Boating Accident Lawyers

Boating is a popular leisure activity throughout Louisiana. There are numerous bodies of water in the Bayou State for boaters to take advantage of. From the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River to Cypress Lake, Petit Bayou and Spreafico Lake, there is something for everyone. Unfortunately, if a boating accident occurs, the fun can be quickly cut short. Many of these incidents could have been avoided if not for the negligence of another party. According to the United States Coast Guard, Louisiana averaged about 100 boating accidents per year from 2018 to 2022.

The Louisiana boating accident lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat help victims of these accidents seek compensation for the cost of medical treatment and other damages. Our services are provided at no upfront costs to you, and the initial legal consultation is free.

Our experienced attorneys have extensive knowledge of boating crash liability and the laws affecting these claims. We have been turning wrong into right for injured victims throughout the state for more than 25 years. We have a history of proven results, obtaining millions in compensation for our clients.

Have questions after a boating accident? Call today: 337-984-8020.

Who Can File a Boating Accident Lawsuit?

Our Louisiana boating accident lawyers take cases involving many types of accidents. These situations have various causes and involve different types of boats, injuries and sets of facts.

If you were involved in any of the types of accidents listed below, or another accident on the water, our firm is prepared to assist you throughout the legal process. We have the resources and legal knowledge to build a robust case for full compensation for your damages and losses.

These are some of the more common examples of boating accidents that lead to legal claims:

Collisions Between Vessels

Any collision between two or more vessels can result in serious injuries, especially when they occur at high speed, are the result of operator error, lack of attention or in violation of boating laws.

Crashes Into Stationary Objects

Boats can hit docks, piers, buoys, signs or other fixed objects in or under the water, resulting in a dangerous accident. Boat occupants could get thrown overboard or simply fall on the boat and break a bone or suffer another severe injury.

Capsizing and Falls Overboard

Capsizing refers to a boat tipping over in the water, which can lead to passengers falling overboard. This type of accident is often caused by overloading the boat, poor weather conditions or improper maneuvering.

People can also fall overboard without the boat capsizing, such as if there are sudden movements or a lack of safety features on the boat.

Capsizing and falling overboard incidents pose significant risks of drowning, hypothermia or getting hit by a boat or other water vessel.

Water Skiing and Towable Tube Accidents

Activities such as water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing are popular on Louisiana’s waterways. However, they come with risks, especially when those involved do not take safety precautions. The risks of these activities can include collisions with objects or other boats, falls at high speeds and being pulled improperly.

Jet Ski Accidents

Jet skis, or personal watercraft (PWC), which are known for their speed and agility, also cause many accidents. Operator inexperience, recklessness, and operating these vessels at unsafe speeds frequently cause accidents. It is also important to remember that riders do not have protection. This means when riders or passengers hit the water or fixed objects, it can cause severe or life-threatening injuries.

Grounding and Striking Submerged Objects

Grounding occurs when a vessel runs aground on sand, rocks or other submerged objects. Striking submerged objects refers to collisions with items below the water’s surface that are not visible to the operator. Both situations can cause significant damage to a vessel and injuries to its occupants, especially if the impact is sudden and forceful.

Victims of these types of accidents may have the right to seek compensation, depending on the details of the situation. This includes:

  • Passengers injured on private or commercial vessels
  • Operators of a vessel, if another party’s negligence led to the accident
  • Families seeking compensation for wrongful death

Liability for Boating Accidents in Louisiana

Victims of boating accidents can pursue legal action if the situation was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party. Examples of negligence may include:

  • Operator distraction or inexperience
  • Operating a boat at excessive speeds
  • Alcohol or drug impairment
  • Equipment failure due to poor maintenance

One of the challenges of a boat accident case, and a main reason why you need an experienced Louisiana boating accident lawyer, is that multiple parties could be at fault, including:

  • Boat operators: The most common liable party in boating accidents, operators can be held responsible if their negligence, such as operating under the influence, excessive speeding, or inattention, leads to an accident.
  • Boat owners: Even if not operating the vessel at the time of the accident, owners can be liable if they allowed an inexperienced or unqualified individual to operate their boat or failed to maintain the boat in a safe condition.
  • Rental companies: Companies that rent boats may be liable if they provide a vessel that is not seaworthy, or if they fail to provide adequate safety instructions to renters.
  • Manufacturer of the vessel: If equipment failure contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of the vessel or equipment could be held liable for defects that led to the incident.
  • Passengers: In some cases, actions by passengers, such as distracting the operator or behaving recklessly, can contribute to accidents, making them partially liable.

Establishing liability requires a detailed investigation into the accident. You may also need expert testimony to explain why the accident happened and how it directly led to your injuries.

Galloway Jefcoat not only has the legal knowledge of how to build a detailed case, but we also have the resources to get it done. If necessary, we are prepared to go to court to secure the justice and compensation you deserve. We understand the heavy toll that an accident can take on victims and their families. We are deeply committed to fighting for the compensation you need to move forward.

Millions recovered. No upfront costs. Call us at 337-984-8020.

Injuries From Boat Accidents

Boating accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, from minor bruises to life-threatening conditions. The nature of these injuries often depends on the type of accident, the speed at which it occurred and whether individuals were thrown from the boat or struck by objects.

