A 911 call was received about a boat accident at the Casino Beach boat ramp on Lake Worth. Just before 9:00 p.m., a boat crashed into another boat that was sitting idle in the water near the boat ramp.

A 13-year-old girl was at the bow of the boat that was struck. She had to be flown by a medical helicopter for emergency medical care. Her condition at the accident scene was described as critical.

Another teenage girl was transported to the hospital for treatment. A third person was also injured. Game wardens continue to investigate the case of the boat accident.

Why Do Boat Accidents Happen?

Sadly, most of the boat accidents that occur each year are preventable. Most accidents are the result of operator error or negligence. 

The cause of the above boat accident is unknown. However, common causes of boat accidents include:

  • Excessive speed
  • Operator inexperience
  • Alcohol use
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Lack of boat maintenance
  • Defective or malfunctioning machinery
  • Distractions and failure to keep a proper lookout
  • Horseplay and reckless driving

It is the boat owner and boat operator’s responsibility to ensure the boat is safe to operate. It is also the boat operator’s responsibility to operate the boat in a safe manner. When these parties fail in their duty of care, they can be held liable for injuries and damages caused by an accident.

If a defective part or malfunctioning system caused the boat accident, the boat’s manufacturer could be liable for damages. A product liability claim could result in compensation for damages, just like a claim for negligence or intentional wrongdoing by the boat’s owner or operator.

Boat Accidents Cause Catastrophic Injuries and Death

Boating accidents can cause traumatic injuries and fatalities. Operators and passengers can be injured while on the boat or in the water. Individuals could be injured if the boat collides with another boat, runs aground, crashes into a dock or marina, capsizes, or collides with branches, rocks, or other objects.

Common boating injuries include, but are not limited to:

A person injured in a boating accident may be entitled to compensation for injuries and the damages that result from the injuries. The person liable for the victim’s injuries depends on the cause of the accident. 

A boat accident lawyer investigates the accident to determine how the accident occurred. The factors that contributed to the cause of the accident determine who is liable for the accident. In most cases, passengers are not responsible for the boat crash, but that is not always the case.

Can a Boat Passenger File a Claim if the Passenger was Negligent?

Passengers on boats generally do not have any control over the operation of the boat. Therefore, it is unlikely that a passenger could be blamed for the cause of the boat accident. However, an insurance company may try to blame the victim for contributing to his or her injuries to avoid paying a valid injury claim.

The Texas laws for comparative fault state that a victim’s damages can be reduced by his portion of the fault for the cause of the injuries. In other words, if your actions led to your injuries, you may not recover full compensation for all of your damages.

For example, if a jury finds that you are 30 percent to blame for your injuries from a boat accident, your compensation is reduced by 30 percent. If your fault is 51 percent or more, you cannot recover any compensation for your injuries and damages. 

Blaming the victim is a common tactic used by insurance companies to avoid paying valid claims. If an insurance provider tries to blame you for the cause of your injuries, you need to contact a boating accident attorney immediately. 

What Compensation is Available for a Boat Accident?

The compensation you might receive for a boating accident claim depends on your damages. Claims involving catastrophic injuries are usually worth more than cases involving minor injuries and lower financial losses.

Damages in a boat accident claim include:

  • Cost of medical care and treatment
  • Cost of in-home health care and personal care
  • Lost income and decreases in earning capacity
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Permanent impairments and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish

Documenting your injuries with medical records and keeping detailed records of all financial losses can maximize your chance of recovery. A boating accident lawyer can help you gather evidence proving fault and damages.