Boating accidents can include collisions, passengers falling overboard, slips and falls, and fire hazards. Anytime a boat occupant experiences an accident, the boat owner and/or operator can be held liable for the resulting injuries. A Houston boating accident lawyer can provide expert guidance in these situations. Similar to car accidents, boat insurance often plays a role in the compensation process.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner can help you navigate every step of getting the compensation you deserve, from filing a claim to dealing with insurance companies to taking your case to court.
If you were the victim of a boating accident in Houston or the surrounding cities, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Why Choose Steinger, Greene & Feiner?
Our expert boating accident attorneys will aggressively pursue your case, whether that means negotiating with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit on your behalf. We know how to navigate complicated boating laws to uncover the negligence that caused your injuries.
Here are some reasons you should trust us to represent you after a boating accident:
- We have over 25 years of experience
- We have recovered millions of dollars for clients who have been injured through no fault of their own
- We are available 24/7 for client emergencies
- We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay us nothing until we win your case
- We offer free, no-obligation consultations
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Operating a boat and driving a car have similarities, as recklessness and carelessness are usually what lead to a crash. When boat operators are properly trained and pay attention, collisions with other vessels or property are uncommon. Boat accidents occur when operators fail to engage in responsible behaviors, raising the risk of an accident. This negligence is what makes them liable for other people’s injuries if they cause a crash.
Negligent behaviors that commonly cause boating accidents include:
- Excessive speeding
- Operator inattention and distraction
- Failing to maintain a proper lookout
- Operating a boat while intoxicated
- Violating the Navigational Rules
- Boating in poor weather or dangerous waters
- Improperly loading cargo
- Operating a vessel without the proper qualifications
- Improperly maintaining the boat
Boat accidents can cause both mental and physical injuries, as well as property damage. You have the right to pursue recovery for the following damages:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical limitations
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain
- Property damage
The Role of Boating Accident Lawyer in Houston
If you experience a boating accident in Houston and the surrounding cities, a dedicated personal injury lawyer will ensure you recover the compensation you need to move forward by identifying all responsible parties and holding them accountable.
The sooner you contact an attorney after your boating accident, the better. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our lawyers will investigate right away to preserve evidence and protect your rights.
When we take on your case, we will:
- Evaluate legal responsibility
- Identify and assess insurance policies
- Gather testimony from witnesses
- Use experts for liability and damages
- Conduct all negotiations with insurers
- File a lawsuit when needed
Intoxicated Boating: A Leading Cause of Accidents
Boat operators must follow all applicable local, state, and federal laws. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department works with the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce these laws.
Similar to vehicle accidents on land, boating accidents are often caused by negligence. A negligent act is one that the operator knew or should have known was unsafe and could cause harm or injury. Some of the most common causes of boating accidents include inexperience, inattention, reckless operation, speeding, operating while impaired, equipment failure, and weather, but the most common is boating while intoxicated (BWI).
According to BUI Initiatives, as few as three drinks can put someone under 160 pounds legally under the influence to operate a boat in Texas.
A boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BA) above .08%—the legal threshold in Texas for those above 18—is 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating or jet ski accident than a person not drinking, according to the Coast Guard.
Because alcohol impairs your judgment and encourages risk-taking, it’s also a large factor in drowning accidents.
Fatal boating accidents involving alcohol use occur at a higher rate than fatal car accidents. Almost two-thirds of fatal boating accidents involve alcohol use.
Types of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents can occur with any other vessel, including motorboats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, pontoon boats, and sailboats. Accidents can involve property damage, injury, or death.
Here are some of the most common types of boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard:
- Hitting a fixed object
- Collision with another vessel
- Running over floating objects, including swimmers
- Running aground, sinking, or flooding
- Fire or explosion
- Accidents that involve a person on a towable object like a tube
- Someone falling overboard
Federal law requires boat operators to report an accident any time it results in a personal injury, fatality, or damage to property of more than $2000. It also must be reported if a boat is destroyed or a person aboard a vessel goes missing.
According to Section 31.104 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, an operator of a boat after an accident is required to render assistance to other people as may be practical and necessary, and exchange names, addresses, and identification of the boat in writing to any person injured or the owner of any property damaged in a boat accident.
A boat accident must be reported to the department within 30 days of the accident with appropriate information. If the boat accident results in death, the incident must be reported within 48 hours.
In addition to negligence and boating while intoxicated, another common cause of boating accidents is inexperienced boat operators, despite the fact that the Texas legislature requires that people operating boats must undergo proper training.
Boating Accident Compensation & Claims
When you choose Steinger, Greene & Feiner to help you after a boating accident, we will prove the operator’s liability to secure you maximum compensation. We’ll uncover important evidence, such as the boat itself or other property involved in the accident. We’ll work with boating experts to analyze who was at fault and build a case against the boat’s operator.
Compensation after a boating accident can include medical expenses due to injury, pain and suffering, loss of wages due to the accident, and more. Every case is different, which is why you should contact a boating accident lawyer in Houston to help collect all relevant evidence, navigate the applicable local, state, and federal laws, and recover the full compensation you deserve.
Here are just a few of the five-star reviews from our satisfied clients.
“This law firm is absolutely outstanding! They take time to speak to you nearly every week with updates and explain the process in ways that even a child could understand, great communication! In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I had a case, I spoke with this law firm and they made this an outstanding experience, it was so easy to work with them, and life-changing results. Thank you, Steinger, Greene, & Feiner!” —Shannon Jones
“My experience has been very satisfying. They contacted me immediately, were extremely professional, listened to me, which is important, and begun the same day working on my behalf. It doesn’t get better than that.” —Melissa Williams
“Steinger, Greene, and Feiner took my case when others refused. I feel that they really care, and want to help people, unlike all the others who only care about the money. If you want to be cared for, have your best interests looked after at all times, and also get the largest settlement possible, I definitely recommend SG&F. They are a different kind of law firm.” —Janis Kowalczyk
Boating Safety Tips
Boat owners have a personal and legal responsibility to keep the occupants of their boats safe. According to the National Safety Council’s statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, 84% of drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. About 78% of all boating deaths are caused by drowning.
This is why it’s imperative for boat owners to keep one life jacket per passenger on their boats for every trip and require that each passenger wear a life jacket that fits appropriately. Boat owners should also keep emergency equipment like fire extinguishers and first aid kits on board.
Boat owners must complete required safety courses and meet the state’s requirements for operating a watercraft.
Consult With a Houston Boating Accident Lawyer Today
Boating accidents share some similarities with car accidents, but the applicable laws and law enforcement agencies are much different. If you’re injured in a boating accident, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced lawyer who can identify who was at fault and hold them responsible. Even if the boat operator was not under the influence, they likely engaged in reckless or careless behavior. We will collect the evidence to prove this negligent behavior and secure you maximum compensation for all damages you have suffered.
If you were injured after a boating accident in Houston or the surrounding cities, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.