When it gets warm in Austin, people head for the water. From Barton Springs to Lake Austin, there’s no shortage of places to take a cool dip, make some waves on a wakeboard, or water ski the day away. You might be surprised to learn that the COVID pandemic caused a significant increase in boating activity nationwide in 2020 and that the number of first-time boat owners increased by over 35 percent. This jump in inexperienced boaters led to a 25 percent increase in fatalities from boat accidents.
If an inexperienced boat operator injured you or someone you love, consider speaking to the Austin boating accident attorneys at Loewy Law Firm. We may be able to help you obtain compensation to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages. Call us today at 512-280-0800 for a free consultation, and let us review your case. Don’t let an inexperienced boat operator hang you out to dry. Call Loewy Law Firm today.
The Importance of Knowing How to Operate a Boat
Anyone born on or after September 1st, 1993 must obtain a Boater Education Certificate from an approved provider if they wish to operate any boat with more than 15 horsepower, a sailboat over 14 feet long, or any personal watercraft on Texas waterways. Anyone under 13 years of age is prohibited from piloting any personal watercraft without someone over 18 accompanying them.
Knowing the basics of boat operation and safety is essential for keeping operators and passengers safe when they’re on the water. The reasons for this are essentially the same as the reasons a license is required to drive a car: not knowing the rules everyone else is required to follow is a sure-fire way to injure yourself or others. A boat is a complicated machine that requires instruction and practice to operate safely.
The most obvious reason for a boater education course is that proper instruction will make you a better boater. Expanding your knowledge of right-of-way rules, water etiquette, boat maintenance, and best practices for boating will make every boating trip more enjoyable and safer for everyone involved.
The second reason is that boater education saves lives. One study showed that 85 percent of fatal boat accidents involved an operator who hadn’t taken a boater education course.
There are several more good reasons for learning how to operate a boat correctly. It’s the law in most states, including Texas, insurance providers may give discounts to owners who take an approved education course, and a violation may end up costing you money in fines or, in some cases, prevent you from ever operating a boat.
How Inexperience Causes Boat Accidents
An inexperienced boat operator can cause accidents and severe injury in a heartbeat. Some of the possible accident scenarios include:
- Marina or Dock Accidents: Moving a boat into or out of the water is very dangerous, and maneuvering in shallow water or close to the shore can quickly lead to accidents and injuries.
- Collisions: Learning right-of-way and proper boating etiquette are essential to avoiding collisions with other boats or watercraft.
- Flooding or Swamping Accidents: A boat loaded with too many passengers or too much equipment can result in flooding, swamping, or sinking a boat.
- Falling overboard: An inexperienced boat operator may not know how to prevent passengers from falling overboard or how to retrieve them once they’ve fallen.
- Capsizing: Trying to pilot a boat under extreme weather conditions or high wind and waves is hazardous with an experienced operator, but with an inexperienced one, the chance of severe injury or death is high.
Injuries Caused by Inexperienced Boaters
Being out on the water means the risk of drowning is ever-present, but an inexperienced boat operator can cause any number of other injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Soft tissue injuries
Compensation for a Boating Accident
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, compensation will usually come from the responsible party’s insurance company. Although boating insurance is not required in Texas, many homeowners’ insurance policies may pay for limited amounts of damage, many docks and marinas require boaters who use their facilities to carry insurance, and many boat owners purchase boat insurance to protect their investment.
You can be compensated for any losses you suffered due to the boating accident. Some of these losses are tied to the financial costs of treating your injury, and some are linked to the trauma of the accident itself.
Losses related to the financial costs of the accident are called economic damages. Some examples include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost opportunity
- Lost wages, now or in the future
Losses related to the mental toll the accident takes on the victim are called noneconomic damages. Some examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
Your attorney will help you decide which losses apply to your claim and how much compensation to demand from the responsible party.
How Loewy Law Firm Can Help
Hiring an attorney for your boating accident may seem unnecessary until you understand just how a lawyer can help.
We will make the claims process easier and more manageable for you and your family. We will thoroughly investigate the accident that caused your injury to determine who bears responsibility and do all in our power to pursue compensation for your losses. This may include interviewing witnesses, obtaining accident reports, or gathering medical records. We will work diligently to get you the justice you deserve while you rest and recover from your injuries.
Call Loewy Law Firm Today
Don’t delay any longer. The statute of limitations on personal injury suits in Texas is two years, which means you must file any lawsuit for compensation before two years pass. Time is a factor in obtaining compensation. Call us today at 512-280-0800for a free consultation. We will work to protect your rights and get you the fair compensation you need to move on after a boating accident. Call Loewy Law Firm today.