There is no more serene feeling than the one you get when you spend a day on the water. The warmth of the sun on your shoulders, the breeze in your hair, and the sound of water gently lapping against your boat all evoke a sense of well-being. The last thing you expect on a day like this is a boating accident or a boating injury. Unfortunately, though, it happens, and it is far more likely to happen when a boat operator is intoxicated.
The Austin boating accident lawyers of Loewy Law Firm have seen it all, and we have helped victims who have suffered injuries caused by intoxicated boating. If you’ve been injured by an intoxicated boater, call us for a free consultation at (512) 280-0800 today.
Intoxicated Boating Laws in Texas
Whether it happens during a day out on the lake sailing and sunning, or while you’re water skiing or fishing, or even at a fun event on a party boat, an accident on the water can be especially dangerous and even deadly. When water is involved, it may be more difficult to get help and the odds of serious injury increase.
In Texas, there are laws that boat operators must adhere to. Boating while intoxicated (BWI) or boating while under the influence (BUI) is serious, and the penalties can be harsh. Penalties may include fines, jail time, and license suspension.
In Texas, passengers on a boat are permitted to imbibe, but it is against the law for operators of a boat to become intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, whether they are operating a canoe, a wave runner, a fishing boat, or any other watercraft. The only exception is if the operator is using a boat that is propelled only by the current.
Texas law prohibits a watercraft operator from being:
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol to the point of losing their normal use of physical or mental faculties
- Having a blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration of .08% or more
Why Intoxicated Boating Is So Dangerous
There are many factors that come into play when someone is injured on the water. An injured party may not be able to swim because of their injury, or may be submerged and subject to drowning or brain damage from being underwater too long. Injuries are also possible if a victim is hit by a propeller or the watercraft itself. And when out on the water, first aid and travel to emergency medical services can be far more difficult and time-consuming. A watercraft operator is bound by Texas law to render aid, but that does not always happen.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents
Operator inattention is the most common cause of boating accidents, according to boating statistics from 2019 kept by the US Coast Guard. And when you add drugs or alcohol into the mix, all forms of accidents can take place. Other causes of boating accidents can include:
- Excessive speed
- Reckless driving
- Operator inexperience
- Collision with an object
- Collision with a recreational vehicle
- Falling overboard
- Departing the vessel during change of speed or direction
- Slip and fall onboard
Injuries Suffered by Boat Accident Victims
As you can imagine, boating accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, even under the safest conditions. That’s because you are dealing with water, which carries potential danger even for skilled swimmers. Other dangers include slippery surfaces, other water vessels traveling in the same areas that may not be operating safely, and more.
But when an operator is commanding a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the chances of accidents and injuries are far more extreme. Common boat accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Limb amputations
Who Is Liable for My Injuries?
When a watercraft operator is negligent in the operation of their vessel, they are liable for your injury. This can mean the unsafe operation of the vessel due to intoxication or for any other reason, including departing in unfavorable weather, among other things. If your accident was caused by another boater, or if it happened on a chartered cruise or a party boat, both the operator and the owner of the company may be responsible. If another party on the boat caused or created dangerous circumstances that led to an injury, they may be liable as well.
Compensation for a Boat Accident
As with any other injury, there can be a long list of expenses associated with an intoxicated boating accident. Depending on your injury and recovery, compensation may include:
- Medical evaluation
- Medical treatment
- Travel to and from medical care
- Surgery, if required
- Psychological counseling
- Loss of work income
- Loss of existing career
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring
- Loss of consortium
- In the case of death, survivors may be compensated for some of their losses
How Loewy Law Firm Could Help
The time immediately after a boating accident is one of confusion, pain, turmoil, and perhaps despair. Your life has been interrupted, and it may be very difficult to get things back on track. You may be experiencing pain. You may be suffering from the trauma. You may not be able to go back to work right away. And you may not know where to turn.
At Loewy Law Firm, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to navigate the complexities of an intoxicated boating accident. We have been through this before, and we can help you to understand what to expect and explore all of your options. We know that not all boating accidents are the same, and we will tailor your representation to present the best case possible on your behalf.
Contact a Loewy Law Firm boat accident attorney now, and schedule your free consultation. We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have, and you can call (512) 280-0800 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
We work hard and with great determination to prepare the best case possible for each client. And we will handle your case with the utmost respect. You’ll know that we care about your well-being. Call today.