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Texas Personal Injury News

Friday, March 3, 2017

FAQ About Boaters’ Liability & Lawsuits

Our great state of Texas is blessed with a wide array of rivers, lakes and shorefront – promising endless hours of recreation for tourists and locals alike. However, as with most activities, boating is not without risk – and even the most seasoned sailors could face liability in the event of a mishap. The following discusses some of the issues surrounding boaters’ liability in Texas, as well as what you can do if you find yourself injured as a result of a collision or accident.

FAQ #1: Is there such a thing as “boating under the influence?”

Absolutely. All too often, boating enthusiasts take to the water without giving much thought to the concept of boating while intoxicated. However, Texas takes a stern approach toward minimizing boater intoxication, and has enacted laws similar to DUI regulations statewide. Under current law, any person caught operating a boat, personal watercraft, water skis, sailboard or similar device with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater is considered under the influence. A first conviction of BUI carries a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and a maximum fine of $2,000. The second conviction carries a maximum sentence up to one year and a fine of $4,000; while the third conviction carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail term of 2-10 years.

FAQ #2: Does personal injury law cover boating accidents?

Yes. Much like auto accidents, boating injury lawsuits are decided based on the laws of negligence. In other words, at the time of the incident, was the defendant acting as a reasonable, safe boat operator. These inquiries are heavily fact-driven, and the court will consider whether the defendant’s actions immediately leading up to the incident were reasonable in nature. Examples of possible unreasonable conduct could include boating under the influence, failure to navigate safely, speeding, boating in restricted areas, failure to maintain required gear, or operating a watercraft without sufficient knowledge.

FAQ #3: What should I do if I was injured in a boating accident?

If you were recently injured in an accident involving a sailboat, personal water craft or other type of boating apparatus, you may be able to recover the costs of your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit for damages. If the defendant was at fault, you may recover the actual costs of your harm (e.g., medical bills) as well as non-quantifiable damages such as pain and suffering.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today!

If you were recently involved in a boating accident in Texas, please contact Chandler Mathis & Zivley today:


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