Even though Louisiana doesn't top the country in the number of boating accidents, the total number of injured individuals in New Orleans and Baton Rouge has been on the rise since 2015.
Every year, the U.S. coast guard compiles statistics on recreational boating accidents and, in 2015, there were a total of 87 incidents. 20 of these were fatal. Fast forward to 2019 and the number of injured people increased to 105.
Many of these unfortunate incidents start out as a family fishing trip on Lake Charles or a trip with friends out on the water. However, negligence, inexperience, and sudden, inclement weather can turn a day of fun into a serious personal injury.
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If the worst happens, it's imperative that you can turn to trustworthy, experienced, and empathetic legal representation. Our personal injury lawyers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge can help you navigate the complicated waters of boating accidents during a no-obligation consultation.
Learn everything you need to know about this type of personal injury, including the most common boating accidents in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and what steps you should take to protect yourself after you're injured.
What is a Boating Accident?
A boating accident involves a recreational boat and watercraft such as tugboats, crewboats, workboats, and barges that result in physical pain or death.
When caught in recreational boating accidents, the maritime law applies to the injuries you sustain while on the ship or onshore and the injuries caused to others.
Maritime law states that there's a limited amount of time to report an accident for maritime claims. If you fail to do so, the court may not be able to give you justice, and you won't be able to recover compensation or medical bills.
Boating accidents can occur in the Great Lakes region, inland waterways, and coastal regions of America (including New Orleans and Baton Rouge).
The Three Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Louisiana
There are many causes of recreational boating accidents, but three of the most common ones include:
Operator error happens when people often act irresponsibly while operating their boats. This manifests itself through distracted boating, excessive speed, negligence, recklessness, or bad decisions about which direction to travel to avoid obstacles like other boats or fishing nets.
Failure of Equipment
This cause for equipment failure ranges from the motor to the anchor or even life jackets and whistles.
Rough weather can cause boating accidents by imposing difficult conditions on the operator. The waves in rough seas make it hard to steer, and there is a risk of capsizing or running aground if not handled delicately.
There are many reasons for this happening, including steering too aggressively or being unprepared for adverse conditions that arise suddenly (such as an unexpected squall).
Besides these issues, there are two more factors that could cause an injury while you're boating. This includes not having a proper lookout and excessive speed.
Even experienced operators need a reliable second and excessive speed coupled with “BUI” or “boating under the influence,” which accounts for up to 22% of injuries in Louisiana.
Common Personal Injuries Sustained
Common injuries sustained in boating accidents include:
- Bumps, bruises, and cuts from bumping into objects on the water such as rocks or docks.
- Concussions are caused by the boat's rocking movement that causes body parts to hit against solid objects like walls or furniture.
- Deep scratches and puncture wounds when boaters are thrown overboard because they weren't securely strapped in their seatbelts.
- Possibility for drowning if people don't know how to swim well enough to save themselves should a boat accident happen while out on the water on a boat with no life jackets nearby.
- Not really an injury in the strictest sense, but boat accidents may cause mental anguish and trauma that may prevent them from stepping on a boat ever again.
Who Is Liable For a Boating Accident?
There are a few different parties responsible for accidents that occur on the water.
Boat operator or owner
They are responsible for the safety of their passengers. They can be held liable if there were indications that they knew about a potential hazard on board but did not warn other boaters or take any action to reduce risk before a boat accident occurred.
They are legally obligated to assist when required. Failure to do so may have caused the accident that resulted in serious injuries.
They have a duty to themselves and other people out on the water in keeping with all navigation laws and regulations and taking care of their own personal safety and avoiding reckless behavior while onboard.
Steps to Take After a Boating Accident
After a boating accident, it is important to contact your insurance provider to report the incident. Your insurance company will conduct an investigation, and you may need to fill out an affidavit describing how the boat accident occurred. You should also check that everyone involved is safe and unharmed.
For boat operators and crew members involved in causing the accident, they must call a boating accident attorney for help. A boating injury lawyer serves clients by helping them navigate the state laws that dictate how their cases will be handled in court.
Conversely, boaters should reach out to a New Orleans personal injury attorney with experience helping people throughout New Orleans and Baton Rouge with their boating accident claims and personal injury case.
Before hiring a personal injury firm or boat accident attorneys, make sure to take their free case review. From here, you will be able to determine how you can proceed with pursuing compensation for your injuries and property damage.
Contact Our Boating Accident Lawyers to Help Save the Day
Whether you're the responsible party or are involved in boating accidents, it's necessary to hire Louisiana boat accident attorneys for help.
With 25 years of combined experience, the injury lawyers at Schwartz Law Firm L.L.C can help you ensure the law stays on your side. We're a Louisiana law firm with boating accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers on standby. We take care of all your case details, such as taking depositions, negotiating settlements for financial compensation, future medical expenses, and other claims.
Book a free consultation and we can help you understand your options regarding your particular boating injury case. Depending on your predicament, we may offer a free case evaluation to provide you with all the knowledge you need regarding the boating accident case.