Every summer, thousands of people have fun on Texas waterways on boats and jet skis. These vehicles can be dangerous too, however, as they sometimes operate at high speeds and can be difficult to control. An unskilled or irresponsible driver can cause a catastrophic wreck and serious injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a boat or jet ski, you need an attorney who understands Texas boating laws. The maritime attorneys at Portner Bond, PLLC can determine who is liable for your injuries and get you the compensation you deserve. We will fight for the maximum financial reward to cover your past, present, and future expenses and losses related to your injuries. Call us right away at (409) 838-4444 for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers are ready to get started on your case.
Why You Need A Lawyer to Handle Your Waterway Accident Case
As with any vehicle mishap, if you’ve been injured in an accident on the water, you may be dealing with insurance companies that don’t have your best interests in mind. An insurance company is primarily interested in its bottom line, and it will prioritize this over fairly compensating you for your injuries. A good lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company or take them to court, if necessary, to make sure your right to compensation is protected.
Texas maritime law governs accidents that occur on a body of water. It is important to hire an attorney who understands maritime law, as laws related to boating and waterways can be complex and quite different from those that apply to accidents on land.
Why You Should Hire Portner Bond, PLLC
For decades, the maritime lawyers at Portner Bond, PLLC have helped people in Beaumont and throughout Texas recover the compensation they need to successfully heal from their injuries and move forward with their lives. Our attorneys have a combined 70 years of experience in Texas personal injury law, and we can bring all of that knowledge and skill to bear in your own case.
At Portner Bond, PLLC, we understand what a painful ordeal it is to recover from a major accident. We take pride in our ability to provide you with personalized, top-quality legal representation so that you can focus on what’s most important: your own health and your family’s well-being.
Causes of Boat and Jet Ski Accidents
Spending time on the water can be a rewarding activity, but watercraft can be dangerous if not operated properly. There are many ways that someone’s negligence could cause an accident, including:
- Inattentive driving – The operator of a boat or other watercraft must pay attention to their surroundings. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, operator inattention was among the top five primary contributing factors to waterborne accidents in 2018.
- Excessive speed – There may not be posted speed limits on the water, but operating a boat or jet ski at high speeds can be dangerous and may cause the driver to lose control of the craft.
- Intoxication – As with driving a car, driving a watercraft while intoxicated is illegal and can lead to a terrible accident.
- Driver inexperience – An operator must have certain basic skills to pilot a boat or a jet ski safely. Texas requires those who want to use certain water vehicles to take a boating education course.
- Equipment failure – Boats and personal watercraft require regular maintenance to keep them seaworthy and safe to use. The presence of fuel and other flammable materials on boats can present a fire hazard if there is a leak or other component failure onboard.
- Failure to follow waterway rules – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a list of rules for personal watercraft, which include jet skis and motorboats in which the operator sits, stands, or kneels on the vessel rather than inside. The Texas Water Safety Act outlines the laws for boats.
Injuries in Boating and Jet Ski Accidents
A great variety of injuries is possible in an accident on the water, but some of the more common ones include:
- Minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Bone fractures and breaks from heavy impacts during an accident
- Deep cuts or lacerations from the propeller or from jagged pieces of debris
- Burns in the event of a fire onboard
- Drowning after falling overboard or sinking
- Neck or spinal cord damage, which may lead to partial or full paralysis
- Head or brain trauma from impacts, possibly leading to permanent brain damage
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few answers to common questions we have received from those who have been in a watercraft accident. Your attorney will be able to provide more information specific to your own case.
What can I do after my accident to help my case?
There are several things you can do directly following an accident on the water that will help when you bring a claim:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t think you were injured, it is always important after an accident to get checked out by a doctor. You may be suffering from unseen injuries like a concussion or internal bleeding, which don’t show symptoms until later, but that can cause serious medical problems if left untreated. You need a medical report to prove that you were injured, and if you don’t seek treatment, the insurance company may argue that you were not injured at all.
- Report the accident. Notify local law enforcement, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and/or the U.S. Coast Guard as soon as possible. Their reports may be important to your claim.
- Beaumont Police Department: (409) 832-1234 or dial 911 for Emergency
- Texas Parks and Wildlife: (800) 792-1112 or (512) 389-4848 (24-hour dispatch)
- United States Coast Guard: (504) 589-6225
- Take pictures. If possible, take photos of the scene, damage to the watercraft, and your own injuries. These could serve as important evidence later.
- Speak with witnesses. Talk to anyone who saw the accident and get their contact information. Don’t make any statements, assertions, or apologies, however. You may not be fully aware of everything that happened, and a full investigation may uncover evidence of others’ negligence that is not immediately obvious.
- Hire an attorney. Call Portner Bond, PLLC right away to get started on your case. Our team can guide you through all of the steps to making a claim or bringing a lawsuit.
Being in an accident is incredibly traumatic, and it’s okay if you aren’t able to follow all of these steps right away. Your lawyer can help you notify the necessary agencies, organize any medical records, photographic evidence, and other accident-related information, and can help you track down any details you may have missed.
What is the statute of limitations for bringing a boating accident lawsuit?
As with other personal injury cases, the statute of limitations for a boating or jet ski accident in Texas is two years. It is incredibly important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible, because it may be necessary to conduct an investigation of the scene, get witness statements, and take pictures of the damage, all of which may change over time.
Who would I sue in a watercraft injury case?
Who you should sue depends on whether another party’s negligence contributed to the accident. If another watercraft crashed into you, the driver of the craft may be responsible for your injuries. If your injuries resulted from a malfunctioning vehicle that you rented, the rental company may be at fault. If your accident occurred on a tour boat or yacht, the tour company may have been negligent. Your attorney will be able to help you determine negligence based on the circumstances of the accident and the parties involved.
What can I be compensated for in a boating or jet ski accident?
The circumstances of each accident are different, and the type and amount of compensation you receive will be determined by the level of negligence of the party at fault and the damage you suffer. Clients may be entitled to a combination of the following types of compensation:
- Pain and suffering, to address the pain of injuries sustained in the accident
- Compensation for damaged or destroyed property
- Payment of medical bills
- Medication and pharmaceutical reimbursement
- Replacement of wages lost due to time spent away from work during recovery
- Compensation for loss of household income
- Payment of long-term care costs
- Reimbursement for funeral or burial arrangement costs
Your attorney can give you a better idea of the types of compensation you could expect when you meet to discuss your case.
Speak With a Beaumont Waterways Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an accident involving a boat or jet ski, you need a lawyer who will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. When you hire Portner Bond, PLLC, you bring in a team of dedicated litigators who knows the ins and outs of Texas maritime law and can put together a solid case to make the negligent party pay, so that you can move forward with your life.
We understand that this is a stressful and difficult time, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Call us at (409) 838-4444 or fill out our contact form right away to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.