Bossier City Boat Accident Attorney
Well-known for its lakes, rivers, bayous, and many other waterways, boating is a particularly popular activity in the state of Louisiana. Recreational boating and other water activities such as water skiing, jet skiing, and fishing are available nearly year-round in the Sportsman’s Paradise. However, while boating and water activities are fun, operating a boat must be taken extremely seriously to avoid accidents.
Boating accidents can be just as catastrophic as Bossier City car accidents when it comes to the injuries sustained. Due to the fact that boat drivers and passengers do not wear seatbelts, these accidents cause severe injuries and even death. When hurt in a boat collision, you need the help of an experienced boating accident lawyer in Bossier City and Shreveport, LA.
The Louisiana lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis have extensive experience helping Shreveport-Bossier area clients injured by someone else’s negligence on the water. Please reach out to our boating accident lawyers today to establish your attorney-client relationship and get to work on building your case.
What is a Boating Accident?
Boating accidents involve recreational boats as well as barges, tugboats, workboats, jet skis, and other watercraft. When there is negligent operation of any of these watercraft, physical injuries and even death can result.
Maritime law applies to recreational boat crashes that inflict injuries onshore or aboard a ship. Per maritime law, victims have a limited amount of time to report an accident for maritime claims. Louisiana’s statute of limitations for maritime claims is three years from the date you were injured or realized you were injured. If you don’t file your claim during this time, Louisiana law may bar you from seeking compensation for your damages.
Certain laws may also be in place that work to protect watercraft owners and operators, although there are still avenues you may pursue to hold them responsible. As a result, these types of personal injury claims can be hard to fight and often require the assistance of experienced personal injury lawyers. If you need a Shreveport boating accident attorney familiar with maritime law working on your Bossier City personal injury lawsuit, call Michael J. Vergis today.
The law of the sea is known as maritime law, but may also be called admiralty law. It includes treaties, conventions, and laws governing issues on the water.
This type of law is broad and complex, so seeking compensation from the party responsible for your injuries is typically challenging. That’s why the best step you can take is obtaining the help of a Bossier or Shreveport boating accident lawyer.
What Are Common Causes of Louisiana Boat Accidents?
There are various causes of boating accidents; however, the three most common include operating errors, equipment failure, and dangerous weather.
This type of accident occurs when people operate their boats irresponsibly. Examples include speeding, negligence, operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, recklessness, and distracted boating. It also includes poor decision-making when avoiding obstacles such as other boats, tree stumps, or fishing nets.
Failure of Equipment
There are various ways in which equipment or machinery such as motors, anchors, whistles, or life jackets may fail or malfunction, leading to serious injury accidents.
A watercraft operator may face hazardous conditions in severe weather. High waves may make steering difficult, and if not handled with care, the boat may run aground or capsize. This may be due to aggressive steering or being unprepared for adverse conditions, among many other reasons.
Some other potential causes include:
- A boat hitting a log, rock, or other submerged items
- A boat colliding with land or a dock
- Boats running into one another
- A boat hitting a wave or another boat’s wake
As with auto accidents, the majority of boat wrecks result from the negligence or impairment of drivers.
What Laws Apply to Boaters in Louisiana?
Louisiana sets guidelines governing all boats on its waterways. For example, Louisiana law requires that all boat operators be 16 years or older. In addition, completing approved boating safety and boater education courses is required of all operators born after January 1, 1984. Otherwise, someone older than 18 who completed the course (if required) must accompany them.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) also lays out boating regulations that essentially set “road rules” for vessels. These rules govern right-of-way, passing, yielding, driving, and more. Even more restrictions apply to personal watercraft like sea-doos and jet skis and prohibit activities such as wake jumping and weaving through traffic. Boat operators must drive sober and avoid overpowering and overloading the boat. Passenger safety is also their responsibility.
Negligent boat drivers that run into another boat, water skier, or swimmer recklessly or negligently may be liable for the injuries they cause. They may also be responsible for injuries stemming from boats colliding as well as passengers who are hurt on the boat or who fall overboard.
Unsafe rental equipment can land boat rental companies in hot water if the necessary safety equipment or emergency gear is unavailable. Renting to intoxicated or underage persons is a liability as well.
What Are Common Boat Accident Injuries?
Injuries resulting from boating accidents may be severe or even fatal. Some of the most common injuries Louisiana boat accident victims suffer include:
- Head and brain injuries, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Burn injuries
- Neck injury such as whiplash
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Broken bones and ligament injuries
- Loss of limb/amputations
- Wrongful death
Fortunately, boat accident victims have legal avenues for justice and financial recovery for their injuries when another person causes them injury with their negligent behavior. If the claim is a wrongful death action, families of the deceased victim may still receive damages from the liable party. In either case, the first step to proper is hiring Bossier City-Shreveport boating accident lawyer Michael J. Vergis.
Who is Liable For a Boating Accident?
Depending on the facts of your case, several parties may hold liability for your accident on the water, including but not limited to the:
- Boat Operator or Owner – The boat owner or operator is responsible for their passengers’ safety. If they knew about potential dangers and did not warn those on board or fix the issue, they may be held liable.
- Crew Members – Crew members are legally required to help when needed. Not doing so may lead to an accident and serious injuries.
- Boaters – Boat operators owe a duty to follow navigation regulations and laws, ensuring the safety of others on the water. They also owe the same obligation to themselves and their passengers.
What Damages Can I Recover from My Boating Accident?
You are entitled to compensatory damages if a boater’s negligent behavior causes you significant injury. Like with many auto accidents, you may be able to recover financial compensation for medical costs, including past and future medical expenses, doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and medical procedures, as well as for lost earnings and earning capacity, pain and suffering, wrongful death damages, and more.
Our Bossier City boating accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis will review the details of your boating accident injuries and design a fool-proof plan to receive proper compensation from the responsible parties. Our firm’s lawyers are dedicated to helping you through the entire process, from filing your insurance claim to fighting for your personal injury lawsuit in court.
What To Do After a Boat Accident
If you’ve suffered injuries in a Bossier or Shreveport boat accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Once your injuries have been addressed, it is important that you obtain professional advice from an experienced team of boating accident lawyers. They’ll evaluate your case during your consultation and determine whether you have a boating accident case.
After your boating accident, the liable party’s insurance provider may step in with a quick settlement offer. On the other hand, they may deny liability altogether and battle your accident lawyers. Always remember, an insurance adjuster isn’t there to help you. Their job is protecting their employer’s bottom line, which means paying you as little as possible for your Louisiana boating accident. Never give an insurance company a recorded statement or volunteer information before speaking with an experienced boating accident attorney.
Call for a Free Legal Consultation with Our Experienced Bossier City Accident Lawyers
In all the personal injury cases he takes on, Attorney Micheal J. Vergis works hard to maximize his clients’ damages and recover the compensation they deserve to help pay their medical bills, property damage, lost wages, physical therapy, and more. Rest assured, the law firm of Michael J. Vergis will stay by your side throughout the entirety of your case. You won’t pay any up-front fees or costs because we work on a contingency basis. This lets you focus on recovery rather than the stress of unexpected bills.
Please call the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis today at (318) 698-3724 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys provide top-notch, professional services when you’re involved in a boating accident.
Attorney Vergis also represents clients facing a range of other legal matters, including Louisiana civil rights cases, Bossier family law, Bossier City criminal defense, and more.