Each year, about 74 million Americans engage in recreational boating. Louisiana is one of the premier states where Americans go to enjoy their water activities. Known as the Sportsman’s Paradise, Louisiana offers a wide array of entertainment and fun for water enthusiasts. From fishing to wake boarding, Louisiana water bodies are filled with people enjoying activities on the water. Most boating experiences are positive, but the most joyful times quickly can turn deadly if boaters are not vigilant about safety. With the summer season in full force, sometimes these water bodies become over crowded and dangerous. From people drinking and having a good time on a lake to fishermen flying around a corner to make it in time for their tournament weigh in, accidents are bound to happen on the water. The United States Coast Guard “USCG” states that the number one cause of injuries on the water is due to operator fault. This fault is attributable to negligent and reckless drivers. Negligent and reckless drivers can cause harm to fellow passengers, swimmers, and other boats. Often times these accidents cause severe injuries if not fatal. If you have been in a boating accident, call CENLA’s boating accident attorneys at 318-224-2222. The attorneys at Spurgeon Law Firm will answer any questions you have.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics, there were 4291 reported boating accidents in 2017. Out of those 4291 boating accidents, 658 were fatal.
The USCG reports that:
Louisiana had a total 106 boating accidents in 2017. Out of the 106 accidents: 19 were fatal, 47 were non-fatal, and 40 caused property damage.
Louisiana courts often give deference to the Rules for Navigation or “Rules of the Road” in determining whether an operator of a boat has breached a duty. The Navigation Rules are much like the rules of the road on the highway. They establish a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions when two boats are crossing paths, are on course to meet head-on, or when one boat wishes to overtake another.
Furthermore, Louisiana law imposes a duty on the boat operator to operate his vessel in accordance with these rules. La R.S. 34:851.18 states in pertinent part: the owner of a watercraft shall be liable for any injury or damage occasioned by the negligent operation of such watercraft whether such negligence consists of a violation of the provisions of the statutes of this state or in the failure to observe such ordinary care in such operation as the rules of the common law require.
Therefore, in order to hold an operator accountable, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached his duty by not following the rules of navigation.
This area of law requires an experienced attorney who knows the rules of the courtroom and the rules of the road. Let our boating accident attorneys at Spurgeon Law Firm help you. Our team will work diligently to seek maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact Spurgeon Law Firm today for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been in a boating accident.
Below are simple tips that can prevent accidents from occurring:
The USCG requires an operator who has been involved in a boating crash, collision or other casualty to stop his or her vessel immediately at the scene of the incident. The operator must render assistance to injured persons or attempt to minimize any danger caused by the incident unless doing so would create serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers.
The operator must give his or her name, address, and the identifying number of his or her vessel in writing to anyone injured from the incident and to the owner of any damaged property.
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, disappearance of a person from a vessel, property damage in excess of $500, or complete loss of a vessel must give notice of the incident immediately, by the most prompt means of communication, to LDWF’s Law Enforcement Division, the nearest law enforcement agency, or to state police. Call 800-442-2511 to report an incident to LDWF.
The driver of any vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty as described previously must forward an LDWF-approved incident report form to LDWF, within five days of the incident.
Sources: wlf.louisiana.gov uscgboating.org La R.S. 34:851.18