Boat Accident Lawyer Near You in Louisiana
Many victims simply fall overboard or are thrown overboard in a collision. Many deaths and injuries can be avoided by wearing Personal Flotation Devices (Life Jackets) and following some basic rules of boating operation. Various Louisiana agencies, like the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the US Coast Guard, set forth the rules for safe boating.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, an experienced boating injury lawyer near you at the Lavis Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today! We offer a free no obligation consultation.
Common Boating Accident Injuries
Similar to that of a car accident, or a truck accident, or any personal injury cases, boating accidents can result in a wide range of serious or life-threatening injuries. Among those injuries, some common boating accident injuries include:
- Head and brain injuries: Head injuries from the impact of boating collisions are one of the most common types of injuries in boating accidents. While some can be just minor cuts or bruises, more serious injuries such as concussions, skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries are also possible.
- Drowning: Drowning is also a common factor that contributes to boating accident fatalities especially if the boat sinks or turns over. This is why it is always important to wear a life jacket whenever riding in a boat.
- Broken bones: Fractures or breaks are also common in boating accidents which can lead to other more serious complications if not treated properly.
- Cuts and lacerations: Like broken bones, cuts, or lacerations from the equipment on the boat, or the propeller, can also contribute to boating accident injuries.
- Hypothermia: If the boating accident takes place in cold water, prolonged exposure to the cold water can develop hypothermia, which is a dangerous condition where the body temperature drops below normal.
- Internal injuries: If a person is struck by an object or is thrown around inside the boat, they can sustain internal injuries to organs like the liver, spleen, or kidneys.
It’s important to always follow boating safety guidelines and wear appropriate safety gear like life jackets to minimize the risk of injury in a boating accident. If you or a loved one are suffering from any of these injuries, please do not hesitate to contact a boating accident lawyer near you at the Lavis Law Firm in Louisiana.
Rule of the Road for Vessels
Rules of the Road for vessels upon the waters in the State of Louisiana must be followed. Any violation of the Rules of the Road is evidence of careless or reckless operation which could result in boating accidents.
The following regulations shall dictate the operation of vessels upon the waters of the state and shall set forth a standard of operation. In construing and complying with these rules, due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from the Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.
1) Any violation of the Rules of the Road, as referred to in this section, shall be prima facia evidence of careless or reckless operation.
2) Boating accidents caused by deviation from the Rules of the Road shall be documented as such in accident reports.
3) The Rules of the Road for vessels upon the waters in the state shall be as follows:
- Vessels passing head-on shall each keep to their respective right.
- A vessel overtaking another vessel may do so on either side but must grant the right-of-way to the vessel being overtaken.
- When vessels are passing at right angles, the vessel on the left will yield right-of-way to vessel on the right.
- Motorboats shall yield right-of-way to non-motor powered boats except as follows:
- When being overtaken by non-powered vessels.
- For deep draft vessels that have to remain in narrow channels.
- When vessel is towing another vessel.
4) Motorboats must maintain a direct course when passing sailboats.
5) A vessel approaching a landing dock or pier shall yield the right-of-way to any departing vessel.
6) A vessel departing shoreline or tributary shall yield right-of-way to through traffic and vessels approaching shoreline or tributary.
7) Vessels will not abruptly change course without first determining that it can be safely done without risk of collision with another vessel.
8) If an operator fails to fully comprehend the course of an approaching vessel he must slow down immediately to a speed barely sufficient for steerageway until the other vessel has passed.
9) Vessels yielding right-of-way shall reduce speed, stop, reverse, or alter course to avoid collision. Vessel with right-of-way shall hold course and speed. If there is danger of collision, all vessels will slow down, stop, or reverse until danger is averted.
10) Vessels will issue warning signals in fog or weather conditions that restrict Visibility.
11) No mechanically propelled vessel shall be operated so as to traverse a course around any other vessel underway or any person swimming.
12) In a narrow channel, vessels will keep to the right of mid-channel.
13) Vessels approaching or passing another vessel shall be operated in such manner and at such a rate of speed as will not create a hazardous wash or wake.
14) No vessel shall obstruct or interfere with take-off, landing, or taxiing of aircraft.
15) All vessels shall be operated at reasonable speeds for given conditions and situations and must be under the complete control of the operator at all times.
