Boating Accidents

The waterways of our state are popular and plentiful. However, when a boating accident occurs, very serious injuries can result. If you or a loved one has been hurt on the water, negligence may be to blame and you may be eligible to file a claim for damages. Contact us today at 1-877-360-BRENT or submit an online request for a free case evaluation.

Louisiana law requires that all boaters complete a boater education course. The law prohibits the following dangerous practices while on the water:

  • Reckless boat operation: such as boating in a marked swimming area, chasing wildlife or weaving through congested traffic. Also prohibited is allowing passengers to illegally ride on an uncovered bow or gunwale of a boat without proper guards or railing.
  • Speeding: Ignoring the 'Idle Speed' or 'No Wake' speed zones and operating a boat at speeds higher than allowed within boat ramp or dock areas.
  • Careless boat operation: such as operating your boat at a speed high enough to produce a dangerous wake or in a manner that puts you at risk of running into another vehicle.
  • Overloading: loading the boat beyond its carrying capacity.
  • Overpowering: equipping the boat with a motor that exceeds the power capacity of the vessel.
  • Operating a boat under unsafe conditions: such as operating a boat without adequate life jackets, fire extinguishers or navigation lights.

Should an accident occur, the boat operator must file a written report on an accident report form within five days. Accident report forms are available from any LDFW office or may be downloaded from the LDWF's website, www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

Commercial boats have additional laws regulating their responsibilities to crew members and passengers. Collectively, these regulations are known as Maritime Law, which can cover the crew on a vessel as well as longshoremen, offshore oil field workers, and others who may become injured on a boat, rig or dock. Maritime Law includes:

  • Jones Act: this law allows seamen who have been injured by the negligence of their employers or co-workers to bring a claim against their employers for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
  • Unseaworthiness Claims: this type of claim applies to injuries caused by a boat or boat part that isn't considered safe enough for its intended operation, or to injuries caused by crew members that aren't skilled enough to perform their jobs safely and competently.
  • Death on the High Seas (DOHSA): this federal law allows surviving spouses of seamen to recover damages for their spouse's future earnings.
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers? Compensation Act (LHWCA): this law provides protection to non-seamen who are injured on navigable water.

If you have been injured while on the water or working in a capacity covered by Maritime Law, Brent J. Rhodes will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payment for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and any permanent disability. We'll develop a legal strategy designed to obtain maximum benefits for you and your family. Results are how we measure success ? we've built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom and we'll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

If you have been hurt in a boating accident, take the first step to protect your legal rights, contact the Law Offices of Brent J. Rhodes, L.L.C. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.