Boat AccidentsDallas Boating Accident Attorney

When you need a boating accident lawyer, trust in the legal expertise of the Dallas Law Office of Dorothy Hyde. Over the past 25 years, Dottie Hyde has used her in-depth knowledge of boating regulations and laws — combined with her tenacity — to secure large settlements and jury awards for victims of a boat collision or other watercraft accidents where negligence is a factor.

Contact attorney Dorothy Hyde. If we don’t win your case, there are no fees!
Call Toll Free: 214-883-1700

Boating accident statistics

Boating accidents are quite common in Texas, as our state has over 3,300 miles of shoreline, and nearly 8,000 square miles of inland water. According to 2013 statistics compiled by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which handles boating licensing and enforcement, the state had:

  • 206 boating accidents
  • 85 injuries
  • 22 fatalities
  • 209 Boating While Intoxicated arrests

The U.S. Coast Guard ranked Texas third – following Florida and California – in the number of recreational boating deaths.

Types of boating accidents

A collision between two water vessels is the most common type of boating accident, which is why a speed boat crash is so frightening. These high performance boats can travel at more than 90 miles per hour. While less common than a speed boat accident, a jet ski, yacht, or sail boat accident can also result in serious injury or death.

Other types of boating accidents:

  • Collisions with fixed objects
  • Slip and falls overboard
  • Suctions into propellers
  • Fires and explosions
  • Water skier mishaps
  • Capsizing and drowning

What is the cause of most boating accidents?

When examining “under which conditions do most boating accidents occur”, our attorneys often find:

  • Carelessness or reckless operation
  • Operator inattention or distraction
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use
  • Machinery system failure
  • No proper lookout
  • Improper loading
  • Overloading
  • Navigation rules violation

In most cases, the boat operator becomes the focus of litigation, but liability after a boat accident may involve:

  • People who knowingly served a boating operator excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Boating parts manufacturers and service providers
  • Employer or boat service provider for commercial water vessels
  • Government entities responsible for keeping waterways in safe navigable condition

Boating laws hold watercraft operators to a legal duty of care, so the failure to look out for the safety of all passengers and others on the waterways automatically implies negligence. To prove that negligent operation of the boat was directly responsible for a death or serious injuries, the plaintiff’s attorneys must gather evidence, such as:

  • Photographs
  • Coast Guard or police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records and testimony
  • Statements from industry experts

Common causes of death in boating accidents

Not surprisingly, drowning is the main cause of death in fatal boating accidents. Worst case scenarios leading to a boating accident death include:

  • Drowning
  • Trauma
  • Hypothermia
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Family members who are suing for a fatal boat accident may be entitled to additional damages, including: wrongful death, funerary expense coverage, loss of companionship, loss of guidance and loss of future income.

Is it illegal to drink and drive a boat?

The same rules for drinking and driving apply to boat operators. In Texas, a boat operator can be arrested for Boating While Intoxicated if he or she:

  • Appears to be impaired, and/or
  • Has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher while operating a boat

Maximum penalties for BWI include automatic license suspension, maximum fines of $2,000, and up to 180 days in jail.

When must a boating accident report be filed?

The law (Section 31.105 of the Parks and Wildlife Code) requires Texas boat operators to report an accident if it causes:

  • Death (within 48 hours)
  • Injuries requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Damage to vessel(s) or property in excess of $2,000.00

To report a yacht, speed boat, paddleboat, jet ski, or sailboat accident, contact the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s 24-hour police communications operator at (512) 389-4848. Then contact a boating accident attorney at (214) 883-1700.

Jet ski accident

People involved in a jet ski accident are more likely to suffer serious harm due to the high speeds involved and lack of protective cover.

Jet ski injuries:

  • Amputations
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Death
  • Disfigurement
  • Drowning
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Hypothermia
  • Lacerations
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Jet ski crash lawsuits can be complicated, especially when the equipment has been rented. However, a waiver does not automatically release the rental agency from liability, particularly if the equipment or their practices are found to be unsafe.

What is the value of my boat accident injury claim?

Plaintiffs in boating crash lawsuits have received compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (past, present and future)
  • Loss of income and earning capacity
  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral expenses

While no guarantees can be made, it’s not unusual to see successful outcomes reach the hundreds of thousands or even millions in these cases.

Boat accident lawyer Dallas TX

If your boating accident injury or loss was caused by someone else’s negligence, call us today for a free case evaluation. There are never any upfront fees for us to handle your case and you will only pay if your case is won. A boat accident lawyer from the Office of Dorothy Hyde will aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve! Call (214) 883-1700.

Boating accident resources

  1. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department – Boating Facts http://tpwd.texas.gov/education/boater-education/additional-resources/boating-facts
  2. NBC Dallas Ft Worth – Texas 3rd in Number of Boating Deaths for 2013 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Texas-3rd-in-Number-of-Boating-Deaths-for-2013-259232511.html
  3. US Coast Guard – 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics Report http://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2014.pdf
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