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Recreational Boating Accidents: Who’s Liable for My Damages?

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As we have discussed in some of our blog posts, the summer months are an especially popular time for recreational boating in Texas. This can range from boating on the open waters to a number of fishing, powerboating, and water sports activities on lakes throughout the state. While boating is a fun way to enjoy the summer, it can also be incredibly dangerous. In fact, even the most experienced and seasoned boaters can suffer serious injuries in preventable accidents – especially when others are negligent.

As statistics make clear, there are thousands of recreational boating accidents each year, as well as numerous injuries and deaths. While these accidents can upend the lives of victims and families, it is important to remember that our civil justice system provides an opportunity to hold responsible parties accountable for the harm they caused. This can include damages victims and families incur as a result of medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

In order to recover financial compensation for these damages, victims will need to assert their rights through the personal injury or wrongful death claim process. While every case is unique, they all generally function by intending to hold the at-fault party liable. As we know from speaking with many victims and families, however, determining who is at fault for a boating accident and liability for damages isn’t always the easiest thing for our clients.

Because our attorneys at The Daspit Law Firm are dedicated to helping clients navigate their legal journeys following preventable accidents, we wanted to provide some information about the parties that may be held liable in boating accident cases. Here are a few examples:

  • The driver of the boat you were in – If you or someone you love has been injured while riding in a boat that was being operated by another party, you may have the right to hold that boat operator liable for your damages. In order to do so, you must generally prove how their negligence more likely than not resulted in your injuries. This can be the case when boaters operate their vessels while intoxicated, crash into other boats or objects, operate their boats recklessly, travel at excessive speeds, or otherwise fail in their legal obligation to take reasonable steps that ensure the safety of passengers.
  • Another boater – Even if you take steps to follow the rules and safely operate your boat, others around you may not. This is especially the case when drunk, reckless, or inexperienced boaters crash into others and cause injuries. Victims injured by other boaters may have the right to hold those boat owners and operators accountable for their accidents and damages.
  • Boat owners – There may be situations where owners of boats allow another to use or operate their property. Should that individual negligently cause accidents and injuries, whether in boating accidents or some other type of incident, the owner of the boat may be responsible for resulting damages. This is especially true if they knew or should have known that the party to whom they gave their permission was not qualified to safely operate the boat.
  • Rental companies – Some recreational boaters may choose to rent boats and other similar vessels to enjoy their time on the water without the responsibility or fees associated with owning a boat. In some circumstances, these rental companies may be liable for victims’ damages when injuries result from their negligence and failures, such as when they fail to adequately maintain rental boats or address hazards they knew or should have known about.
  • Product manufacturers – Victims who are injured in boating accidents may have potential injury cases against product manufacturers who made unsafe or defective products available to the public. This can include defective boats or boat parts that malfunction, as well as defective safety gear or water sports equipment, among other consumer items. When defective products play a role in causing injuries, personal injury cases will be based on product liability laws.

It is important to remember that every boating accident and personal injury case is different – which means that the party whom you can hold liable for your damages will depend largely on the individual facts and circumstances involved. At The Daspit Law Firm, our Houston personal injury lawyers are available to speak with victims throughout Texas who would like more information about their rights after a boating accident, as well as who can be held at fault and how we can help.

To discuss your case personally with a member of our team, contact us for a FREE consultation. The Daspit Law Firm is available 24/7 to help victims and families, and offers home, hospital, and weekend appointments for your convenience.

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At The Daspit Law Firm, Our Team of Attorneys Handles the Full Range of Personal Injury Cases, Including Car and Truck Accidents, Industrial Accidents, Construction Accidents, Maritime & Offshore Accidents, and Much More.


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