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Austin Boating Accident Lawyer

Boating is a great way for Austin residents to relax and enjoy our beautiful lakes, but it can also be a uniquely dangerous recreational pastime. Most people who operate boats as a hobby are inexperienced and have little understanding of safety protocols. These inexperienced boaters are unaware of potential hazards and neglect to take necessary precautions, such as making sure a propeller isn’t turning near swimmers or having a spotter on the boat while towing a skier or wakeboarder.

This lack of awareness leads to unfortunate injuries and deaths in the water. And the dangers become more acute on busy holiday weekends, when alcohol consumption and boat traffic increase. 

Texas law dictates that anyone born on or after September 1, 1993, must take a boating education class in order to operate any vessel over 15 horsepower, any windblown vessel over 14 feet, and all personal watercraft. While it is certainly beneficial to require licenses for young boaters, the exception for people born before that date means there are many unlicensed boaters on Texas waters who have never been required to take a class. 

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The broad lack of understanding of operator safety protocol is reflected in data published in the 2018 Boating Statistics Report by the United States Coast Guard. The the top 10 primary contributing factors of boating accidents were:

  1. Operator inattention
  2. Improper lookout
  3. Operator inexperience 
  4. Machinery failure  
  5. Excessive speed 
  6. Alcohol use
  7. Force of wake/wave 
  8. Weather 
  9. Navigation rules violation 
  10. Hazardous waters

It’s clear that recklessness and inattention are responsible for a large number of boating accidents. What’s not always clear is how to proceed after you have been injured in a boating accident, or how you can receive financial recovery for your losses.

Damages in Boating Accident Settlements

Boating accidents can cause severe injuries such as lacerations, broken bones, brain injuries, neck and spine injuries, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Victims of Austin boating accidents often require emergency medical treatment, which may include surgery, long-term pain management, and physical therapy. A boating accident can also result in a reduced ability to work and permanent disability. 

If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have a right to seek financial recovery for economic and non-economic harms and losses. 

What Factors Can Affect Your Boating Accident Settlement?

An Austin boating accident lawyer can help you determine the value of your case. There are several important factors that must be taken into consideration, including: 

  • The severity of your injuries. A personal injury settlement is generally proportional to the seriousness of the injury and the resulting losses.
  • Who was at fault. If you are able to prove that another party is legally liable for the accident, you are more likely to receive full financial recovery. However, if you are partially responsible for the accident, you will need to fight hard and strategically to receive partial compensation.
  • Insurance. Texas does not have a law requiring boaters to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, and most home insurance policies only cover boat repair and replacement (if they cover boats at all). Responsible boat owners may have a separate policy that covers injuries sustained during a boating accident. These sources of recovery or lack thereof will impact your settlement amount. 
  • Law violations. If you can prove that the at-fault party broke the law by lacking a license or consuming alcohol while driving a boat, that will strengthen your case. Austin also has specific lake ordinances governing no wake areas, music levels, vessel registration, curfew, etc., that may affect your settlement.
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Why Hire a Boating Accident Lawyer to Help with Your Settlement?

An experienced accident attorney can maximize your recovery by helping you obtain proper medical documentation to prove your injuries, investigating the circumstances of the accident, and proving the liability of the at-fault party. Your lawyer will be familiar with state and local boating laws and regulations, and will determine what factors contributed to your accident. They will also determine the available sources of compensation and fight for you to receive the financial recovery you deserve to move on with your life.

How FVF Can Help

At FVF, we offer free, no-commitment case consultations with the best personal injury lawyers in Austin at no cost. Our goal is to educate you on your rights and options, and to provide clarity during a confusing and overwhelming time. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and start making informed steps toward recovery.

Our Process and What You Can Expect

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