Every year, people flock to enjoy a picture-perfect day on the water. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas is home to millions of acres of bodies of water. As people swarm to lakes, the increased activity often leads to congested waterways and risky behavior that results in accidents. A boating accident can turn a pleasant outing into a nightmare, and you may be unsure what to do next.
After a boating accident, Stepp & Sullivan wants to make sure you know what steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights. Suppose that a boating accident left you injured or sustaining any losses. In that case, you will likely benefit from getting in touch with one of our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers to learn more about what legal options are available to you and how you can recover those losses.
Steps You Should Take After a Boating Accident in Texas and Throughout the United States
While many people know what to do following a car accident, reacting to a boating accident is often a foreign concept to most. Much like car accidents, there are certain steps you should take to ensure your safety, protect yourself from liability, and defend your potential right to recover compensation from the accident.
Make Sure Everyone Involved in the Accident Is Okay
The first thing to do after a boating accident is to make sure that everyone is okay. Accidents often result in serious injuries, which may require immediate medical attention. Checking on everyone after the impact could save someone’s life.
Report the Accident to the Local Authorities
Inform the local authorities of the accident as soon as you are on dry land or in a secure location. The Coast Guard mandates that the accident be reported to a state reporting authority if a person perishes, vanishes, requires medical attention beyond routine first aid, or if the damage to the boat or other property is $2,000 or more. In Texas, you can make this report to either local law enforcement or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
The victims of a watercraft accident must seek medical assistance as soon as feasible if the authorities do not treat them there or emergency services aren’t called. You should seek medical assistance as soon as you can, both for the sake of your health and to be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Medical records can serve as valuable evidence of your injuries and the cost of your treatment.
Document Your Property Damage and Injuries
When you are able, take pictures or record videos of the property damage and any of your injuries caused by the accident as supporting documentation of your losses. Visuals like photos and videos can serve as great evidence to strengthen an accident claim. Also, the names and contact information of any witnesses, either on the water or on the shore.
Your documentation should show the full scope of the damage caused to your water vessel or other property. You can also benefit from having visual evidence of any cuts, bruises, or other injuries.
Keep Track of Expenses Resulting From the Accident
Your property damage costs and medical expenses are losses you can recover in a personal injury claim if another person’s negligence caused your accident. As you are spending money on receiving medical treatment and repairing or replacing your property, keep track of your receipts or other evidence of the costs of these services.
Retain the Services of a Knowledgeable Texas Boating Accident Lawyer
Boating accidents, along with the ensuing injuries and fatalities, often result from another vessel’s operator not paying attention, operating while unqualified, drinking, or speeding and causing a collision. All these reasons can be attributed to their negligence. If a negligent watercraft operator caused your boating accident, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. You may well find it necessary to have a lawyer on your side fighting for your rights.
At Stepp & Sullivan, we have experience handling boating accident claims and recovering damages for accident victims. Given our extensive experience—more than 40 years of combined experience—we are aware of the intricacies involved in these kinds of claims. We are prepared to work to support our clients in protecting their rights and tenaciously seeking the best outcome. Call (713) 336-7200 to contact our firm, or use our contact form.