These are some of the most common boating accident injuries:

  • Head injuries: These can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Head injuries often occur in collisions, falls overboard or if the boat capsizes.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The impact of a boating accident could cause significant damage to the spinal cord, potentially leading to temporary or permanent paralysis.
  • Broken bones: Collisions with other vessels, objects or the force of being ejected from the boat can result in severe fractures, such as to the arms, legs, ribs or pelvis.
  • Lacerations and contusions: Sharp objects, boat machinery and even the water itself can cause cuts and bruises. These injuries, while sometimes minor, can also be severe and lead to significant blood loss or infection.
  • Drowning and near-drowning injuries: Accidents where individuals get thrown into the water can lead to drowning or, in cases where the victim is rescued, near-drowning injuries, which may cause brain damage from oxygen deprivation.
  • Hypothermia: Falling into cold water, especially in off-season boating, can lead to hypothermia, a condition where the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This could have a serious effect on the heart, nervous system and other organs.

Victims of boating accidents should seek immediate medical attention, even if injuries initially appear minor. Some conditions, such as internal bleeding or head injuries, may not immediately present any symptoms but they can have severe consequences if left untreated. Early medical intervention is key to a successful recovery.

Compensation for Victims of Boat Accidents

Victims of boating accidents may be entitled to various forms of compensation, depending on the unique circumstances of the accident and the extent of the injuries sustained. Compensation may cover:

  • Medical expenses, including future medical care
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Galloway Jefcoat is committed to pursuing maximum compensation for all your economic and non-economic losses. We know compensation does not change what occurred, but it can allow victims to get recommended medical care that may help improve their quality of life.

How Much Time Is There To File a Boating Accident Lawsuit?

It is crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a boating accident lawsuit in Louisiana. Victims have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. Failing to act within this timeframe can result in the loss of the right to seek compensation.

Victims should contact a lawyer as soon as possible, even if they are not completely sure they have a case. By acting quickly, you give your lawyer more time to investigate and build a case.

What To Do After a Boating Accident in Louisiana

There are several steps you can take to protect your legal rights after a boating accident, such as:

  • Check for injuries: The priority is to check yourself and others for injuries. Ensure that everyone is safe and accounted for.
  • Provide immediate assistance: Administer first aid where necessary and call emergency services for medical assistance if there are any serious injuries.
  • Notify the authorities: Louisiana law requires reporting a boating accident to the appropriate authorities, such as the local police, sheriff, or the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. This is especially true if the accident results in significant injury, death or substantial property damage.
  • Document the Incident: As soon as it is safe to do so, document the accident scene. Take photographs of property damage, the surrounding area and any relevant signs or markers. Write down what happened while it is still fresh in your memory.
  • Exchange contact information: Collect names, contact information and insurance details from all parties involved, including witnesses. This information will be crucial for your legal case.
  • Gather evidence: If possible, collect evidence that can support your case, such as witness statements, photos of injuries and details about the water conditions and weather at the time of the accident.
  • Visit a healthcare provider: Even if you do not think you have been injured, you should see a doctor. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent.
  • Seek legal advice: Contact a knowledgeable Louisiana boating accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and help protect your rights. An attorney can advise you on how to proceed, deal with insurance companies and pursue the compensation you need.
  • Be careful what you say: Do not admit fault or discuss the details of the accident with anyone other than the police or your lawyer. Statements made in the aftermath of an accident, even offhand remarks you think are harmless, can be used against you in legal proceedings.

Louisiana Boating Laws That May Apply

Louisiana has specific boating laws designed to ensure the safety of everyone on the water. Violations of these laws can cause serious accidents for which violators could be held liable.

There are rules of the road for boaters. For example:

If an operator wants to yield to another boat, he or she must slow down, stop, go in reverse or change course to avoid a crash.

If you have the right of way, you must maintain your speed and your course.

You can overtake another vessel on the right or left, but you must yield the right-of-way to the other vessel.

You must travel at a reasonable speed, given weather and other conditions.

Operators must always be in total control of the vessel.

You cannot exceed the speed limit that has been established for the area.

It is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Boaters who do so can have their boating licenses revoked or suspended.

It is illegal to overload a watercraft with more passengers or cargo than it can safely carry. Operators must factor in weather and other conditions.

Boater Education Requirements

Louisiana has specific education requirements for people who want to operate motorboats.

In Louisiana, anyone born after January 1, 1984, is required to complete a boater education course approved by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The exception to this requirement is if you are accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old who has successfully completed an LDWF-approved boater education course.

This education requirement does not apply to anyone born before January 1, 1984.

Operating Personal Watercraft (PWC)

To legally operate a PWC, the individual must be at least 16 years of age. Owners or individuals in charge of a PWC are legally prohibited from allowing anyone under 16 to operate the PWC. This regulation is strictly enforced, and it extends to rental companies, which cannot rent PWCs to individuals under 16.

Contact the Louisiana Boating Accident Lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident in Louisiana, you do not have to navigate the aftermath alone. The legal team at Galloway Jefcoat is here to help you understand your rights, explore your options for seeking compensation and provide the representation you need to achieve justice.

At our firm, victims do not pay unless we secure compensation, either through a settlement or courtroom decision. The initial legal consultation is also free of charge.

Turning Wrong Into Right for more than 25 years. Call us to learn more: 337-984-8020.