So much recreation takes place on Louisiana’s gorgeous bayous, expansive lakes, and wide, slow-flowing rivers, that boat accidents are bound to happen every so often. When they do, the results can be physically and financially devastating.
The Lake Charles personal injury attorneys at Veron Bice, LLC are highly experienced in these complicated cases. We have a deep understanding of Louisiana boating rules – and when someone breaks these rules and causes injury to you or a loved one, we will fight for you with prowess and compassion.
If you have been involved in a boat accident in Louisiana, do not hesitate to seek legal help. An attorney at Veron Bice, LLC can listen to your story and help illuminate a possible path to recovery. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled boat accident lawyer, call 337-310-1600 today.
Do I Need a Boat Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. While out on the water, boaters have a duty to manage their vessels responsibly. When they act carelessly and endanger others, they should be held accountable.
Despite the popularity of boat activities in Louisiana, boating regulations remain unfamiliar to – or even disregarded by – many people. Regardless, boaters are subject to many state and federal rules. This web of rules and regulations can present a confusing legal situation following an accident, posing significant challenges to victims seeking recovery.
When faced with injury or property damage due to a boat accident, a boat accident lawyer can help you navigate your unique situation. An experienced attorney in this field will be well-versed in all the boating rules and regulations that apply to your case, and can use this knowledge to earn you compensation.
Why Choose Veron Bice, LLC to Handle My Case?
Over years of securing justice for our clients, Veron Bice, LLC has established itself as a premier boating accident firm in Lake Charles. Your experienced personal injury attorney at Veron Bice, LLC will use a deep understanding of boating laws as well as aggressive litigation tactics to earn the compensation you deserve.
Our past clients’ testimonials stand as evidence of our skill in personal injury cases, as do awards that our attorneys and firm have received. We have had team members appear on lists of the Best Lawyers in America and in Louisiana Super Lawyers. Veron Bice, LLC has also earned a spot among the Top 10 Law Firms for Client Satisfaction.
If you choose Veron Bice, LLC to handle your boat accident case, you can rest assured that your attorney will pursue justice with skill and dedication. We are confident enough in our attorneys’ abilities to work with clients on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you only have to pay our fees if we win compensation for you.
Types of Cases We Handle
Just like other types of vehicle accidents, boat accidents can result from many different causes. Some boat accidents, such as those caused by sudden, unexpected inclement weather, are truly no one’s fault. However, blameless accidents of this sort are relatively rare. In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard found that only 552 of 4,168 boating accidents could be attributed to environmental factors. The vast majority of the remaining accidents resulted from different forms of boaters’ carelessness.
While operating a boat, there is a long list of ways in which someone can act negligently and cause harm to others. The state of Louisiana enforces a set of regulations to minimize such behavior, but boaters’ negligence still poses a threat to others on the water. Here are some forms of negligence which, in the event of an accident, may render victims eligible for compensation:
- Lack of certification: In order to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Louisiana, individuals born after 1984 must complete a state-approved boater education course. An exception to this rule is if another adult on board has completed the course, in which case, someone without certification may drive the boat. In either of these scenarios, the boaters must have the certificate proving course completion in their possession and ready to present to an official. When the boat operator does not have or cannot produce a certificate of completion, this person has acted negligently.
- Violation of right-of-way rules: Among other topics, boater education courses cover a set of right-of-way rules to promote orderliness on Louisiana waterways. For example, when two boats approach each other from opposite directions, each boat must keep to its respective right to pass the other. Also, a boat approaching a dock must yield the right-of-way to any vehicles that are pulling away from the dock. The reckless violation of any of these and other similar rules qualifies as the careless operation of a vessel, for which the boater may be held accountable.
- Violation of other “rules of the road”: In addition to right-of-way rules, there are other operation rules that are meant to minimize the risk of boat collisions. For instance, in foggy or other poor-visibility conditions, operators must issue warning signals from their boat. Other rules include the need to maintain an appropriate speed and to carefully look for other boats before making sudden turns. A boat driver who violates one of these rules and causes an accident may be held accountable.
- Intoxication: As is the case with driving a car, operating a boat while intoxicated can be extremely dangerous. If found to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher while driving, boat operators are subject to the same penalties that drunk drivers face on Louisiana highways. Furthermore, boaters may not operate a vessel while under the influence of drugs. If a boat operator is found to have had a high BAC or been under the influence of drugs at the time of an accident, this person may be held responsible for any resulting damage.
- Boat-overloading: Every boat has a specific carrying capacity, which regulates the number of passengers that can safely ride a particular boat at once. Flouting the carrying capacity by overloading a boat can pose a risk to those both on and off the boat. If an accident happens while a boat is overloaded with too many passengers, the boat’s operator may be considered responsible for the accident.
- Boating in restricted areas: Certain areas in Louisiana water bodies are flagged by buoys or other markers to bar boats. These are often popular, shallow swimming areas. If boaters disregard or don’t pay adequate attention to restricted area signs, they can create dangerous situations for themselves and others. This type of action can amount to risky boater negligence.
- Interfering with other boats’ navigation: Boaters have a responsibility to stay out of each other’s way to a reasonable degree. Sometimes, boat congestion in a waterway is unavoidable, but other instances are egregious and preventable. For example, if a boat were to anchor in a narrow channel under a bridge, this would be considered interference with navigation. When such an action leads to or is instrumental in an accident, the operator may be held accountable.
- Failure to have safety equipment on board: It’s important that boat operators confirm that they have the required safety equipment before departing, such as a life jacket for everyone on board.
- Failure to check for inclement weather: Boat operators should always check the weather forecast before their trip to avoid dangerous conditions.
Injuries Suffered in Boating Accidents
No one expects to suffer injuries in a boating accident when they head out on the water, but boating accidents are particularly dangerous. Passengers may face many different types of injuries, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured bones
- Internal injuries
Types of Compensation Available
When you’re injured in a boating accident, the ramifications can seriously impact your life. You may be in constant pain. You may be facing exorbitant medical expenses at the same time that you’re missing work, if you need time to heal. You shouldn’t have to take on a financial burden stemming from an accident that you didn’t cause.
Veron Bice, LLC will investigate your accident to determine the different types of compensation that you may be eligible to receive, such as:
- Medical bills, including future expenses
- Lost wages and income
- Lost earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish, such as anxiety and depression
Contact Veron Bice, LLC Today
If you have been involved in a boat accident in Louisiana, act now to contact an attorney. Under Louisiana law, individuals typically have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit – so if you are considering legal action to earn compensation, it is important not to delay.
With Veron Bice, LLC, you can be confident that your lawyer will work energetically and skillfully to secure justice in your case. Even if you don’t know if you want to pursue compensation for your boat accident, one of our attorneys can walk you through our process and the possibilities you may have for financial recovery. Call us at 337-310-1600 or fill out a contact form to schedule your free, no-strings-attached consultation today.