Boating Accident Lawyer in Little Rock
Arkansas is home to over 600,000 acres of lakes and 90,000 miles of rivers, streams, and creeks. Our state is known for its natural scenic beauty and its diverse geography. There are countless parks, wilderness areas, mountainous regions, lakes, rivers, caves, and even hot springs. Arkansas is a wonderful state for outdoor enthusiasts, and especially for those who love to go boating.
There are few activities that are more enjoyable than being out on the boat. Whether we are out fishing, water skiing, or just taking in all the beautiful scenery with family and friends, boating is a lot of fun. But on the flip side, boating can also be dangerous. And with such abundant access to our state’s waterways, there is an increased risk of boat accidents. If you or someone close to you was injured in a boating accident that was caused by another party’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated.
At the Paul Byrd Law Firm, we have successfully represented clients injured in boating accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Arkansas for over 30 years. Our lawyers have knowledge of personal injury law, and we work with our clients, taking the time to investigate their case and explore potential legal avenues toward recovering full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Boat accident cases are typically more complicated than a standard motor vehicle accident. Depending on where the accident occurred, there could be both state and federal regulations that come into play. We have a successful track record with even the most complex cases, and we put our experience to work to provide the representation our clients need and deserve.
Most Common Types of Boating Accidents
There are numerous types of watercraft that are allowed on lakes, rivers, and other waterways throughout Arkansas. These include small paddle-powered watercraft like kayaks and canoes, jet skis, sailboats, open motorboats, closed-cabin motorboats, and pontoons.
There are a variety of ways watercraft can cause accidents with injuries, here are some of the most common:
- Collisions with other Watercraft: About a quarter of all boating accidents are collisions between two water vehicles.
- Colliding with a Fixed Object: These are collisions with structures in the water that do not move or are not supposed to move. Examples include docks, anchored rafts, and bridge supports.
- Boat Explosions from Gaseous Fumes: Gas fumes can accumulate in and under the hull of a boat. If any fumes ignite, this can cause an explosion. There are safety devices that are supposed to help prevent these collections of fumes. Carbon monoxide fumes are also dangerous.
- Flooding or Capsizing: When a boat plug is removed or the watercraft starts moving too fast for the conditions, it may start taking on water, hitting high waves, and turn over.
- Grounding: This can happen when a boat strikes large rocks, reefs, shoals, or even the shore. Sometimes, the driver does not see the large heavy object (or objects) under the boat. Other times, as in the case of hitting the shore, the driver is usually just inattentive and not watching where they are going.
- Passengers Falling Overboard: Although not as common as other types of boat accidents, a passenger going overboard is the leading cause of boating fatalities. This can happen because of standing in the boat and/or the boat moving at fast speeds, encountering heavy winds, and similar factors.
What Causes Boating Accidents in Arkansas?
Boat accidents can happen on all types of watercraft and for a number of reasons, and the vast majority of them are due to operator negligence. Some common reasons a watercraft accident might occur include:
- Driving while Intoxicated: One of the leading causes of boat accident fatalities is operating the watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drunk driving is even more common on boats than on automobiles, because a lot of alcohol tends to get consumed during boating activities.
- Inexperienced Operators: Many boat drivers are young, inexperienced, and/or do not have the proper training to operate them in a safe manner. Drivers with less experience tend to make more errors that may result in a boating accident.
- Driving Recklessly: Some watercraft operators know how to drive safely, but they just choose not to. They drive the boat faster than it is safe to under current conditions, drive too closely to other water vehicles, and make other careless and reckless moves on the waterways.
- Distracted Driving: In today’s digital age, operator distractions are becoming more of a problem. The growing use of cell phones has made conditions on the waterways far more dangerous, and more operators feel the need to take selfies, send texts, and participate in other electronic activity while driving the boat. A few years back, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that approximately 25% of all boating accidents in the state may be attributable to operator inattentiveness (i.e., distracted driving).
- Overcrowded Boats: When too many people are piled into the boat, it adds excessive weight, which can cause the boat to take on water and start sinking when it reaches high speeds.
- Equipment Failure: Some boat accidents are caused by mechanical failure that may be due to negligent maintenance or product defects.
Damages Available in Boating Accident Injury Cases
Boat accidents can result in serious injuries and fatalities. And for those who survive these accidents, the injuries can sometimes be permanent and debilitating. When an injury is caused by another person or party’s negligence, the injured party is eligible for compensation, otherwise known as “damages”.
Compensatory damages may be awarded not only for actual monetary losses such as medical bills, loss of earnings, lost earning capacity, and funeral and burial expenses (in the case of a wrongful death), but also for losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
In some rare cases in which the actions of the party responsible for the boat accident were especially egregious, punitive damages may be available to “punish” the wrongdoer and help act as a deterrent to prevent similarly reckless actions in the future.
Arkansas has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, so if you have suffered injury in a boating accident, it is best to get in contact with an attorney sooner rather than later.
Speak with an Arkansas Boat Accident Attorney
At the Paul Byrd Law Firm, we understand that boating accident injuries take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process as smooth and seamless as possible. We take care of all the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
For a free consultation with one of our Arkansas personal injury lawyers, call us today at 1-501-420-3050. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Little Rock office at your convenience.
We take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case.