Boating Accident Lawyer

Filing a boating accident lawsuit in Louisiana

Luxurious yacht speedboat riding on a seaIn 2016, recreational boating accidents claimed the lives of more than 700 Americans, and injured 3,000 people, according to a U.S. Coast Guard executive report. Fishing boats, commercial vessels and personal watercraft were involved in 4,463 accidents in the U.S. last year, marking a 7.3% increase over 2015. Recent statistics show that Louisiana remains among the top-ranking states for reported boating fatalities, with dozens of deaths occurring in the state’s lakes, rivers and open waterways.

If you or someone in your family was injured on the water, Louisiana boating accident lawyer Bart Bernard has proven experience securing full compensation in incidents involving alcohol use, mechanical failure, negligence and excessive speed. Utilizing his in-depth knowledge of Louisiana maritime laws and regulations, Bart Bernard can help get the money you are owed for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, property repairs and other damages.

Louisiana boating accident lawyer

Boasting miles of Gulf Coast shoreline, winding canals and scenic lakes, Louisiana is a popular spot for recreational boating and waterskiing. Whether you’re operating or riding in a pontoon, jet ski, motor boat or other watercraft, reckless behavior can turn a relaxing pastime into tragedy in the blink of an eye.

While Louisiana has several regulations pertaining to water sports and boating, not everyone obeys the law. Moreover, many boating accident victims suffer harm due to mechanical malfunctions or faulty equipment. Whatever the circumstances, victims have a right to pursue legal compensation when negligence is to blame. Lafayette boating accident attorney Bart Bernard offers dedicated representation to clients who were harmed or lost a loved one in accidents involving:

  • Jet skis
  • Wave runners
  • Air boats
  • Fishing vessels
  • Motorized water craft
  • Commercial boats
  • Wakeboards
  • Canoes and kayaks

Determining liability in a boat accident claim is often a complex process. Louisiana maritime attorney Bart Bernard has the resources to hire accident reconstruction experts and skilled investigators who can pinpoint exactly what happened and whether intoxication, speed, improper lookout, lack of safety equipment, overcrowding or operator distraction were causal factors.

As your legal advocate, Bart Bernard works tirelessly to construct a compelling, fact-driven case that maximizes the value of your injury claim. His recent courtroom victories include a $23 million boating accident award.

How a boat accident attorney can assist

The courts offer remedies for seeking financial reparations in boat accident cases arising from the wrongful actions or negligence of another party. Because watercraft accidents can result in serious personal injury or death, Bart Bernard helps families through the entire claims process, from early investigations to proving your damages before a jury, if necessary.

We have convenient office locations in Lafayette and Baton Rouge and assist clients by:

  • Gathering key evidence, including photographs, video and accident reports
  • Preparing and managing depositions of expert witnesses
  • Ensuring clients have access to the best medical care possible
  • Documenting the full extent of your injuries and future rehabilitation costs
  • Conducting a meticulous investigation to assess liability
  • Handling all negotiations with insurance adjustors to recover full compensation
  • Taking your case to trial

Boating injury causes and penalties

The following are the top 10 contributing factors of recreational boating accidents in Louisiana and across the nation.

  • Operator inattention (597 accidents)
  • Operator inexperience (480 accident)
  • Improper lookout (475 accidents)
  • Excessive speed (360 accidents)
  • Machinery malfunction or failure (323 accidents)
  • Alcohol use (282 accidents)
  • Weather (214 accidents)
  • Navigation rules violation (213 accidents)
  • Hazardous waters (205 accidents)
  • Wake or large wave (160 accidents)

Among all fatal watercraft accidents, alcohol use is the number one contributing factor. Drinking and boating is a deadly combination and watercraft operators can face civil and criminal penalties if they cause an accident while under the influence. Louisiana law considers a person to be legally intoxicated if they:

  • Are under 21 years of age and have a BAC or .02 percent or greater
  • Are 21 years or older and have a BAC of .08 percent or higher

Boating under the influence (BUI) is handled much like a DUI, with penalties including fines, incarceration, driver’s license suspension and the prospect of protracted litigation. It is illegal in Louisiana to knowingly permit another person who is drunk or under the influence of illicit drugs to operate a personal watercraft.

Louisiana boating accident lawsuit

In Louisiana operators of personal watercraft are not required to have special maritime licenses. However, all persons who were born after January 1, 1984 must complete a boating education course in order to operate a motorized vessel with an engine of 10 horsepower or greater.

In the wake of a serious boat accident, contact the personal injury law firm of Bart Bernard for a free case evaluation. Find out if you have a valid claim for compensation for your injuries and losses. Well-versed in the federal statutes governing maritime accidents and injuries, Bart Bernard is prepared to protect your rights.

Additional Boating Accident Resources:

  1. S Department of Homeland Security U.S. Coast Guard, 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics http://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2016.pdf
  2. Safe Boating Campaign, Boating Safety Facts http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-Boating-Safety-Facts.pdf
  3. USCG Boating, STATE BOATING LAWS http://www.uscgboating.org/regulations/state-boating-laws.php

Last modified: June 22, 2017

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