Other third parties
Your personal injury lawyer will need to carefully analyze the evidence and details of your case to determine the responsible party for causing your injuries so you can get the most out of your claim.
I thank God for Digger & David. I don’t know what we would have done if it hadn’t have been for them.Rick Smith | Client
Can Boat Accident Victims Share Fault?
Boat crash victims share liability for their injuries more often than you think. This is especially true when people go out on boats and consume alcohol or drugs. Rowdy and uncontrollable passengers, inexperienced or untrained boat operators, and other types of boat passenger negligence are not uncommon.
However, sharing fault for your injuries will not hinder your financial recovery after your Lafayette boat crash. Louisiana has a pure comparative negligence system under Louisiana Civil Code § 2323. This means you are still eligible to receive compensation, but your damage settlement will be reduced in accordance with your degree of fault.
For example, if you are 20% at fault for causing the boat accident, you can only recover 80% of your injury settlement. Find out more about how your boat accident settlement could be affected when you discuss the circumstances of the collision further with an experienced attorney.
The reassurance from Digger and his staff gave me that renewed hope that it’s going to be okay down the road.Client
Common Boat Accident Injuries in Lafayette
If you are unsure whether your injuries are severe enough to warrant a boat accident claim in Lafayette, consider the ways your life has been or may be affected by your boat accident injuries. The type of injury you sustained does not necessarily determine whether you have the right to compensation.
However, some types of injuries are seen more often in Lafayette boat accidents than others. These include:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and back injuries
- Contusions and lacerations
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other emotional injuries, including depression and anxiety
- Neck injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
These are only a few more common injuries you could endure in a Lafayette boat crash. If you suffered another type of injury in a crash that is not listed above, contact our office to find out whether you can pursue compensation in your case.
They treated us like no other people would. Whenever we needed something they were there for us. I put my trust in them and I don’t regret it.Client
Pursuing Compensation in Lafayette
Louisiana is one of a few states that does not require boaters to obtain any insurance policy. As a result, people injured in boating accidents may need to pursue a boat operator directly for compensation. This typically involves sending a demand letter to the defendant or attorney for injury payment. These demands may include payment for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In other cases, a defendant’s boat is covered by an insurance policy. When this applies, a boating accident attorney in Lafayette, LA, will handle the claim through the insurance company and attempt to negotiate a settlement. In either scenario, plaintiffs may need to take their case to court to collect compensation.
Louisiana Civil Code § 3492 limits when a plaintiff can file a case. This law is known as the prescriptive period and states that all claims for personal injury must be initiated in court no more than one year from the date of the injury. As such, potential plaintiffs may wish to get started on their case immediately by contacting a skilled boat accident attorney in Lafayette.
A Lafayette Boat Crash Attorney Can Help
Boat drivers have a duty to preserve the safety of other boaters, swimmers, and even their passengers. If a boater causes a crash by acting recklessly or carelessly, that defendant may be legally liable for any injuries and losses sustained by the injured party.
Sometimes, that boater may not be protected by insurance and could be personally responsible for the damage they cause. In others, the plaintiff could claim a boater’s insurance company.
In either case, a boat accident lawyer in Lafayette, LA, at Laborde Earles, could help you build a comprehensive claim to demand compensation. There may be a limited time to file a claim, so let an attorney give you a free consultation today.