Marble Falls Boat Accident Lawyer
A weekend on the lake with friends is supposed to be fun, but when a boater acts recklessly, the fun can become frightening. Much like accidents in motor vehicles, a boat operator can cause injuries to their passengers when they drive intoxicated or act negligently. Since boats are surrounded by water, even a minor accident can lead to catastrophic injuries. Thankfully, like car accident injuries, those injured in boating accidents can pursue legal action against the responsible party to recover compensation, and a Marble Falls boat accident lawyer at Janicek Law can help.
If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident in Marble Falls, the personal injury attorneys from Janicek Law are here to help. Our compassionate attorneys have helped countless clients throughout Texas recover compensation for damages following their boating accidents. To learn more about your boat accident case, contact Janicek Law at 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with a Marble Falls boating accident attorney.
2021 Boat Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, over 4,430 boating accidents occurred in 2021. Those accidents resulted in 2,641 injuries, 658 fatalities, and $67.5 million in property damages.
That year, the leading cause of death in boat accidents was drowning, which led to 81% of boating fatalities. Of those killed due to drownings, 83% were not wearing life vests when the accident occurred.
The same data reported by the U.S. Coast Guard found that boater operator inexperience was the leading cause of boating accidents in 2021. That inexperience led to 75% of deaths because the operator lacked knowledge of proper procedures and/or safety equipment use.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents in Marble Falls, TX
Boating collisions can involve personal and recreational watercraft types, like jet skis, motor boats, speedboats, canoes, and kayaks.
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that most boating accidents are caused by excessive speed, operator negligence, defective equipment, and improper lookout. Other causes of boating accidents are:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Operating the watercraft while intoxicated
- Crowded waterways
- Recklessness or driving distracted
- Failing to anchor the boat correctly
- Overloading the boat with people or equipment
- Bad weather conditions
- Fires caused by vapor igniting or spilled fuel
- Ignoring the waterway right-of-way rules
Is It Illegal to Operate a Boat While Intoxicated in Texas?
It is illegal to boat while intoxicated, according to Texas Penal Code Section 49.06. Similar to driving a motor vehicle while drunk, a boat operator is considered intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or greater.
Boat operators in Texas can face harsh penalties if convicted of boating while intoxicated. If the drugs or alcohol led to a boating collision, the punishments can be worse depending on the accident’s severity and injuries. Boat operators involved in prior watercraft accidents can also face more serious penalties.
A boat operator’s first BWI offense is a class B misdemeanor unless the accident caused injuries or death. This penalty can result in 72 hours to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
If the BWI accident caused serious injuries or intoxication assault, it is increased to a third-degree felony. This felony is punishable by a 2 to 10-year jail sentence and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
When a boating while intoxicated accident leads to another’s death, also referred to as intoxication manslaughter, it’s upgraded to a second-degree felony. This felony can result in 2 to 10 years in jail and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
A boating operator’s second BWI offense is considered a class A misdemeanor, resulting in 30 days to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.
A third or subsequent BWI offense is a third-degree felony. This offense is punishable by 2 to 10 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
Common Boat Accident Injuries
The most common boating accident injuries are listed below.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (caused by hitting one’s head or drowning)
- Internal injuries
- Skull or facial fractures
- Broken bones
- Finger, toe, or limb amputations
- Eye damage or vision loss
- Major scarring, burns, bruising, and/or lacerations
When Should You Report a Boating Accident in Texas?
In Texas, the Parks and Wildlife Code Section 31.105 outlines when a boating accident should be reported to authorities. If the boating accident resulted in the following, it must be reported.
- Major injury requiring emergency medical treatment
- Death or a missing person
- Over $2,000 in property damage
The boating laws in Texas state that the boating accident must be reported to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department within 30 days following the accident. If the accident resulted in a fatality or missing person, it must be reported within 48 hours.
How To Report a Boating Accident in Texas
You must contact local law enforcement or the game warden to report a boating accident in Texas. The accident can also be reported to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by calling 800-792-1112 or 512-389-4848.
You will most likely be required to complete an accident report when you report the accident. If you’re involved in a boat accident, it’s recommended that you collect the following information:
- Date, location, and time of the accident
- If the boat operator is someone else, collect their name and contact information
- Your name and contact information
- Names and contact information of the passengers on any other boat involved
- Names and contact information of any injured individuals
- Names and contact information of anyone deceased or missing
- The identification number of the boat and other watercraft involved
After completing the boat accident report, contact the Marble Falls boat accident attorneys at Janicek Law. We will evaluate your claim and determine whether you have a personal injury case against the negligent party.
Can You Sue for a Boat Accident in Marble Falls, TX?
If the boating accident was caused by negligence, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
To file a successful boating accident lawsuit, the attorneys at Janicek Law will work to prove negligence occurred. To do this, they will work with you to show that the four elements of negligence were present. Those elements are as follows:
- Duty of Care: Boat operators owe a duty of care to one another to keep everyone safe on waterways. This includes not drinking, driving carefully, assigning a lookout, and driving the speed limit.
- Breached Duty of Care: When the boat operator acts negligently, they’ve violated this duty of care.
- Causation: The boat operator’s negligence led to injury or wrongful death.
- Damages: The victim(s) suffered damages during the accident and should be compensated.
Immediately following a boat accident, collecting as much evidence as possible to support your claim is important. This can include taking pictures of the accident, damages to the vessel, and injuries to those involved. Other evidence to help your Marble Falls boat accident lawyer are witness statements, medical records, documentation of lost wages, and BAC records.
Boating Accident Damages
The Marble Falls boat accident attorneys from Janicek Law will work toward recovering compensation for the following damages:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Physical therapy
- Medical equipment costs, like wheelchairs and other mobility devices
- Loss of earning capacity
- Counseling costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Expenses related to the funeral and burial of a loved one if the accident resulted in wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Boat Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas for Serious Injury Claims
The statute of limitations for boating accidents in Texas is two years after the accident. It’s important to contact an experienced boat accident attorney as soon as possible because you cannot recover compensation for damages if the two-year limit passes.
Call a Marble Falls Boat Accident Lawyer at Janicek Law Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a boat accident caused by the negligence of another, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. No matter what type of watercraft was involved in the accident, the Marble Falls personal injury attorneys at Janicek Law can handle it.
We also provide legal services for residents in Houston, Austin, Horseshoe Bay, and the surrounding areas. To schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate personal injury attorneys, contact Janicek Law by calling 210-366-4949 today.