There might not be a better state than Louisiana for boating. The state has hundreds of lakes, major rivers, and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. Many people either use boats recreationally or work on the water.
Unfortunately, boating can also be hazardous, and unexpected risks can cause serious injuries. If you were hurt in a boating accident, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses.
A Lake Charles boat accident lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers is ready to help you get started.
Negligence and Boating Accidents
When another person’s careless or reckless behavior is responsible for causing a boating accident, the injured person may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits are usually based on the legal theory of negligence.
Negligence happens when one person owes a duty of care to another and breaches that duty in a way that causes harm. Some examples of negligence on the water could include colliding with another boat, colliding with a fixed object, grounding, speeding, or operating while intoxicated.
Boat owners or operators may also be responsible for injuries if they failed to have the necessary safety equipment on board or failed to follow any other state and federal safety rules.
For a free legal consultation with a boat accident lawyer serving Lake Charles, call (337) 777-7777
Specific Acts of Negligence Involved in Boating Accidents
Boating accidents have distinct causes throughout the Lake Charles area. You can turn to a legal professional for help if you sustained an injury in an accident due to a boat operator who:
Was Improperly Certified
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries requires boat operators to finish a boater education course in many situations. Operators should complete this course before operating personal watercraft or motorboats. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally the state requires this certification.
Boat operators act negligently if they operate their personal watercraft or motorboat without the appropriate certification.
Operated a Boat Under the Influence of Alcohol
Boat operators face the same limits on alcohol consumption as drivers throughout Louisiana. Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher can lead to criminal charges.
Alcohol consumption often encourages boaters to engage in dangerous behaviors that could lead to a boating accident. Similarly, we see boat operators who use illegal drugs before going out on the water and causing accidents.
Ignored Right-of-Way Regulations
Louisiana uses right-of-way regulations to control the way boaters move around one another in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. In much the same way that cars have to stay on the correct side of the road, boaters have to adhere to these rules.
Boaters who ignore these regulations put themselves and others at risk. For this reason, it’s very important to go over these rules before operating any watercraft.
Failed to Follow Safe Boating Regulations
The state has issued several additional regulations for boaters. For example, operators must keep their boats below certain speeds and check the surrounding area before they make a turn.
Boaters can cause serious accidents if they ignore these regulations, often leading to injuries or death.
Operated a Boat in a Restricted Area
Certain areas in lakes, rivers, and larger bodies of water are marked off to prevent the entry of boats. These areas are usually shallow or used for swimming and other activities.
Boaters are responsible for staying clear of these areas to protect the individuals who use them. Operators who ignore markers or buoys to enter these areas could cause a boat accident.
Overloaded Their Boat
Each boat comes with a set carrying capacity. This weight limit helps boat operators determine how many passengers they can safely carry. Exceeding the carrying capacity makes it more dangerous to operate the boat and endangers more people in an accident.
Failed to Provide Safety Devices
Boating is a fun and relaxing pastime. However, accidents can happen at any time. Therefore, each boat operator must keep the appropriate safety gear aboard their craft.
Each passenger should have access to safety devices and receive instructions about how to use them in the event of an accident.
Lake Charles Boat Accident Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Boating Accidents at Work
Many people in Louisiana have a job that requires them to be on a boat or the water. When a person is hurt at work while on land, they generally do not file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Instead, they use the workers’ compensation system to recover money for their damages.
On the water, the rules are different. Most seamen injured while performing their jobs cannot file a workers’ compensation claim with their employers under either Louisiana or federal law. Instead, they usually must sue their employer under maritime law and the federal Jones Act.
Jones Act claims also operate under the theory of negligence. To file a Jones Act case, the worker has to prove their employer did not provide a reasonably safe work environment, failed to use ordinary care in maintaining the vessel, or operated the ship in an unsafe condition.
Injured seaman and their Lake Charles boat accident attorneys can file a lawsuit against their employer in either state or federal court, but they must do so within three years of their accident or injury.
Damages After a Boating Injury
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases may be able to recover several types of damages. An injured person might recover compensation for their medical bills and hospitalization expenses, as well as their lost earnings if the injury required them to miss work.
They could also receive damages for their pain and suffering and mental anguish. If a person was injured on a boat they owned, a boat accident attorney in Lake Charles could also seek damages to repair or replace the vessel.
Injured workers who file Jones Acts claims are eligible to receive the same types of damages in their case as they would in any other personal injury case. In some circumstances, they may recover even more through the Jones Act if they are awarded interest on their damages.
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Contact a Lake Charles Boat Accident Attorney Today
Proving liability in a maritime or boat accident can be complicated, so you may want to seek help from an attorney. If you were injured on or by a marine vessel, schedule an appointment with a Lake Charles boat accident lawyer at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today.