Although boating can certainly be fun, it can also be dangerous. If boat owners and boat operators do not pay attention to safety, the consequences can be downright catastrophic. Unfortunately, boating accidents and boat-related injuries remain far too common.
At The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, our Houston boating accident lawyer is committed to helping injured victims maximize their financial compensation. A board-certified personal injury attorney, Andrew Seerden is passionate about protecting the rights and interests of boat accident victims. Prior to the founding of his own law firm, Andrew Seerden worked at a large law firm where he gained experience representing companies and insurers. He understands the other side of personal injury cases — and uses his unique background and experience to fight for the rights of injured victims.
If you were hurt in a boating accident in Southeast Texas, please do not hesitate to contact our Houston law office for a free, fully confidential consultation.
How a Houston Boating Accident Attorney Can Help After a Crash
If you were involved in any type of boating accident, you should seek immediate guidance from a qualified legal professional. Sadly, in far too many cases, injured victims make wholly avoidable errors in the days and weeks following a major accident. Seemingly minor mistakes can cause significant damage to a personal injury claim.
One of your first steps after a boat collision should be to contact an attorney. Our Houston boat accident attorney will fight to protect your best interests during every stage of the process. Among other things, our legal team will:
- Provide you with a free, no-obligation personal injury consultation
- Take the time to understand the unique nature of your situation
- Go over your legal rights and legal options with you
- Conduct an in-depth investigation of your boat accident
- Identify every potential source for financial compensation
- Work directly with doctors and other medical professionals
- Build a strong, compelling legal case on your behalf
- Negotiate with defendants and insurance companies
- Prepare for personal injury litigation, if a trial is necessary
Most personal injury cases can be settled without going to trial. In many cases, this is the best possible result for an injured victim. Settlement reduces the overall risks associated with bringing a claim and allows a plaintiff to access compensation far more quickly.
However, settlement is only advisable if the defendant and/or the insurer is willing to offer full and fair compensation. Our Houston boat accident attorney is trial-tested in personal injury law. We are always ready to pursue personal injury litigation should it be necessary. Your rights must be protected.
Proving Fault in a Boating Accident
To hold another party legally liable for injuries suffered in a boating accident, a plaintiff must be able to prove fault. Our highly qualified Houston boating accident lawyers can help you take action to establish liability, so that you can hold negligent defendants legally accountable. How precisely this will be done depends entirely on the circumstances of your claim.
Of course, many boat accident claims are brought against the insurance policies of individual boat owners. If you were injured due to the negligence of a boat owner, whether because they were speeding, they were operating under the influence of alcohol, they failed to conduct proper maintenance, or for any other reason, the owner and their insurance company may be held legally liable for your injuries.
Other boating accident claims are brought against commercial operators. For example, if you were injured on a tour boat or any other type of commercial boat, or in a collision with a commercial boat, you may have a claim directly against the company that owns and operates the business. Your lawyer can investigate the accident to determine exactly why it occurred.
Some boat accident injury claims are brought under different legal standards. As an example, if a boat accident occurred because the boat — or any part on the boat — was defective, you may have a product liability claim against the boat manufacturer or the boat seller. Defective product claims are highly complex legal cases. Victims should seek immediate representation.
The bottom line: In all boating accident cases, it is crucial that injured victims are able to prove fault so that they can establish legal liability. This requires the presentation of compelling supporting evidence.
Following a boat accident, injured victims should try to obtain as much relevant evidence as possible. This includes everything from taking pictures to getting the contact information for witnesses. An experienced boat accident attorney will be able to take the preliminary information that you have in your possession and conduct a comprehensive investigation of the accident.
Maximizing Compensation for Boating Accident Victims
Injured victims deserve just compensation for their damages. In Texas, financial compensation should cover both direct monetary losses and intangible damages.
It is important to note that proving liability is just one aspect of obtaining compensation through a personal injury claim. Even when liability for a boat accident is unquestioned, you should expect a fight. Defendants and their insurance carriers will often try to work aggressively to reduce the value of a victim’s settlement offer.
At The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, our respected Houston boat accident attorney knows how to help plaintiffs maximize their recovery. Andrew Seerden has experience representing insurers at a large Texas law firm — he knows all of the tactics and strategies that they try to use against you.
