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Boating Accidents

Experienced East Texas Lawyer Handles Boating Accident Cases

Tyler-based attorney is a board-certified Personal Injury Trial Law specialist

When a boating accident occurs, you can’t pull over to the side of the road. As you struggle to right your vessel and tend to injured parties, the open water can be merciless. For this reason, whether you’re on a yacht or a personal watercraft, prudent operation of the vessel is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, too many operators engage in risky and reckless behavior on the water, creating hazards for innocent parties. If you’ve been harmed by a negligent boater, the Porter Law Firm, P.C. is ready to help. Since 1997, I have assisted injured parties throughout East Texas. I am one of the very few personal injury attorneys practicing in Texas who is actually a board-certified specialist. As such, I am determined to use my skill, knowledge and experience to deliver the best possible results in your case.

Top 10 reasons for boating accidents

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the most common causes of recreational boating accidents in 2016 were as follows:

  • Operator inattention — Caused 597 accidents, resulting in 45 deaths and 373 injuries
  • Operator inexperience — Caused 480 accidents, resulting in 62 deaths and 301 injuries
  • Improper lookout — Caused 475 accidents, resulting in 20 deaths and 380 injuries
  • Excessive speed — Caused 360 accidents, resulting in 39 deaths and 275 injuries
  • Machinery failure — Caused 323 accidents, resulting in 9 deaths and 117 injuries
  • Alcohol use — Caused 282 accidents, resulting in 87 deaths and 264 injuries
  • Weather — Caused 214 accidents, resulting in 41 deaths and 103 injuries
  • Navigation rules violation — Caused 213 accidents, resulting in 10 deaths and 157 injuries
  • Hazardous waters — Caused 205 accidents, resulting in 80 deaths and 97 injuries
  • Force of wave or wake — Caused 160 accidents, resulting in 7 deaths and 137 injuries

Most of these common causes relate directly to negligent operation of the vessel, so the operator is likely at fault for any personal injuries. Equipment failure can be the fault of the manufacturer, or the owner of the boat can be liable because of faulty maintenance. When weather, hazardous waters or the force of a wake is to blame, the operator’s management of the vessel can also be called into question. Did the operator check weather forecasts or disregard warnings? Was the operator negligent in deciding to enter hazardous waters or failing to avoid them? In my practice, I consult qualified experts to ascertain the cause of a boating accident and hold the right parties accountable.

The danger of boating while intoxicated (BWI)

Of the common causes relating to negligent operation, boating under the influence of alcohol is the deadliest. As with motor vehicle operation, there is a legal limit for blood alcohol content. Operators with a BAC of 0.08 percent and above can be charged with BWI, or boating while intoxicated.

Unfortunately, too many recreational boaters feel they have to consume alcohol to have a good time, even out on the water. They have a mistaken notion that the open waters are more forgiving than narrow lanes of traffic, but consuming alcohol while boating affects skill and decision-making as much as it does on land. Drunken boaters take risks that sober operators would not, such as using excessive speed and making risky maneuvers. They also have a tendency to take the deadliest risk of all: boating without a life vest. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, in about 80 percent of all drownings that occur with boating accidents, the victim was not wearing a life vest.

Contact a personal injury specialist in East Texas for your boating accident case

If you were injured in a recreational boating accident, you have a right to full compensation. Trust your claim to a board-certified personal injury specialist who can deliver the professional representation you need. Call the Porter Law Firm, P.C. at 903-561-5144 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation at my Tyler office.

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  • Tyler Office
    3311 Woods Boulevard
    Suite 2
    Tyler, Texas 75707
    Phone: 903-561-5144
    Fax: 903-705-6253