Dallas Boat Accident Attorneys
Legal help if you are hurt on a boat, jet ski, or personal watercraft in Texas
One great way to beat the Texas heat is spending the day on a lake or reservoir, and the Dallas area offers plenty of opportunities. Whether you choose waterskiing, parasailing, or just a lazy day out fishing, there is no shortage of things to do on the water. However, a pleasant day out can end in tragedy when someone acts carelessly, recklessly, or negligently. People can suffer severe injuries or lose their lives.
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas attorneys understand boat accidents are extremely serious and can cause overwhelming difficulties for injured victims and their families. Our experienced personal injury lawyers know how to build an effective claim on your behalf, showing that another’s negligence caused your harm. We can help you understand what your options are and guide you through the process so that you can make decisions that are in your best interest. We are a team of skilled litigators who are also boat owners and operators ourselves, so we understand firsthand the importance of water safety – and what can go wrong when someone else acts negligently. Contact us today for informed legal assistance.
Where do boating accidents happen in Dallas?
Although Dallas is landlocked, it is full of beautiful lakes and reservoirs for residents and tourists to enjoy. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger are familiar with popular spots for water sports and boating, and have represented people injured in boat and personal watercraft (PWC) accidents on:
What types of boating accidents does your firm handle?
Although many serious accidents happen with motorboats, sailboats, fishing boats, and the like, our Dallas attorneys also handle accidents and injuries involving:
We also represent victims of accidents involving:
Slack Davis Sanger has the experience and knowledge you need if you or a loved one suffered harm in a boating accident. Many of our attorneys are avid sailors and boat owners, and understand the intricacies of boating injury and liability law.
We work with individuals and groups injured in accidents caused by:
What causes Dallas boat accidents?
In 2019, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) reported 4,168 boating accidents, with 613 fatalities, 2,559 injuries and $55 million in property damage. Our attorneys help people injured in accidents involving:
Impaired drivers and operators. Boating while impaired or intoxicated is against the law under the Water Safety Act in Texas. Whether a person is operating a vehicle on the road or on the water, if he or she is under the influence, everyone on the boat and in the immediate area is in danger. It illegal to operate any type of boat, jet ski, or other watercraft while intoxicated (a 0.08% blood alcohol content is considered “intoxicated” in Texas, whether you are on a boat or in a vehicle), or if your physical/mental faculties are impaired in any capacity due to drugs or alcohol. About half of the boating accidents in Texas involve alcohol or drug use.
Operator inexperience. Just like a motor vehicle, operating a boat or watercraft involves training and experience. Taking out a boat in choppy waters or attempting to drive a craft without experience can cause a tragic accident. The TWPD requires potential boaters take a safety course to secure their license to operate a boat is equipped with a motor of at least 15 horsepower, or any a wind-powered vessel more than 14’ in length. One course is not enough to make an operator safe, however, and this inexperience, combined with poor judgment, can be fatal. TWPD reports that 70 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive safety instruction (in cases where instruction was known).
Speeding, reckless, and/or negligent operation. Speeding is one of the most common causes of serious boating accidents. Collisions with other boats, fixed objects, or even swimmers and PWC can result in multiple injuries or fatalities. Speeding boats can also cause waves resulting in other watercraft to flip over. Failure to pay attention to one’s surroundings can also be extremely dangerous, especially on a busy day on the lake. When boaters are busy eating, drinking, checking their phones, and mingling with passengers, they are not paying attention to other boats and watercraft nearby. Distracted boating is dangerous, and can lead to serious injuries.
Defective equipment. If a part on a boat is defective or malfunctions, it may not work as expected and cause injuries or an accident. The boat may catch on fire, or passengers could experience carbon monoxide poisoning. It is much harder to reach safety from a burning or sinking boat, making boat defects potentially life-threatening. Defective safety equipment could also lead to fatal drownings; it is imperative that operators have enough safety equipment for all passengers, that they instruct their passengers who to appropriately use that equipment, and that they inspect safety gear for any potential problems.
Bad weather. Boat operators and companies must pay attention to weather reports and understand when not to put their passengers at risk. Knowingly taking passengers out on the water when storms are gathering is negligent behavior.
Low visibility. Boating at night or in low light/low visibility conditions can be hazardous, and operators must ensure that their watercraft’s lights are in working condition. Because boats and PWCs do not follow prescribed routes or lanes like cars, trucks, and motorcycles, there is additional risk of a collision with another boat or object when the light is low, or when it is foggy outside. Speeding also contributes to the risk, so it is crucial that all operators maintain low speeds in a well-lit vessel to make their excursions as safe as possible.
What kinds of injuries happen in Dallas boating accidents?
Injuries from watercraft and boat accidents tend to be catastrophic due to the multiple elements involved. Propellors, engines, and the vast water itself can cause severe and fatal physical trauma. The biggest risk in boating accidents is drowning, with the TPWD pointing out, “where cause of death was known, 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned.”
However, depending on the circumstances involving the accident, an individual can experience a wide variety of catastrophic injuries. The Dallas attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger also help victims of boat accidents who have suffered injuries like:
- Burn injuries
- Oxygen deprivation
- Organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Boat propellor injuries
- Limb loss and traumatic amputation
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Multiple complex, compound fractures
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
In the event the boating accident takes the life of your loved one, our lawyers will file a wrongful death claim on your behalf. We can explain more about this at a consultation.
What are the responsibilities of Dallas boat operators?
Boat operators here in Texas and across the country owe their passengers and guests a certain duty of care. BoatUS.org explains to boat owners some of their responsibilities, including providing invited passengers a reasonably safe vessel, warning passengers of any potentially hazardous conditions on the boat, and using extreme caution when people are in the water within one boat length of the vessel.
Who is liable for my boating accident and injuries?
Often, the question of liability in these types of accident can be complex. The laws vary from state to state, and states offer partial or complete immunity to certain potential defendants in cases involving recreational activities. Every case is different, so liability for your injuries can only be determined once we know the exact nature of the event, the injuries you sustained, and any other mitigating factors. However, the Dallas attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger work to identify all liable and responsible parties, which can include:
The boat or watercraft operator/driver, if they were operating the boat or personal watercraft that caused your accident and injuries
The owner of the boat or watercraft, if different than the operator
Other passengers, if their reckless or careless behavior led to your accident and injuries
The company from which you rented your boat or took you on a tour
The boat manufacturer, if a defective part caused your injuries
Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, other individuals or parties may also hold liability. Our attorneys can investigate and determine who or what is responsible for your injuries and losses, and seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any disfigurement or physical impairement.
Though most injury victims have up to two (2) years to file a lawsuit after a boat accident, you may have a little as 30 days if you were injured publicly controlled and managed waters, or if your accident involved a unit of state or local government. In some cases, you may have an admiralty claim if you are injured offshore. Contact the Dallas boat accident lawyers of Slack Davis Sanger as soon as you can after your injury so we can get to work helping you, and so you are not time-barred from making a claim.
Do you have a boat accident lawyer near me?
Slack Davis Sanger has offices in Dallas located at 3500 Maple Avenue, Suite 1200. We also maintain locations in Austin and Fort Worth. Our attorneys can also make home and hospital visits when needed.
Compassionate and experienced Dallas boat and watercraft accident attorneys
The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger want to help if you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident. We help clients in Dallas and throughout Texas when injured in a watercraft or boat accident, helping hold the right people responsible. To find out more and to schedule a free consultation, call 800-455-8686 or fill out our contact form today.
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
Main Dallas Practice Areas