Garland Boat Accident Lawyer

With thousands of acres of inland lakes and one of the country’s longest coastlines, Texas is great for boaters. People enjoy boats, jet skis, and other personal watercraft. A day on the water should be full of fun. However, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. A boating accident can be devastating. When your body hits the water at a high speed, it is comparable to hitting concrete. Most boats and watercraft do not offer the same safety protections—airbags and seatbelts—as automobiles. An accident on the water can be even more dangerous for the occupants due to the additional risks of drowning and hypothermia. 

Fortunately, Texas has laws that are designed to keep people safe on the water and ensure that boat and watercraft enthusiasts are operating their equipment in a responsible manner. Boat accident victims may be able to file a personal injury claim and seek financial recovery if someone else’s negligence caused their injuries. Contact a Garland boat accident lawyer at McCraw Law Group to learn more about your rights after a collision. 

Boating Rules and Laws

Location influences the laws that govern boat operators. State, local, and federal laws may apply. Texas requires mandatory boat operator classes for anyone that desires to utilize a watercraft on a Texas lake or waterway. In these classes, boaters learn how to safely operate a watercraft and are educated on the rules all boat operators must follow. One of the most important rules is the right-of-way. Generally, bigger boats have the right-of-way because they take longer to change course. Unlike roadways that have clearly defined traffic lanes, there is typically not an identified “lane of travel” on a lake. Nevertheless, nautical right-of-way rules require operators to yield to other boats intersecting their path from the right based on their direction of travel.

The accident’s location will also influence access and response time for emergency responders. Local sheriffs, the Coast Guard, and Texas Parks and Wildlife officials may all respond to an incident occurring on a Texas waterway. Often, Parks and Wildlife will take over an investigation if the accident results in severe injuries or death. People should report severe accidents to them within 30 days if the incident causes bodily injuries, or within 48 hours if the incident results in a fatality. However, these incidents may be under investigated because of strained resources and location issues. A proactive boat accident attorney in Garland could help identify public and private resources to investigate the incident and gather critical evidence that may be necessary to establish the negligence of the other party. 

The Role of Negligence

Negligence is at the root of many boating accidents. If the boat operator did not act like a reasonable person would have in the same situation, they may be considered legally negligent if their actions cause injury to another person. There are two main ways operators can be negligent regarding their watercraft – maintenance and operation. Improper maintenance results in equipment failure, which contributes to accidents. An operator may also be negligent by failing to provide life jackets for passengers, which is required by law when operating on Texas waterways. 

Speeding, not paying attention, or operating recklessly are all forms of negligence; however, one of the most prevalent—and deadly—is boating while intoxicated. Just like automobile drivers, Texas Penal Code § 49.06 prohibits boat operators from operating the vehicle while under the influence of substances or with an elevated blood alcohol level above .08 percent. 

Water vessel collisions are rarely no-fault. When someone else’s reckless behavior contributes to the crash, a Garland boat accident attorney may be able to help.

Schedule a Consultation with a Garland Boat Accident Attorney

It is vital to know your rights after a boating accident. Consulting with a Garland boat accident lawyer at McCraw Law Group may help determine your next steps. Our experienced attorneys could help you find out more information about the incident and determine whether the other parties involved were at fault. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

McCraw Law Group

McCraw Law Group N/a
McKinney Office
5900 S Lake Forest Dr.
Suite 450
TX 75070
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(972) 854-7900
Amarillo Office
2950 Duniven Cir
TX 79109
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(806) 342-5900
Denton Office
903 N. Elm Street,
Suite 103
TX 76201
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(940) 808-0405
Wylie Office
101 Calloway St
TX 75098
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Frisco Office
9555 Lebanon Rd
Suite 601
TX 75035
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(972) 842-4537