Shreveport Boating Accident Lawyer
Boat Accident Attorney in Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield, Louisiana
Helping those who have been injured due to the fault of another in a boat accident.
There’s nothing like having a fun, relaxing day at the lake in the midst of a boiling Louisiana summer. Boating is a popular activity in Sportsman’s Paradise, and for good reason. The cool water in Louisiana’s various lakes, rivers, and bayous can provide a much-needed reprieve on a hot day. Unfortunately, boating accidents can take away all the fun and result in severe injuries or worse. If you or someone you loved was injured or wrongfully killed in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
Contact a Shreveport boating accident lawyer from Gordon & Gordon Law Firm today. Our dedicated personal injury lawyers can get you the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Call us at (318) 716-4357 to schedule your free legal consultation today.
Louisiana Boating Laws
Personal watercraft have laws that govern them, just like motor vehicles do. Louisiana law lays out some important laws for safe boating:
- Boat operators can be no younger than 16 years old
- If the operator is born after January 1, 1984, they are required to attend an approved boater education course
- All operators must be sober (you can get a DUI just as easily on the water)
- Avoid overloading the boat
These laws are enforced to keep people safe. Failing to adhere to these requirements can result in fines at the very least and the tragic loss of life in much worse cases.
What Causes a Boating Accident?
Like Shreveport motor vehicle accidents, most boating accidents are caused by negligence or impairment. Excessive speed, hazardous conditions, and inexperience can also lead to serious accidents. However, a collision isn’t the only type of boating accident. Severe injuries can result from the boat hitting a wave, hitting another boat’s wake, or hitting submerged obstacles like logs and rocks. Below, we outline the most common causes of boating accidents:
Reckless and Careless Operation
Boater education courses are recommended for every boater, driving or not. Those born after January 1, 1984, are required to take an approved boating safety course before operating a motorboat with over 10 horsepower. Waterways have “rules of the road,” just like any other trafficked area. Speed limits, passing rules, and right of way are all aspects of boating that operators should know. Disregarding these rules can result in a boat collision.
Overloading the boat or not distributing the weight evenly can make it hard to control. Many boats have a capacity limit or a manual that can tell you how much weight the boat can hold and how it should be distributed.
Boats don’t have brakes. Some motorboats have reverse gear that can help slow the speed of the boat, but a boat can’t come to a complete stop in the water. This means that the only way to avoid an accident is to be aware of your passengers, your watercraft, and the watercraft around you. Inexperience can lead to poor handling of the vessel and increase the risk of collision with another boat or underwater obstacle.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, alcohol is involved in more than 40% of fatal boating accidents. Alcohol can reduce reaction time and make it difficult to make snap decisions while traveling.
Alcohol & Sun
Many people don’t realize that significant sun exposure can compound the effects of alcohol. Both the sun and alcohol can dehydrate you and make your impairment worse. That, mixed with the constant movement from the water, can result in a higher-than-normal impairment level.
Louisiana residents know our weather can go through all four seasons in a day. It may look like a perfect, sunny day for boating in the morning, but thunderstorms can roll in quickly. Rain and wind can make the water choppy, and it can also decrease visibility for boaters.
Watercraft should always be inspected before taking it out on the water. Failure to do so can result in equipment failure. If the boat was rented, the boat rental company is responsible for maintenance and inspection. Motors, anchors, and life jackets can also malfunction and lead to serious injuries.
Common Boating Accident Injuries
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries, and many of these injuries have lasting consequences. If you suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent boat driver, you may have a boating accident case. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common boating accident injuries we see at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Any type of blow to the head can result in a traumatic brain injury. TBIs can happen during an impact accident or from falling into the water. Getting a thorough medical exam after any accident is important to rule out injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. Brain injuries can take days and even weeks to manifest after an accident. If a boating accident led to you or a loved one suffering a TBI, you need the help of experienced Louisiana brain injury lawyers like Gordon & Gordon.
Drowning is an added risk of a boating accident. Even if the drowning does not cause death, the victim can face lasting damage from the injury. For instance, drowning in bacteria-filled water can result in lung infections. Also, if the victim is not resuscitated immediately, a lack of oxygen to the brain can result in cognitive damage.
Loss of Limb
Motorized boats have propellers to travel through the water. These metal blades can cut through flesh and bone as easily as they cut through water. A propeller injury runs the risk of severe infection as well, since the injury likely happens in a waterway full of bacteria. A propeller injury can easily result in the loss of a limb. These amputation injuries can happen if someone falls out of the boat and is run over, or if a negligent boat driver goes through designated swimming-only waters.
Spinal Cord Damage
Damage to your neck or back can cause a catastrophic injury to your spinal cord. Spinal cord damage can result in loss of motor control and sensation in some parts of your body. Depending on the level of the injury, spinal cord damage can result in total paralysis below the injury or on one side of your body. Our Shreveport catastrophic injury attorneys can help ensure you are compensated for such extensive losses as these.
A boating accident can even be fatal in the most tragic cases. In 2020, there were 24 boating-related fatalities in Louisiana. In these cases, a wrongful death action can be filed to help the family handle the financial burden of the death of a loved one. If this is the case for you, we encourage you to reach out to our Northwest Louisiana wrongful death attorneys as soon as you can.
Who is Liable for Boat Accident Injuries?
One of the most difficult parts of personal injury cases is determining and proving the liable party. The boat owner is not always the boat operator, and an insurance company may have rules regarding coverage for non-owner operators. The situation can be even more complex if boat rental companies are involved.
Let the boating accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm work on this difficult part of the case while you focus on healing. If you or a loved one sustained a significant injury during a boat accident, call an experienced boating accident lawyer at one of our Shreveport, Bossier City, or Mansfield personal injury law offices today.
Damages for Louisiana Boat Accident Victims
Injuries sustained in boat accidents can have life-long consequences. At Gordon & Gordon, we know the actual cost of an injury is more than medical costs. Without a personal injury lawsuit, full financial recovery is almost impossible for most people. The boating accident lawyers at Gordon & Gordon fight to recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Permanent disability
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses and burial costs, if the accident resulted in wrongful death
Boating accident claims can seem overwhelming, especially while you’re trying to heal from an injury or the wrongful death of a loved one. In some cases, the court may even award punitive damages intended to punish the negligent party and discourage others from acting similarly in the future.
Louisiana Statute of Limitations
Under Louisiana law, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one year. This means injured victims only have one year to file a boating accident lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries. A year may seem like plenty of time, but recovering from an extensive injury can take longer than you think. Missing this deadline can result in losing the ability to receive any compensation for your injuries. Establishing an attorney-client relationship with a Shreveport personal injury lawyer can ensure that you meet these legal deadlines.
Call an Experienced Louisiana Boating Accident Lawyer at Gordon & Gordon Today
If you or a loved one sustained injuries during a boating accident, please call the personal injury lawyers at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm today. Our lawyers are ready to fight for the financial resources you need to recover from your extensive injuries. We have been serving the residents of Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield for more than a decade. Give us a call at (318) 716-4357 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation with a Shreveport boating accident attorney at Gordon & Gordon today.