A day out on the lake in the state of Texas is supposed to be a carefree and relaxing affair. Thousands of visitors flock each year to popular boating destinations in Galveston, Lake Conroe, Lake Travis, Clear Lake, Lake Livingston, Corpus Christi, and other boating hot spots. Unfortunately, for many, this recreational activity can become a nightmare if an accident occurs where someone is seriously injured.
Considering the countless variables involved in boating safety and understanding watercraft protocol, an accident can take place at any moment. This can be shown through the fact that in the past 5 years preceding 2010, there were nearly 900 serious injuries and over 250 fatalities.
With these extremely alarming statistics in mind, the chances of being a victim of another’s negligence are rather high. Although it may seem that your options are limited in what you can do after a boating accident in which you were not at fault, working with a personal injury can help you fight for the compensation that you need to cope with your losses.
Houston Boat Accident Lawyer
Ben Bronston & Associates is a personal injury law firm with offices in South Texas that understands your concerns. Our attorneys have a strong track-record and are well versed in the Texas legal system. They will keep you appraised at all times and help you pursue the compensation that is owed to you.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your accident, call (713) 225-5236 or send an online message today. Our law firm proudly represent individuals in Houston and throughout the Lone Star State.
Information Center for Texas Boaters
- Boating Accident Causes and Injuries
- The Pre-Lawsuit Process
- Filing a Claim After a Boat Accident
- Boating Resources in Texas
Boating Accident Causes and Injuries
There are many ways in which a boating accident can occur, along with many injuries that can be sustained due to these accidents. Some of the primary causes of boating accidents include:
- Boat drivers operating their vessel while intoxicated
- Boats traveling too close together
- Careless of reckless boating
- Operator inexperience
- Poor signage
- Distracted boaters
As for the injuries that could stem from a boating accident, some of the most common are:
- Head injuries
- Broken Bones
- Internal injuries
- Severed limbs
- Blunt force trauma
The Pre-Lawsuit Process
The actual steps of the lawsuit process regarding accidents in the state of Texas is complex, yet relatively straight forward. The following are the two main steps to be completed before filing a lawsuit:
- Legal Consultation – A competent attorney will provide a thorough explanation of your legal rights, help you sort through the information that will be important to your case, give you guidance as to what to expect from the process, and advise you what steps you should take to obtain the best possible outcome. In the initial consultation, the lawyer will also establish the terms of representation, including how a contingency fee agreement works.
- Defendant Negotiation – After getting the basic facts of your case in order, your lawyer will contact the defendant and their insurance company to put them on notice that you have retained counsel. In most cases, the personal injury attorney will also attempt to settle your case without the having to file a lawsuit in court. The decision whether to settle always belongs to the client. If a reasonable settlement can be obtained, the defendant or their insurance company will pay the agreed upon amount of money.
Filing a Claim After a Boat Accident
The following steps map out the general procedure for filing a lawsuit, along with what happens during a trial by jury:
- Initial Lawsuit Filing – If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, your legal counsel will file a lawsuit with the court. The paperwork filed with the court, called the original petition, will contain the specific claims being made by the injured party.
- Written Discovery – Your attorney will send formal written discovery questions to the other party to find out the evidence of the defenses made by the defendant. These questions generally include requests for the defendant to produce documents they intend to use to support their defenses, and questions that require sworn narrative responses from the defendant about the case. The defendant will almost always send written discovery to the plaintiff as well. Both sides will also most likely order copies of the relevant medical records, medical billing records, as well as employment records and tax returns.
- Depositions – Usually after the written discovery process is complete, the defendant will subpoena the plaintiff for an oral deposition. In a deposition, the attorney for the defendant will ask the plaintiff questions relevant to the case. Typically, after the plaintiff’s deposition is taken, the attorneys on both sides will take additional depositions of important witnesses who may testify at the jury trial.
- Mediation – Many courts in Texas require parties to attend mediation to try and resolve the case prior to trial. A qualified mediator can facilitate an agreement between the parties. The mediation process is confidential, and the mediator may only report to the court whether the parties reached or did not reach a settlement. If an agreement cannot be made, the outstanding issues must be presented to the judge and jury at trial.
- Trial by Jury – When the parties are unable to reach an agreement at mediation, they must present their cases to the judge and jury. Trial is a formal proceeding where the parties present evidence, question witnesses, and ask the jury to make a ruling. After all evidence is presented, the judge will present the jury with questions to answer that will decide the case. The jury’s answers to the questions presented to them are called the jury’s verdict. The jury’s verdict will determine whether the defendant is to be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and if so, the amount of money the defendant is to pay.
Resources for Boating Accidents in Texas
- Boating Safety Resource Center: This federal agency’s goal is to minimize boating accidents, property damages, the loss of life, and environmental impacts associated with recreational boating. Information on rules and regulations, as well as safety tips can be found on this website.
- American Boating Association: The American Boating Association promotes boat safety, and a safe boating environment for individuals in America. This organization joins members together for overall boat education.
- Texas Wildlife and Parks – Boating Facts: This Link provides information on boating accidents, and statistics on the injuries and fatalities due to boating accidents in Texas. This site also gives tips on how to remain safe while boating.
Fighting for the Rights of Texas Boat Accident Victims
If you have been involved in a boating accident caused by the negligence of another boater or boating company, you have rights. Working with a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney in Houston is critical to minimize your stress and help you quickly obtain the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills or property damage.
Call (713) 225-5236 or send an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with the legal team at Ben Bronston & Associates. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay a dime unless we recover money for you.