Houston boasts one of the largest recreational boating communities in the country. This naturally means the area also sees high numbers of boating accidents. An accident on Houston waterways can lead to significant property damage, life-altering injury, or death. When a boating accident leaves you injured, you need a Houston boat accident lawyer to take on your case.
Personal injury lawyers help injured victims recover compensation after an accident causes physical or financial harm. However, not every personal injury attorney has the working experience and knowledge of boating laws needed to effectively help a client after a boating accident.
If you’ve been injured while on a boat in Houston, you need to work with a boat accident attorney if you hope to recover compensation. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law understands the need for experienced representation, and our Houston-area boat accident lawyers are here to help you and your family.
Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is ready to help you recover compensation after a Houston boating accident. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for your free boat crash case review.
More New Boaters Leads to More Boat Accidents in Houston
Recent Boating Boom Correlates to Increased Boating Injuries and Deaths
The Port of Houston is one of the world’s busiest seaports, so it’s no surprise that Houston houses an enormous boating community.
The city’s site is located along Galveston Bay with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico; and further inland there’s no end of lakes, ponds, and rivers for Houston boaters to explore. Year-round temperate Texas weather means there’s no off-season for boaters in the Houston area, and flocks of tourists only add to the number of people relaxing aboard boats on Houston’s endless waterways.
High numbers of water traffic in Houston naturally lead to a greater number of boating accidents. While in some parts of the country a boating accident is a rare occurrence, boating accidents are fairly commonplace in Houston, where so many individuals take to the water.
The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a period of heightened interest in boating. Boat sales at the start of the pandemic led to a 13-year high in boat sales, with a 40% national increase in sales. In addition to more vessels on the water, this boating boom also meant an increasing number of inexperienced boaters behind the wheel.
Data from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shows that fatal boating accidents in Texas increased by 40% in the wake of pandemic-related boat sales. Furthermore, around 70% of Texas boating deaths involved a lack of boating safety instructions.
Why Choose Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law?
Leaders in Houston Personal Injury Law for Over 35 Years
Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has been a leader in the field of Houston personal injury law for over 35 years. Founding attorney Terry Bryant is Board Certified and a former Texas judge. His firm consists of a team of hand-picked personal injury attorneys with impressive records and proven results.
For the past three decades, Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has recovered over $1 billion for clients injured in accidents in Houston. If you’re looking for boat accident lawyers in Houston, Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law possesses the client testimonials, track record of success, and expertise that let clients know their boating accident claim lies in skilled hands.
Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law knows what it takes to recover compensation after a boating accident in Houston. Give us a call today at (713) 973-8888.
Why You Need to Work with Our Houston Boat Accident Lawyers
Boaters Are Subject to Unique Regulations
The pandemic-induced boating boom combined with an already flourishing boating community in the Houston area means that boating accidents are bound to happen. When they do, working with experienced boat accident lawyers in Houston is essential for successfully proving fault, maximizing case value, and negotiating a fair settlement to cover the damage.
Some areas of personal injury law, like motor vehicle accidents, are more common than others. Not every personal injury lawyer has experience pursuing a claim related to a boating accident. Choosing a lawyer who lacks experience with boating accident claims can be a costly mistake.
Boaters are subject to unique sets of laws and regulations. A Houston boat accident attorney needs to know these well to successfully build a strong case for negligence. Without experience navigating boating claims, a lawyer will simply follow the general guidelines of personal injury law — and when your finances are on the line, you need a boat accident lawyer with boating expertise and a proven track record of success with past boating accident claims.
Common Reasons Behind Houston Boating Accidents
Boating accidents are nothing new, but the increased number of new and inexperienced boaters aboard vessels in Houston means that the most common reasons behind boating accidents are now more likely to include causes related to improper training and safety.
Some of the leading causes behind Houston boating accidents include:
- Lack of proper training and instruction
- Failure to follow boating safety protocols
- Failure to maintain control of the vessel
- Boating while under the influence
- Operating at excessive speed
- Failure to pay attention to other boats.
These safety issues aren’t problems for Houston boaters alone — a recent report from the U.S. Coast Guard ranked operator inattention and operation inexperience as the two leading causes behind recreational boating accidents.
Determining Fault in a Boating Accident
Fault in a Houston boating accident can lie with several different parties. While it’s most typical for the operator of the boat to be the individual liable for damages, that isn’t always the case — especially in an area like Houston, which sees large numbers of tourists taking to the water through boat rental companies.
Possible parties that can be found liable for a Houston boat accident include:
- The boat owner
- The boat operator
- A boat passenger who contributed to the accident
- The boat rental company
- The boat manufacturer
- The boat mechanic.