16) No person shall, under any circumstances, operate a vessel in excess of an established speed or wake zone.
17) No vessel or person shall obstruct or block a navigation channel, entrance to channel, mooring slip, landing dock, launching ramp, pier, or tributary.
18) Vessels shall keep at least 100 feet clearance of displayed diver’s flag.
19) Operator shall maintain a proper lookout.
Reporting Louisiana Boating Accidents
Pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 34:851.10, the operator/owner of a vessel used for recreational purposes are required to file a report in writing whenever an incident
results in loss of life or disappearance from a vessel; an injury that requires medical treatment beyond first aid; or property damage in excess of $500 or complete loss
of the vessel. Reports must be submitted within 5 days. Reports must be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries.
La R.S. 34:851.10 provides:
Collisions, crashes, and casualties; theft, reporting
A. It shall be the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or another casualty, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers, if any, to render to other persons affected by the collision, crash, or another casualty such assistance as may be practicable and as may be necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger caused by the collision, crash, or other casualty and also to give his name, address, and identification of his vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, crash, or another casualty.
B.(1) The operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars must give notice of the incident immediately, by the most prompt means of communication, to the department, the nearest law enforcement agency, or to state police. Law enforcement agencies shall notify the department immediately upon receiving information of a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a vessel resulting in death or injury to a person or damages in excess of five hundred dollars. The driver of any vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person, or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars shall, within five days after the incident, forward a department-approved incident report form to the department. A full description of the collision or other casualty must be reported and submitted on an official form supplied by the department. In a crash where the operator is incapable of filing a report, each person on board shall bear the responsibility of notifying the department or determining that a report has been submitted. The department shall submit to the United States Coast Guard reportable accidents consistent with the Statement of Understanding between the state of Louisiana and the United States Coast Guard. The department shall provide copies of completed crash reports to any interested person upon request. The department may charge a fee not to exceed five dollars for reports that do not exceed four pages and seven dollars and fifty cents for reports that exceed four pages. The department may also charge a reasonable fee for copies of photographs, videotapes, audiotapes, and any extraordinary-sized documents or documents stored on electronic media.
(2) When a collision, crash, or other casualty occurs within the prohibited zone, as defined in R.S. 34:851.2(7), involving a vessel or vessel flotilla within the scope of R.S. 34:851.24(J), the report required by this Subsection shall also be made to the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission within the time period applicable to submitting such report to the department.
C. Every owner of a registered boat shall report its theft to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within five days of discovery of the theft. The violation of the provisions of this Subsection shall not be subject to any penalty, including the provisions of R.S. 34:851.31(C), and shall not be construed to be a crime.
Boating Accident Statistics
As the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” Louisiana is an ideal place for recreational boating. There were nearly 316,600 motorboats registered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 2008, which is more than one boat for every six households.
With this large number of boaters in the state, there are also a large number of boating injuries and fatalities. In 2013, state wildlife officials reported a record low of 13 boating fatalities in Louisiana. The previous low for boating fatalities was 19 in 1992, and the high was in 1974 with 79. Since 2010, Louisiana has an average of 25 boating fatalities a year. Nationally, the Coast Guard counted 4515 boating accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3000 injuries, and approximately $38 million in damage. While alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boating fatalities and injuries, operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed are the next leading factors of boating accidents. The top five causes of death of boating accidents are drowning, trauma, cardiac arrest, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Although boating remains a popular sport in Louisiana, the large number of boats in use increases the likelihood of an accident. Negligent and reckless drivers can cause harm to fellow passengers, swimmers, and other boats.
Contact a Louisiana Boating Accident Lawyer Near You Today!
If you need help or have any questions, contact an experienced boat accident lawyer near you at Lavis Law Firm at 866-558-9151 or submit your inquiry online. Please be advised that you may be facing important legal deadlines, so don’t delay. You can also visit us in person at our office.
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- Louisiana Boating Safety & Waterway Strategic Plan
- Louisiana Boating Regulations – Required Equipment & Regulations
- Louisiana Boating Regulations – New Boating Regulations
- Louisiana Boating Regulations – Rules of the Road for Vessels
- U.S. Coastguard Boating Safety Resource Center