Depending on the specific nature of your accident, monetary damages may be available for the following:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Other medical bills and health care costs
- Physical therapy and psychological counseling
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional harm
- Disfigurement or permanent scarring
- Long-term disability
- Loss of lifestyle enjoyment
- The wrongful death of a family member
Wrongful death claims are especially complex. If your family member drowned in a boating accident in Southeast Texas, you need to contact an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney immediately. While we understand that nothing can truly account for such a tragic loss, our compassionate legal team is prepared to handle all of the legal aspects of your case so that you can focus on yourself and your loved ones.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Boating Accident
A boating accident is often a chaotic and even frightening scene. If you were injured in a boat accident in Houston, it is imperative that you know how to protect your safety and your rights. Specifically, boating accident victims should:
- Render aid and stabilize the situation: Following a boat accident, the most important thing is to stabilize the situation and to get everyone to safety. In some cases, a single person may have been injured in the accident. In other cases, emergency rescue crews may be required. Accident victims should never hesitate to seek professional help. Safety is paramount.
- Get medical assistance: Without question, emergency medical needs always come first. If you or your loved one requires emergency assistance, they should be transported to the nearest medical center without any unreasonable delay. Beyond that, non-emergency injuries also require comprehensive medical evaluations. Not only is this important to protect the health and safety of the victim, but a plaintiff cannot pursue an effective legal claim without first seeing a doctor.
- Report the boating accident: Unlike most accidents, boating accidents may involve federal law or interaction with a federal law enforcement or rescue crew. Under federal regulations, any boating accident that results in a fatality, in a missing person, or in an injury that requires more than simple “first aid” must be reported to the proper state boating authority. In the Houston area, that authority is the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. From there, the accident will likely be reported to the United States Coast Guard. As an injured victim, it is in your best interests to ensure that your accident is properly reported.
- Contact a Houston boat accident lawyer: Boat accident injury claims are complex cases. If you or your family member was severely hurt in any type of boat accident, it is imperative that you seek professional legal support. Before you make a statement to the defendant or to an insurance company, please consult with an experienced Texas boat accident attorney.
How Long Do You Have to File a Boat Accident Claim in Texas?
Your boat accident injury claim must be initiated before the statute of limitations runs out. If you were hurt in a boating wreck, you generally have up to two years to file a lawsuit in Texas. Should you decline to take action before the deadline, your claim will almost certainly be dismissed outright. There are very few exceptions to the Texas statute of limitations. Do not wait to take action.
Though it may appear that you have plenty of time to bring a claim, you should not hesitate to consult with a knowledgeable boat accident attorney in Houston. Boating accidents often require a comprehensive investigation. The sooner you speak to a Texas boating accident lawyer, the easier it will be for your representative to build a strong legal claim.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boat accidents take many forms. They can happen for a wide range of reasons. In some cases, accidents lead to relatively minor injuries — potentially even injuries that can be handled with minor first aid. In other cases, boating accidents can be truly devastating — resulting in catastrophic injuries or even fatalities.
Boat owners and operators — whether a large company or an individual hobbyist — must take the proper safety precautions to protect the health and well-being of all passengers. Some of the most common reasons why boat accidents occur include:
- Distracted boat operator
- General inattention by operator
- Boat operator intoxication
- Improper lookout for hazards
- Excessive, dangerous speed
- Unsafe turning of the vessel
- Violations of basic navigational rules
- Undertraining of boat operators and other staff members
- Inadequate staff or poor hiring standards
- Failure to conduct adequate maintenance
- Unsafe conditions on the boat itself
- Lack of enough safety devices on board, including missing life jackets
- Defective manufacturing
- Issues with machinery
Some accidents involve collisions between multiple boats, whereas some incidents involve a boat crashing on its own. In still other cases, an accident occurs onboard a boat. While many boating accidents do share fundamentally similar causes, all personal injury claims also have their own unique factors that must be addressed.
If you or your loved one was injured on a boat in Southeast Texas, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to explore every available avenue to access financial compensation. You deserve justice.
Get Help from a Houston Boating Accident Lawyer Today
At The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, our Texas personal injury attorney has extensive experience handling boating accident claims. If you or your loved one suffered an injury in a boat accident, we are here to help.
To get a free, no obligation review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. With an office in Houston, we represent clients in Harris County and throughout Southeast Texas.