Horseshoe Bay Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating is an incredibly popular pastime, especially in areas of Texas like Horseshoe Bay. Unfortunately, boating accidents happen, and injuries sustained in boating accidents can lead to permanent disability or even drowning. According to the Coast Guard, there were 4,040 boating accidents in 2022, which resulted in over 2,200 injuries and 636 deaths.
If you have been injured in a boat accident, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. The Horseshoe Bay personal injury lawyers at Janicek Law can evaluate your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with a Horseshoe Bay boating accident lawyer today.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents
A boat accident is any mishap that causes a boat or other personal watercraft to crash, capsize, or otherwise cause harm to people in and around the boat. Boating accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, some of which include:
- Extreme weather
- Distracted boating
- Drunk boating
- Equipment malfunctions
- Lack of breaks on watercrafts like jet skis
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Violating boating rules
Boating accidents are largely preventable, and boat accident injuries can be lessened or prevented by taking additional measures like decreasing distractions, increasing boater education, and wearing life jackets.
Is It Illegal to Operate a Boat While Intoxicated in Texas?
Yes, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, according to Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.06. Texas’s boating while intoxicated offense shares a lot of similarities with the state’s driving while intoxicated offense, but they have a few differences. For example, it’s legal to have open containers of alcohol on a boat, but anyone who is operating a boat can be asked to undergo a safety check, even without suspicion of boating under the influence.
BUI Penalties in Texas
In Texas, if someone is charged with multiple boating while intoxicated (BUI) offenses, they can face increased penalties such as increased fines, longer license suspensions, and increased jail time. The penalties can also increase if the person boating under the influence causes serious bodily harm or kills another person as a result of their actions.
If someone is convicted of BUI and they have no prior BUI convictions, they can face a fine of up to $2,000, anywhere between 72 hours and 180 days in jail, or both. This is categorized as a Class B misdemeanor.
On someone’s second BUI offense, they can face a fine of up to $4,000, anywhere between 30 days to a year in jail, or both. This is classified as a Class A misdemeanor.
On someone’s third BUI offense, they can face a fine of up to $10,000, anywhere between 2 years to 10 years in jail, or both. This is classified as a third-degree felony offense, which carries additional consequences.
If someone is caught boating under the influence after they caused serious injury to another person, they can face a fine of up to $10,000, anywhere between 2 years to 10 years in jail, or both. This is classified as a third-degree felony offense.
If someone is caught boating under the influence after they killed another person, they can face a fine of up to $10,000, anywhere between 2 years to 10 years in jail, or both. This is classified as a second-degree felony offense.
Common Boat Accident Injuries
Boating accidents can cause a variety of injuries, ranging from minor contusions to life-altering brain injuries. Victims of boating accidents can suffer from injuries such as:
- Broken bones;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Joint injuries;
- Amputations; and
When Should You Report a Boating Accident in Texas?
If you are in a boating accident, you are required to report the accident to local law enforcement, local Texas game wardens, or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, if the accident resulted in:
- The death or disappearance of a person;
- Injuries requiring more than first aid treatment; or
- Property damage worth over $2,000.
How to Report a Boating Accident in Texas
After a boating accident, there are a few things that the operator of the vessel must do. First, they must stop and render assistance to others, unless that action would endanger their boat, crew, or passengers. If anyone is in need of medical attention, has gone missing, or has died, they should call and request emergency services.
From there, they have 30 days to report the boating accident, unless the boat accident resulted in a fatality, in which case they have 48 hours to report it. Boat operators in the Horseshoe Bay area can either call the local authorities, call a Texas game warden in Austin at (325) 673-3333, or call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (800) 792-1112 to report the accident.
They will have to provide authorities with complete information regarding the accident. This can include information like the names of those involved, the time and location of the accident, and the water and weather conditions at the time of the accident.
Can You Sue for a Boating Accident?
Yes, if you or a loved one has suffered from personal injuries as a result of a negligent boat operator, you can sue for damages. Just like other vehicle accidents like car accidents, boating accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, which can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating for victims and their families.
An attorney with experience in Texas personal injury law can help victims of boating accidents recover compensation for their losses by proving the injuries were the result of negligence. In order to do this, they have to prove that the four elements of negligence are present in the case. These elements include:
- Duty of care is a responsibility to provide others with a reasonable amount of care.
- Breach of duty of care is the failure to provide someone with the reasonable care they were owed.
- Causation is a direct link between the breach of duty and injuries.
- Damages are the losses that the victim suffered as a result of their injuries.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, an Austin boat accident lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of the accident and gather evidence, contact witnesses, and compile medical records to help prove negligence.
Boating Accident Damages
A Horseshoe Bay boating accident attorney can help victims of boating accidents recover compensation for losses, such as:
- Medical bills;
- Property damage;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning potential;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Funeral expenses, in the event of wrongful death.
Statute of Limitations for Boat Accidents in Horseshoe Bay, TX
In every personal injury case, victims have a limited window of time in which they can file a claim, which is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for boat accident claims in Texas is 2 years, meaning injury victims only have 2 years to file a valid claim against the negligent party responsible for their injuries.
Personal injury attorneys in Horseshoe Bay, TX can help ensure your claim is filed correctly and on-time, so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Call a Horseshoe Bay Boat Accident Lawyer at Janicek Law Today
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries, and victims of boating accidents deserve compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a Horseshoe Bay boat accident as a result of negligence, call Janicek Law today. With over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, you can trust us to act in your best interest and provide you with expert legal counsel regarding your boat accident case.
We provide legal services to residents of Horseshoe Bay, TX, as well as residents of Marble Falls, West Lake Hills, San Antonio, and more. Call us at 210-366-4949 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a member of our team at no cost to you.