There are dozens of lakes and rivers in Texas, and the southeast corner of the Lone Star State fringes the spectacular Gulf of Mexico. Boating is incredibly popular here – especially during our warm summer months – but unfortunately, that means boating accidents happen more frequently here than in other places, too. Some boaters are careless and don’t pay attention, and others are inexperienced or don’t know how to safely operate a watercraft. In some cases, boaters are drunk and end up injuring themselves and others.
Fast fact: Every year, there are more than 4,000 boating accidents in Texas. Those accidents lead to almost 600 deaths annually across the state. Alcohol plays a role in half of all these accidents.
If you’ve been injured while enjoying our beautiful Texas weather, you could be eligible to file a boating accident lawsuit, and you could be entitled to financial compensation.
What is a Boating Accident Lawsuit?
Like other types of lawsuits, a boating accident lawsuit is a legal process in which the victim (called the plaintiff in court proceedings) asks the court to order the at-fault party (called the defendant) to pay financial damages.
In a lawsuit, all the facts of the case come out in court. Your attorney will present your side of the story, and the defendant’s lawyer will do the same for his or her client. The judge will look at all the evidence and determine whether you deserve financial compensation for what you’ve been through – and if you do, how much the defendant owes you.
The money in a boating accident lawsuit doesn’t usually come directly from the defendant, though. It usually comes from his or her insurance company.
The court can award you compensatory damages, which is a fixed amount of money that’s supposed to reimburse you for the expenses you’ve already incurred because of the accident and help you pay for the expenses you’ll incur in the future. Courts can award compensatory damages for things like:
- Domestic assistance
- Future lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Increased living expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of opportunity
- Lost wages or lost employment income
- Medical bills
- Mental anguish
- Nursing home care
- Pain and suffering
- Property replacement or repair
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy
Sometimes the courts order defendants to pay victims punitive damages, too. Punitive damages aren’t designed to compensate you. Instead, they’re designed to punish the defendant and discourage other people from being negligent or careless on the water.
What Does Your Boat Accident Lawyer Have to Prove in Court?
If you file a formal boating accident lawsuit, your attorney has to prove that you were injured because someone was negligent. Not every injury is someone’s fault, and sometimes, a person’s injury is his or her own fault.
In order to win a boating accident lawsuit, your lawyer has to show that you wouldn’t have been injured if the other party involved was being reasonably careful.
What About Settling a Boating Accident Lawsuit Out of Court?
The majority of boating accident lawsuits don’t even make it to a courtroom. They’re settled out of court, between the plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers. Typically, the attorneys lay out all the evidence they have – the same evidence they’d bring to court – and negotiate what’s called a settlement.
During negotiations, you can expect the defendant’s attorneys to offer you an amount that’s too low to cover your bills and future expenses. You always have the option to reject a settlement offer and ask for a higher amount – but the defendant (or, in most cases, the defendant’s insurance company) also has the right to refuse to pay what you’re asking.
If negotiations break down and you’re not getting anywhere, your attorney may encourage you to file a formal lawsuit.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Boating Accident Lawsuit?
Whether you sustained minor or serious injuries in a boating accident, we may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us right now for a free case review. You’ll talk to a caring, compassionate boating accident attorney who will answer all your questions and discuss possible outcomes of your case. We can visit you at home or in the hospital to give you the help you deserve – and if you’re entitled to financial compensation, we can help you get it.