Houston Boating Accident Lawyer
Boating accidents include individual slip and falls, passengers falling overboard, collisions, and fire hazards. Anytime a boat occupant experiences an accident, the boat owner and/or operator may face liability for the resulting harm. Like car accidents, boat insurance often plays a role in the compensation process.
At Brian White & Associates, we represent people involved in boating accidents of all kinds. If you were injured onboard a cruise ship, a recreational boat, a fishing vessel, a personal watercraft, or some other type of boat, you deserve fair compensation from the responsible party.
We help our clients investigate and pursue all avenues of compensation through the appropriate legal pathways. After a boating accident, a personal injury attorney who specializes in land-based accidents may not understand the nuances of maritime, federal, state, and local laws that govern boat accidents. An attorney with a history of boating accident representation can provide comprehensive legal and insurance support as you recover.
Boating Accidents in Inland Waterways
If you were cruising around the many rivers, lakes, and waterways around Houston (i.e. in freshwater), state and federal laws may apply to the accident claim. A boat operator must file a claim with the applicable state and federal agencies if the incident resulted in a death, in an injury that requires more than first aid treatment, or in property damage exceeding $2,000 in value.
A formal accident report may play a crucial role in proving the accident and injury during any resulting personal injury claim. For incidents that fall under state and/or federal jurisdiction, the claims process works much like any other personal injury claim. Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule to determine negligence and liability in an accident. If the plaintiff can prove the defendant is responsible for 51% or more of the incident and that the incident caused the injury in question, the plaintiff may recover damages.
Our attorneys will investigate the claim and determine if the defendant followed the Texas Water Safety Act – a piece of legislation governing inland boating and safety. We understand the rules and precedents governing liability in boating accidents as well as how to navigate the complexities of boating insurance claims.
Boating Accidents at Sea
Boating accidents that occur at sea may fall under maritime law jurisdiction. In these cases, maritime rules outweigh state and local laws. While plaintiffs must still prove negligence in sea-related boating accidents, liability works differently. Instead of a modified comparative negligence rule, the courts must adhere to a joint and several liability rule.
Under this concept, any party that contributed to the incident will share equal liability. For example, if a passenger on a boat suffered injuries in a boating collision where both operators acted negligently, that passenger holds the right to request compensation from any or all of the possible defendants.
At sea, a vessel owner may also limit his or her liability under the Limitation Act. If the owner was not aware of the circumstances giving rise to the incident, he or she may use the act to create liability limits not to exceed the value of the vessel.
If maritime/admiralty laws apply in a boating accident, injured individuals will need an attorney who understands the complexities of this specialized field. At Brian White & Associates, we represent passengers, crew members, and boat owners in injury claims that fall under maritime law.
What to Do After a Boating Accident
After an accident, file an accident report with the U.S. Coast Guard or local law enforcement agencies. Brian White & Associates are ready to help you find quality medical support, determine liability, and pursue your case under all applicable boating accident laws. We handle private and commercial boating accident claims and will fight for justice on your behalf. Contact our offices in Houston today for a free case evaluation.