Lake Charles Boat Accident Lawyers
So much recreation takes place on Louisiana’s gorgeous bayous, expansive lakes, and wide, slow-flowing rivers, that boat accidents are bound to happen every so often. When they do, the results can be physically and financially devastating.
The personal injury attorneys at [firm-name] are highly experienced in these complicated cases. We have a deep understanding of Louisiana boating rules — and when someone breaks these rules and causes injury to you or a loved one, we will fight for you with prowess and compassion.
If you have been involved in a boat accident in Louisiana, do not hesitate to seek legal help. An attorney at [firm-name] can listen to your story and help illuminate a possible path to recovery. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled boat accident lawyer, call [phone-number] today.
Do I Need a Boat Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. While out on the water, boaters have a duty to manage their vessels responsibly. When they act carelessly and endanger others, they may be held accountable.
Despite the popularity of boat activities in Louisiana, boating regulations remain unfamiliar to — or even disregarded by — many people. Regardless, boaters are subject to many state and federal rules. This web of rules and regulations can present a confusing legal situation following an accident, posing significant challenges to victims seeking recovery. Furthermore, depending on the specific accident, maritime law or the Jones Act can add a layer of complexity to certain cases.
When faced with injury or property damage due to a boat accident, a boat accident lawyer can help you navigate your unique situation. An experienced attorney in this field will be well-versed in all the boating rules and regulations that apply to your case, and can use this knowledge to earn you compensation.
Why Choose [firm-name] to Handle My Case?
Over years of securing justice for our clients, [firm-name] has established itself as a premiere boating accident firm in Lake Charles. Your experienced personal injury attorney at [firm-name] will use a deep understanding of boating laws as well as aggressive litigation tactics to earn the compensation you deserve.
Our past clients’ testimonials stand as evidence of our skill in personal injury cases, as do awards that our attorneys and firm have received. We have had team members appear on lists of the Best Lawyers in America and in Louisiana Super Lawyers. [firm-name] has also earned a spot among the Top 10 Law Firms for Client Satisfaction.
If you choose [firm-name] to handle your boat accident case, you can rest assured that your attorney will pursue justice with skill and dedication. We are confident enough in our attorneys’ abilities to work with clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only have to pay our fees if we win compensation for you.
Types of Cases We Handle
Just like other types of vehicle accidents, boat accidents can result from many different causes. Furthermore, certain accidents may fall into different categories of legal action. Below, we have described some types of boat accident cases that we handle for our clients.
Some boat accidents, such as those caused by sudden inclement weather, are truly no one’s fault. However, blameless accidents of this sort are relatively rare. In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard found that only 552 of 4,168 boating accidents could be attributed to environmental factors. The vast majority of the remaining accidents resulted from different forms of boaters’ carelessness.
While operating a boat, there is a long list of ways in which someone can act negligently and cause harm to others. The state of Louisiana enforces a set of regulations to minimize such behavior, but boaters’ negligence still poses a threat to others on the water. Here are some forms of negligence which, in the event of an accident, may render victims eligible for compensation:
- Lack of certification: In order to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Louisiana, individuals born since 1984 must complete a state-approved boater education course. An exception to this rule is if another adult on board has completed the course, in which case someone without certification may drive the boat. In either of these scenarios, the boaters must have the certificate proving course completion in their possession and ready to present to an official. When the boat operator does not have or cannot produce a certificate of completion, this person has acted negligently.
- Violation of right-of-way rules: Among other topics, boater education courses cover a set of right-of-way rules to promote orderliness on Louisiana waterways. For example, when two boats approach each other from opposite directions, each boat must keep to its respective right to pass the other. Also, a boat approaching a dock must yield the right-of-way to any vehicles that are pulling away from the dock. The reckless violation of any of these and other similar rules qualifies as careless operation of a vessel, for which the boater may be held accountable.
- Violation of other “rules of the road”: In addition to right-of-way rules, there are other operation rules that are meant to minimize the risk of boat collisions. For instance, in foggy or other poor-visibility conditions, operators must issue warning signals from their boat. Other rules include the need to maintain an appropriate speed and to carefully look for other boats before making sudden turns. A boat driver who violates one of these rules and causes an accident may be held accountable.
- Intoxication: As is the case with driving a car, operating a boat while intoxicated can be extremely dangerous. If found to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher while driving, boat operators are subject to the same penalties that drunk drivers face on Louisiana highways. Furthermore, boaters may not operate a vessel while under the influence of drugs. If a boat operator is found to have had a high BAC or been under the influence of drugs at the time of an accident, this person may be held responsible for any resulting damage.
- Boat-overloading: Every boat has a specific carrying capacity, which regulates the number of passengers that can safely ride a particular boat at once. Flouting the carrying capacity by overloading a boat can pose a risk to those both on and off the boat. If an accident happens while a boat is overloaded with too many passengers, the boat’s operator may be considered responsible for the accident.
- Boating in restricted areas: Certain areas in Louisiana water bodies are flagged by buoys or other markers to bar boats. These are often popular, shallow swimming areas. If boaters disregard or don’t pay adequate attention to restricted area signs, they can create dangerous situations for themselves and others. This type of action can amount to risky boater negligence.
- Interfering with other boats’ navigation: Boaters have a responsibility to stay out of each other’s way to a reasonable degree. Sometimes, boat congestion in a waterway is unavoidable, but other instances are egregious and preventable. For example, if a boat were to anchor in a narrow channel under a bridge, this would be considered interference with navigation. When such an action leads to or is instrumental in an accident, the operator may be held accountable.
Maritime Law and Jones Act Cases:
While the bulk of Louisiana boat accidents are related to personal boat operators’ negligence, some are tied up with work situations. When someone is injured while working on a boat, maritime law and the Jones Act may come into play.
Maritime law recognizes the inherent differences between work at sea and work on land, and acknowledges the dangers that at-sea work can involve. This type of law, sometimes referred to as admiralty law, exists to protect the rights of offshore workers. In the event of an accident, it can provide opportunities for compensation for the injured worker.
Whereas workers on land in Louisiana are typically covered by workers’ compensation laws, offshore workers may be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act covers workers who are defined as “seamen.” According to this act, employers must provide a safe working environment for every seaman they employ. When they fail to do so, they may be held accountable for any ensuing damage.
Contact [firm-name] Today
If you have been involved in a boat accident in Louisiana, act now to contact an attorney. Under Louisiana law, individuals typically have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit — so if you are considering legal action to earn compensation, it is important not to delay.
With [firm-name], you can be confident that your lawyer will work energetically and skillfully to secure justice in your case. Even if you don’t know if you want to pursue compensation for your boat accident, one of our attorneys can walk you through our process and the possibilities you may have for financial recovery. Call us at [phone-number] or fill out a contact form to schedule your free, no-strings-attached consultation today.