A boat accident attorney will need to investigate the accident to determine which party is most likely at fault. For example, when an accident is caused by a boat owner operating a personal vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, liability is fairly straightforward.
In a case involving mechanical failure, a more in-depth investigation is required to determine whether the fault lies with manufacturing error, unsafe work completed by a third-party mechanic, or owner failure to properly maintain the vessel.
Once the at-fault party is identified, your Houston boat accident attorney will then need to begin building a case proving negligence. Negligence is a four-part legal principle, and meeting all four points is critical in any personal injury case.
To prove the other party’s negligence in a boating accident, a boat accident lawyer needs to show:
- The responsible party had a duty of care.
- That duty was violated.
- You sustained damages as a result of that violation.
- You can offer tangible proof of the damage.
It’s not enough to have simply been involved in a boating accident — to recover compensation, you must prove that you experienced some form of property damage or personal injury. Once negligence is proven by meeting these points, the other party is considered liable for the damage, meaning they have a legal obligation to pay for your losses.
Texas Law and Time Limits on Legal Action
The process of building a case and undergoing negotiations for a boating accident claim takes time. It’s not uncommon to hit roadblocks during the negotiation stage. Insurance companies are eager to reduce their payouts, and they aren’t always willing to settle for an amount that adequately compensates the injured victim.
If your attorney can’t compel the insurance company to work with you, they’ll need to file a lawsuit. This doesn’t necessarily mean your case will go to court; simply filing is often enough to show the insurance company that you’re willing to sue if they won’t settle fairly.
However, every state places limits on how long you have to file with a court. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. In Texas, you’re typically allowed two years from the date of the accident to file in court, whether your case involves personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death. (*Always speak directly to an attorney to learn the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims.)
Frequently Asked Questions About Houston Boating Accidents
Boating rules and regulations add an additional layer of complexity to a personal injury claim. Here are some common questions from new clients interested in working with a lawyer after a Houston boating accident.
How much does a Houston boat accident lawyer cost?
You probably won’t have to pay your Houston boat accident lawyer anything up front. Boat accident lawyers practice personal injury law, and most personal injury lawyers work with clients using contingency fee agreements. A lawyer will agree to take on your case only if they think they can, and payment is due only if they’re successful. Legal fees are agreed on in your initial contract, and payment comes directly out of the compensation once it’s awarded to you.
How much money can I recover in a Houston boating accident claim?
You can recover as much money as your lawyer can build a case for and negotiate.
Texas law places caps on some types of personal injury cases, like medical malpractice and personal injury caused by a governmental entity. However, there’s no legal limit on how much money you can receive for general cases like personal injury, property damage, and wrongful death.
If your boating accident resulted in life-altering injuries or death and you have an experienced boat accident attorney working your case, it’s possible to see compensation reach six or seven figures (or even more).
What factors impact case value after a Houston boating accident?
Case value is primarily determined by the extent of the damage. An accident that results in minor injuries will have a lower case value than one that ends in death or life-altering injuries.
Boating accidents occur on the water, which means they bring a high chance of death or life-altering injuries such as brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation. The more serious or life-altering injuries are, the higher your case value will likely be.
Can a lawyer help if my boating accident injuries happened at work?
Yes, a boat accident attorney in Houston can help you navigate your workers’ compensation claim to help maximize the compensation you’re eligible for after a boating accident that happens on the clock.
The workers’ compensation claims process is complex, and injured workers who don’t use a lawyer often walk away with far less money than they would have received had a lawyer handled their claim.
What if a loved one died in a Houston boating accident?
When a Houston boating accident results in the death of a loved one, a boating accident lawyer can help you file a wrongful death suit. This legal option is typically available only to close relatives, such as spouses, children, and parents. Wrongful death actions can bring significant settlement amounts for the family members left behind.
Every boating accident is unique. To receive answers to more specific questions, contact a boating accident attorney who can review your case and inform you of your options.
Speak with a Houston Boat Accident Lawyer Today
Boating accidents are costly events. Even property damage alone can leave an accident victim with a hefty pile of bills they shouldn’t bear responsibility for. When a Houston boating accident results in injury or death, it’s even more essential to have an experienced boat accident attorney in Houston working on your case.
Leaving your finances to chance is a mistake you can’t undo. It’s always safer to attend a consultation with a boating accident attorney in Houston, even if you’re not sure you have grounds for a claim.
You can learn more about your financial options after a Houston boating accident by calling (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000, and speaking with a Houston boating accident attorney at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law.