Boat Accident Lawyers
Boating and watersports are popular pastimes in the Nashville area, but reckless behavior and negligence can lead to tragic accidents. Contact a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been hurt or a family member died due to a Nashville boat accident.
Middle Tennessee is home to the beautiful Cumberland River, the 85-acre Radnor Lake, Old Hickory Lake and Marrowbone Lake, as well as many smaller lakes.
With this abundance of natural resources, it’s no wonder that many Nashville residents love spending the weekends fishing, boating and having loads of watersports fun, like riding jet skis or water skiing.
Preventing boating accidents lies in acting responsibly, minimizing negligence and learning more about boating safety rules. However, if the unthinkable happens and you are involved in a boating accident that wasn’t your fault, a Nashville personal injury attorney from NST Law can help.
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Boating Accidents Can Have Serious Consequences
When boaters are negligent, injuries, fatalities and property damage are far more likely. There are several causes of boating accidents in Nashville, such as:
- Alcohol Use: According to the Centers for Disease Control, it contributes to one in five boating deaths.
- Distracted Boating: This includes adjusting music levels, putting on sunscreen or texting while steering.
- Fatigue: Fatigue can sneak up on boaters who are spending all day in the hot sun and may be drinking.
- Inexperience in Boating: Examples include letting people who have never driven a boat steer it.
- Inattention to the Water: Even calm waters can turn dangerous and unpredictable, especially in rivers.
- Crowded Lakes: Crowding increases the chances of boaters colliding with swimmers, waterskiers or jet skiers.
- Defective Machinery: Boats can have mechanical problems or equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained.
One contributor to boating accidents that has been significantly rising in recent years is texting and driving.
Taking videos of your passengers, pictures of the lake or river, or responding to texts or social media posts while operating a watercraft can cause you to drift into unsafe water or accidentally collide with a swimmer or a smaller watercraft, like a Ski-Doo.
Texting and boating, or texting while underway, is also referred to as “operator inattention” or “improper lookout.” The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) noted a significant increase in the use of handheld electronic devices by boat operators and urged the Coast Guard to enforce strict penalties for accidents caused by this.
Boating accidents don’t just involve drowning. Many things can go wrong when you’re on the water. Common injuries after a boat accident can include:
- Brain injuries from oxygen deprivation
- Lacerations and deep cuts
- Spinal cord injuries from impact with another boat or the water
- Electrocution from faulty electrical systems on the boat
Understanding the nautical rules that pertain to the waterway you’re using keeps you and your passengers safe. Different waterways may have rules and regulations that are particular to them, and if you don’t know them, you risk putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
What can a boat accident attorney do?
If you were in a boat accident that wasn’t your fault, you might be able to recoup the cost of your medical treatment, property damage, and pain and suffering from the party that caused it. If another party damaged your boat or watercraft, your lawsuit could collect the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Hiring your own injury attorney levels the playing field. Your lawyer represents your interests, negotiates with the other party’s insurance company, and will even take your case to court to ensure that you get financial justice.
Statute of Limitations For Filing A Boat Accident Case
Tennessee state law allows victims of a boating accident one year to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline for filing, a judge will likely dismiss your case, no matter how strongly the facts are in your favor.
When you hire an experienced boat accident lawyer, they will ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations and that all other court filings are completed on time.
Compensation for Your Boat Accident Lawsuit
Your compensation after a boating accident includes both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are your actual damages, including medical bills, property damage and any time missed at work because of the injuries from the boating accident.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering or emotional trauma and mental anguish. Many people who suffer from a serious accident may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, have problems sleeping and concentrating, or may see depressive or anxiety symptoms increase.
Suppose that a family member died due to a Nashville boating accident. In that case, a personal injury lawyer can file a wrongful death suit on your behalf, covering the damages above, plus burial and funeral expenses for the deceased and compensation for the loss of companionship, consortium and guidance you suffered.
Who may be liable for your boating injury?
Tennessee waterways are patrolled by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which enforces the Tennessee Boating Safety Act and cites unsafe or reckless boaters or those under the influence.
However, there are only so many places that a patrol can be, and there are thousands of square miles of water near Nashville. Many negligent boaters may simply slip through the radar.
Reckless boating is a serious offense per Tennessee law, as is boating under the influence. If the Coast Guard cites the at-fault party that caused your accident, they would be liable for your injuries and those of your passengers, plus your boat damage.
If the Coast Guard isn’t present for the accident, your lawyer may depend on witness testimony or an accident report you filed with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency after the fact.
Furthermore, a judge may hold the owner of a boat responsible for any accident, even if they weren’t present at the time of the accident (if they let someone else use the boat, for example). Victims of boating accidents can file claims against the boat owner and operator if they are two separate individuals.
When to Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer
Due to the short window of time to file a boating accident lawsuit, it’s best to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later. The faster your lawyer gets to work, the fresher the evidence is, including witness accounts of what happened.
Cost of a Personal Injury Lawyer
Many personal injury attorneys, like those at NST Law, work on a contingency basis, which means they assess lawyers’ fees as a percentage of the settlement they win.
The fees are contingent on them winning your claim, so if they don’t win, they don’t get paid. We will discuss the specifics of your attorney fees at your initial consultation.
What makes NST Law the best choice?
At NST Law, we have decades of combined experience pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of our clients. We have secured over $2 billion in settlements for our clients, including those injured in boating accidents and families who lost a loved one from a boating accident.
Have you been injured in a boating accident? We can help. Contact NST Law today to learn more about your legal options to recoup the damages you suffered.