Archive for the ‘Boating Accident Injury Claims’ Category

Mississippi Boating Accident Attorneys Explain Boating and Tubing Accidents in Mississippi

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

During the summer months, thousands of Mississippians will take to the waterways to enjoy boating, tubing, and other water sports.  Mississippi is home to numerous rivers, lakes, streams, and the ocean in the South.  Unfortunately, summertime is also the most common time for boating accidents to occur.  Recently, in Clinton County, five people, including two children, were on board a flat boat, about 16 feet long, that capsized in the Mississippi River.  Both children and one adult were rescued.  The two other adults perished in the accident, with the body of one found days later.

Earlier in the summer, a nine year old boy from New Orleans died in a boating accident on the Wolf River.  The young boy and his sibling were riding behind a boat in a tube.  While navigating around a bend, the tube hit a tree and the nine year old body, who was wearing a life jacket, died in the accident.  The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma.

These tragic accidents serve to highlight the need for heightened boating and tubing safety in Mississippi.  The following is a list of the most common causes of boat accidents, intended to keep you safe while on the water this summer.

  1. Crowded waterways: The number of boaters on the waterways increases drastically during the warm summer months.  Along with this increase in the number of boats comes a rise in the number of inexperienced boaters.  Many summer boaters only boat occasionally and lack the expertise that comes with more regular boating.  These boaters are often out with family and friends, which can diminish their attention.  Combine inexperience with distraction and accidents can occur.
  2. Alcohol: Over half of all boating accidents and fatalities are attributed to drunk boaters.  While alcohol use is common amongst boaters, it is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated.  Drinking excessively while operating a boat is not just a crime; it endangers the lives of those in your boat and around you.
  3. Speed: Boating at speeds excessive for the waterway, conditions, or your experience can lead to accidents.  Excessive speed will diminish lookout and awareness of the presence of obstacles, such as sandbars, tubers, or other boats.  Speed frequently goes hand in hand with alcohol consumption, making an even more dangerous situation.
  4. Failure of equipment on the boat: Proper maintenance of your boat is imperative.  You should regularly inspect the engine, steering system, communication system, navigation lights, rescue capacity, and all other vital parts.  Sometimes, however, equipment failure will occur even despite the best of maintenance.  Faulty parts or parts that are improperly installed can cause serious accidents.

If you have been involved in a boating accident that may have been caused by the negligence of a boat operator or due to a faulty piece of equipment, a personal injury attorney can help you recover for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.

Barrett Law PLLC: Assisting Boating and Tubing Accident Victims Across Mississippi

For over 75 years, across three generations, the Mississippi Boating Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law, PLLC have provided skilled, zealous, and intelligent representation for the victims of boating and other water related accidents across the state.  Our personal injury attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to obtain the results you desire.  Barrett Law, PLLC operates on a contingency fee basis and the first consultation is always free.  The attorneys at Barrett Law, PLLC pride themselves on ensuring each and every client receives superior representation, with passion and zeal.  Call today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.  We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.

 

 

Drunken Operators of Personal Watercrafts Pose Serious Danger to Others

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

With summer now upon us, many people throughout Mississippi are venturing out to hit the waterways with a personal watercraft (PWC) like a Sea-Doo or Wave Runner.  Many people use personal watercrafts for recreation and to stay cool.  Most PWC enthusiasts are careful, conscientious and follow safe waterway practices and safety laws.  Unfortunately, there are others for whom drinking and recreational watersports go hand in hand.  Someone operating a PWC in Mississippi is subject to the same laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI) as a person driving a passenger vehicle on Mississippi roadways.  In reality, a person driving PWC while under the influence of alcohol potentially poses an even greater risk than someone who is driving a car while intoxicated because are less responsive.  The danger of suffering a serious injury in a personal watercraft accident is also magnified by the fact that people in the water may be less visible.

Alcohol and Personal Watercrafts Are a Dangerous Mix

Our personal watercraft personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law believe that those who cause injury to others because they are operating a PWC while under the influence of alcohol deserve to be held accountable and that accident victims deserve to be compensated for their injuries.  Our experienced team of Mississippi recreational watersport accident lawyers carefully investigates the facts and circumstances of Sea-Doo or WaveRunner accidents so that we can develop the best possible litigation strategy.  We frequently utilize toxicological experts who are able to testify regarding the impact alcohol would have had on the defendant’s ability to maneuver their PWC safely.  We also carefully monitor criminal DUI cases involving intoxicated PWC operators because the developments and outcome of that case can often be used to strengthen a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent PWC user who commits DUI while engaged in recreational watersport activity.

How Drunken PWC, Sea-Doo and WaveRunner Accidents Occur

We handle all types of personal watercraft accidents and injuries involving intoxicated operators in Mississippi including:

  • Collisions with other PWCs or boats
  • Drowning accidents
  • Injuries caused by running over someone in the water
  • Boating or PWC accidents that occur when a watercraft collides with a stationary object
  • Boating or personal watercraft accidents involving a boat that flips over or capsizes
  • Propeller mutilation accidents

Serious boating or PWC accidents often result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death.  If you are involved in a boating, WaveRunner or Sea-Doo accident in Mississippi, you may suffer traumatic brain injury, propeller mutilation, loss of a limb or even a fatal drowning.  When these types of serious injuries are caused by a boat driver or PWC operator who is under the influence of alcohol or driving carelessly, you may be entitled to compensation, including but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages, future lost income, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (loss of companionship and services of a spouse), property loss and funeral or burial expenses in wrongful death cases.  If the careless Sea-Doo or WaveRunner operator who causes your injuries is guilty of DUI, this will also typically justify punitive damages to punish their egregious conduct and to discourage such conduct in the future.

