Houston Boat Accident Lawyers
with Proven Results
The Preeminent rated attorneys at the Baumgartner Law Firm have been representing seriously injured Texans for over 30 years. We have substantial experience in helping victims of boat accidents. Whether the injury happened with the pleasure boat, Jet Ski or personal watercraft or commercial vessel, we understand complications of boat accident litigation and how to maximize personal injury recoveries.
Texas is a boater’s paradise with the most square miles of inland lakes of any state in the union. Additionally, our coastline provides much more recreational opportunities for Texas boaters.
Victims of boat accidents often have legal rights and options and we offer a no-obligation consultation to answer questions and concerns after a boating accident.
How Can Our Boat Accident Attorneys Help?
Initial investigations after a boat accident are a very important step to help preserve your rights and options. While the Parks and Wildlife Department generally investigate serious injury or wrongful death boat crashes, it’s important to have your own team analyze the cause of the accident.
According to Section 31.104 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code and operator after a boat after an accident is required to:
- Render assistance to other people as may be practical and necessary
- Exchange names, address and identification of the boat in writing to any person injured or the owner of any property damaged in a boat accident.
Additionally, a boat accident must be reported to the department within 30 days after the boat accident with appropriate information. If the boat accident results in the death the incident must be reported within 48 hours.
Rules That Apply To Boating
Often, boat accidents are caused by inexperienced operators. Mandatory boat operator education is required for anyone who was born after September 1, 1993, to operate a personal watercraft and certain motorboats.
Children younger than 13 years of age must wear a life jacket while in the boat that is less than 26 feet in length.
Right-of-way and other rules apply to boat accidents as they do to car accidents in the state of Texas.
Boat Accident Statistics in Texas
Since Southeast Texas is not the only host to the Gulf of Mexico but is also home to many other waterways, it is no surprise that boating has become a favorite past time. This outdoor activity not only allows one to enjoy the fresh air and Texas’ waterways, but it also allows one to relax. However, many times this relaxation and enjoyment of the water can lead to very serious consequences. According to the Coast Guard, in 2013 alone, there were an estimated 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths. Further, of this group, there were approximately 2,620 injuries, which then resulted in an estimated $39 million of damages as a direct result of recreational boating accidents.
Moreover, the research also indicates that, when it came to recreational vessels that are registered, the fatality rate was 4.7 deaths per 100,000 individuals. That is a 13% decrease from 2012, which saw 5.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals. In comparison to 2012, the research also indicated that the number of accidents decreased by 10%, with the number of deaths decreasing by 14%, and overall injuries decreasing by 12.7%.
Despite the slight decrease of boating accident deaths, one should still keep in mind the underlining facts of the issue.
Boating Accident Facts
- In cases where the cause of death was known, 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of the individuals who drowned, 84% were reported to not have a life jacket on during the incident.
- Only 20% of all deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction. Additionally, only 13% of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction from a NASBLA-approved course provider.
- An estimated 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.
- Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
- Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 16% of deaths.
- Twenty-two children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2013. Eight children or approximately 36% of the children who died in 2013 died from drowning. Two children or 25% of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket as required by state and federal law.
- Where data was known, the most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (46%), personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motorboats (17%).
As one can glean from the above information, there are many viable ways that accidents and fatalities related to recreational boating activities can be lessened. For instance, one of the most substantial preventive techniques that can be utilized is to ensure proper training of the operator and to obey all state, federal, and local laws. It is equally essential to ensure that life jackets are a staple when boating and should always be on board to prevent accidental drowning and other incidents.
For more Texas boat accident statistics click here.
Reporting A Boat Accident
Boating accidents may occur with any type of vessel including motorboats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, pontoon boats, sailboats, and any other vessels. An accident is an event or series of events that cause property damage, injury, or death. The U.S. Coast Guard lists some of the most common types of accidents as:
- Collision with a fixed object
- Collision with another vessel
- Collision with a floating object, including swimmers
- Running aground, sinking or flooding
- Fire or explosion
- Mishaps that involve a person on a towable object
- Someone falling overboard
The U.S. Coast Guard indicates that most boating accidents involve some level of negligence. Federal law requires the boat operator to report a boating accident any time the accident results in a personal injury, fatality, damage to property of more than $2,000, when a boat is destroyed, and when a person aboard a vessel goes missing. and types
One of the biggest problems in the state of Texas is people getting behind the wheel of the boat who are inexperienced in its safe operation when the Texas legislature required training, the fact remains that people operating boats without proper training cause a good number of accidents.
Enforcement of Boating Laws in Texas
The Texas Game Wardens provides professional water law enforcement, search and rescue and water safety in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard recognized national standards. The Texas Game Wardens are part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Law Enforcement Division and are commonly referred to as the ‘Texas Navy.’ They are tasked with the enforcement of the Texas Water Safety Act which includes a number of requirements and rules that boaters must follow.
Boating accidents can also include jet skis and happen all the time in places like Lake Conroe.
If you have lost a family member, or have a loved one severely injured, call us to talk about your rights and options. We charge nothing for an initial case consultation.
Call (281) 587-1111.