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 Lafayette boat accident lawyer could help injured parties deal with defendants’ insurance companies to pursue the compensation they deserve. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer could pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf by researching and building your 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 own passengers, and forms the core of the legal cause of action known as negligence.
Negligence may allow 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
Much like a car crash, any analysis of the evidence in a boat crash could examine the actions of both parties involved. However, if a plaintiff could introduce evidence that the defendant was breaking a boating law at the time of the incident, the defendant may be automatically be assumed as negligent. A Lafayette boat accident lawyer could help plaintiffs gather and frame evidence within the law to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence.
For a free legal consultation with a boat accident lawyer serving Lafayette, call (337) 777-7777
Proving Liability in a Lafayette Boat Accident Claim
To recover full compensation following your boat accident in Lafayette, your lawyer will need to prove that another party’s negligence is the cause of your boat accident injuries. To prove negligence, the following four elements will need to be met:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Essentially, this means that the defendant in your case will need to have owed you a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and caused you to suffer considerable damages.
Some parties are found liable for boat 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
- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
- Government agencies
- Other third parties
Your personal injury attorney will need to carefully analyze the evidence and details of your case to determine who is responsible for causing your injuries so you can get the most out of your claim.
Lafayette Boat Accident Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Can Boat Accident Victims Share Fault?
Boat accident victims share liability for their injuries more often than you might think. This is especially true in instances where 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 bar you from financial recovery after your Lafayette boat accident. Louisiana follows a pure comparative negligence system under Louisiana Civil Code § 2323. This means you can still recover compensation, but your injury settlement will reflect a shared fault deduction that correlates with your percentage of liability.
For example, if you are 20% at fault for causing the boat accident, you will only be able to 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 your attorney.
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 is not necessarily what determines whether you have the right to compensation.
However, there are some types of injuries 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 of the more common types of injuries you could endure in a Lafayette boat accident. If you suffered another type of injury that is not listed above, contact our office to find out whether you have the opportunity to pursue compensation in your case.
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Pursuing Compensation in Lafayette
Louisiana is one of a few states that does not require boaters to obtain any form of insurance policy. As a result, people injured in boating accidents may need to pursue a boat operator directly for compensation. This will typically involve sending a demand letter directly to the defendant or their attorney for payment for injuries. These demands may include payment for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
In other cases, a defendant’s boat is covered by an insurance policy. When this applies, the plaintiff’s attorney 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 Accident Attorney Can Help
Boat drivers have a duty to preserve the safety of other boaters, swimmers, and even their own passengers. If a boater causes an accident by acting recklessly or carelessly, that defendant may be legally liable for any injuries and losses sustained by the injured party.
In some instances, that boater may not be protected by insurance and could be personally responsible for the damage that they cause. In others, the plaintiff could make a claim through a boater’s insurance company.
In either case, a Lafayette boat accident lawyer at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers could help you build a comprehensive claim to demand compensation for medical costs, lost earnings, and mental anguish. There may be a limited time to file a claim, so let an attorney work for you today.