Boating is an essential part of many people’s lives here in Louisiana, whether for recreational or occupational purposes. From the Gulf Coast to the Mississippi River and all the lakes and channels in between, our waterways are one the things that make our state such a great place to live.
But negligence on the water can lead to boating accidents that cause severe and catastrophic injuries. If you were injured because someone else was reckless or careless, you don’t have to suffer the consequences alone. Louisiana state law recognizes victims’ rights and provides the means for you to recover physically, emotionally, and financially from your boating accident injuries.
Louisiana Lawyers Fighting for Boating Accident Victims
The Louisiana boat accident attorneys of Bianca | Matkins have extensive experience helping injured victims recover compensation through personal injury claims.
Understandably, many victims have no idea how to begin the process of filing a personal injury claim or wrongful death action after a boat accident. That’s where we come in.
Based in Baton Rouge, LA, we provide top-rated legal representation to clients in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and throughout South Louisiana. We are also the region’s top law firm for Deaf rights and are ready to pair you with an ASL-fluent boating accident attorney to help you with your case.
Your initial consultation is 100% free. Keep in mind—Louisiana law places a one-year statute of limitations on most personal injury cases. It’s best to schedule your free case review right away to learn what legal action you should take. A Baton Rouge boating accident lawyer will walk you through your legal rights and options to help you determine your best path to recovery.
How To File Maritime Claims in Louisiana
Maritime law has jurisdiction over injuries that occur on the water, whether at the state level in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana or at the federal or international level. Boating accident attorneys must have a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of maritime laws and how they govern incidents involving:
- Recreational boating
- Commercial fishing
- Other commercial vessels
- Open and cabin motorboats
- A kayak or canoe
- An oil rig, lift boat, or other watercraft related to the offshore petroleum industry
- A jet ski or other personal watercraft (PWC)
Victims of boating accidents may be entitled to seek compensation for physical injury, property damage, and other losses. Based on our successful track record handling maritime and other claims, the boating accident lawyers from Bianca | Matkins know how to win maximum compensation for clients in these complex legal proceedings.
What Causes Boat Accidents?
There are over 300,000 boats registered with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Many boaters are responsible, cognizant boat owners who operate their motorboats, sail boats, and other watercraft appropriately and safely. But not all boat operators practice the care they should on the water.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2021 Recreational Boating Statistics report, there were:
- 4,439 recreational boating accidents resulting in
- 658 deaths,
- 2,641 injuries, and
- approximately $67.5 million in property damage.
Some of the most common causes of boat accidents in Louisiana include:
- Operator inattention
- Reckless boating
- Improper lookout
- Failure to adjust for dangerous weather
- Operation while intoxicated
- Boat operator inexperience
- Aggression or recklessness around other boats
- Machinery failure or engine malfunction
Types of Cases Our Boating Accident Attorneys Handle
We are fully competent in cases involving commercial or recreational boat accidents. In Baton Rouge and throughout South Louisiana, we can assist clients in these types of boating accident cases, and more.
Boating Under the Influence
Many people forget (or simply ignore) that the rules of the road apply to the water as well. Alcohol and operating any vehicle is a dangerous combination. When a boat operator is intoxicated, people can get hurt. Sadly, boating under the influence is a top cause of recreational water injuries. But it is always preventable.
In Louisiana, a boat operator may be charged with a DUI, punishable with fines or jail time, if they:
- Are under 21 and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 or higher
- Are 21 or over and have a BAC of .08 or higher
- Are boating under the influence of illegal drugs
Boating Accidents Caused by Negligence
Any manner of negligence, recklessness, or careless behavior while operating a boat can endanger the lives of others. This may be:
- Operating in bad weather
- Not stocking proper safety equipment onboard
- Carrying too many occupants
- Striking other vessels
- Hitting waves at excessive speeds
- Jumping a wake too close to another vessel
- Swerving too close to other vessels
- Operating near swimmers
- Following too closely
- Towing people on boards or skis in a reckless manner
- Speeding through crowded areas
Jet Ski Accident Injuries
Since Kawasaki first introduced the Jet Ski in 1972, this type of personal watercraft has been a staple on the Gulf Coast. Data collected by the Coast Guard shows that 19% of water accidents reported in 2021 involved a PWC.
Work-Related Watercraft Accidents
Our boat accident attorneys are also able to help file maritime claims for workers who were injured on the job. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Injured employees in Louisiana may be eligible to receive benefits through Jones Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation claims.
Fatal Maritime Accidents
If your loved one was lost in a fatal, preventable incident, our personal injury attorneys can represent your family in filing a wrongful death claim. This type of legal action allows you to pursue justice on behalf of the deceased, ensuring that the at-fault party and their insurer are financially responsible for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Louisiana Recreational Boat Accident?
In order to recover the compensation you are entitled to under Louisiana law, your team of boat accident attorneys must be able to determine and prove fault for the accident. Filing a claim or lawsuit can allow you to recover financial losses like medical bills, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Any type of maritime accident is likely to involve multiple potentially liable parties. Your legal team may need to investigate the actions of operators, manufacturers, other passengers, employers, and operators of other watercraft to accurately and fully determine where liability lies.
Once we have established liability, we’ll work diligently to see that you recover maximum compensation.
Compensation for Boating Accident Injuries
The compensation recoverable through a Louisiana boat accident claim may include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Wrongful death benefits after a loved one’s fatal injuries
Common Injuries in a Boat Accident Claim
Many victims of watercraft accidents suffer debilitating physical trauma. Serious injuries sustained in a boat accident may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limb
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fatal injuries that lead to wrongful death
A Baton Rouge Boat Accident Lawyer Is Ready To Help You
Maybe you suffered injuries because a reckless boater put you in a dangerous situation. Perhaps a manufacturer produced a faulty part that caused a preventable maritime accident. You may have been hurt in a watercraft accident through your employment or lost a loved one who was working on the water.
If these or any other types of boating negligence or reckless behavior led to personal injury, you have legal options. Bianca | Matkins is your guide to recovery.
Schedule your free initial consultation with a Louisiana boat accident attorney you can trust to put you first, always.