It is never advisable to operate any form of motor vehicle while intoxicated.  While alcohol impairs driving ability under the best circumstances, safe operation of a PWC is more difficult then safely driving a passenger car. Passenger cars are extremely responsive to steering adjustments and braking.  Personal watercrafts do not share the same ease of handling so any diminished ability to respond quickly and exercise good decision-making when driving a boat can have tragic results. If someone is operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol, they may exhibit the following diminished abilities:

  • Slow reaction times
  • Impaired judgment
  • Lack of coordination
  • Faulty assessment of one’s own ability
  • Inability to properly judge speed and distance
  • Diminished visual sharpness

When you or someone you love is involved in an alcohol-related PWC accident, a day of relaxation and fun can become a tragedy in the blink of an eye.  Drunken personal watercraft accidents in Mississippi are particularly tragic because they are completely avoidable. At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Memorial Day Means Fun on Mississippi Waterways and Boating Accidents

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Most of us have begun preparing our boats and digging the fishing poles along with the camping gear out of the storage room.  Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner so it is time to take the boats out of storage and get ready to go swimming, fishing and pleasure cruising on Mississippi waterways. There are so many beautiful bayous, rivers, and lakes in Mississippi that it is a perfect place to spend Memorial Day weekend.  If those out on the water become careless or mix alcohol and boating, it can mean serious boating accidents.

Most boating accidents that result in fatalities occur during daylight hours.  The  majority of fatal boating accidents also occur on warm, sunny days before 5 PM when the winds are light, and the water is calm.  Boating accidents frequently are caused by capsizing or falling out of the boat, which is how most people are killed on the water in boating accidents.

What is Capsizing?

Capsizing is when the boat flips over on its side or turns all the way over.  Many serious boating accidents also occur when someone stands up in a boat and loses their balance.  This can result in a person falling in the water and drowning sometimes when hitting one’s head on the side or bottom of the boat, or the person may get seriously injured when entangled in the boat propellor.  Capsize accidents or accidents where boaters are injured when slipping and falling into the water usually occurs on small watercrafts.

On March 21, 2011, a man died when he and his fishing buddy stood up at the same time in their 14 foot boat while fishing on the Mississippi River. The boat suddenly flipped throwing both men overboard, and only one of the men survived.  Because this type of accident frequently occurs with fatal results, it is important to know what precautions to take to prevent tipping or falling out of a small boat.  Sometime boats, especially small fishing or pleasure boats, will capsize so it is important that you and everyone on the boat know what to do if the boat does tip over, or someone does fall out of the boat into the water.

Here are some guidelines that can help you safely enjoy Mississippi waterways:

  • Boat owners should not allow anyone to sit where there is no seat.  It is important to ensure every passenger is sitting in a place on board that is a designed for occupants to sit.  No one should sit on the front of the boat where no seats are placed or sit on top of the backs of the seats or motor cover. This disrupts the boat’s balance and center of gravity.
  • Boats should not be overloaded with too much cargo or be loaded with more passengers than seats.
  • All boat occupants should be sitting when the boat is moving.  It is important to keep your center of gravity low and close to the water.
  • It is always a bad idea to lean on the sides of a small boat. This will disrupt the boat’s balance.
  • When moving across the water and turning a boat, the driver should make the turn wide and slow.
  • Boat owners should never go out on rough water or just prior to a storm.
  • When anchoring your boat, you should always anchor from the bow ( front of boat).  You should never throw an anchor from the rear of the boat.

What If Your Boat Capsizes or You Fall Overboard

If you fall out of the boat and cannot get back in, you should stay with the boat if at all possible. A boat is easier to spot than someone floating in the water.  You can signal for help using devices on the boat such as mirrors, distress signals and whistles.

If you did not have a life jacket on when you fell out of the boat, you should find one and put it on or at least hold onto it.  You should also look around you and make sure everyone can be accounted for and that each person is wearing a life jacket.

If you fall into the water, you should try to get back onto the boat.  If you are unable to do so, it is best to pull as much of your body out of the water as possible.  A person who falls overboard and cannot get back into the boat should not tread water because it will result in you losing your body heat faster.  It is advisable to simply hold onto the boat until help arrives.

What If the Boat Sinks?

If your boat sinks or gets away from you, the most important thing is not to panic.  You should tighten your life vest securely and wait for help. If you don’t have a life vest, it is important to look around and see what is floating on the water, such as oars, coolers, and boat seats. You and your passengers should hold onto whatever is floating on the water and stay together in a group.  If there is nothing at all to hold onto, you will have to tread water or float.  If the water is very cold, try floating instead of treading to prevent hypothermia.  All waterways are routinely patrolled so help should arrive soon.

The most important item for everyone to have on before entering the boat is a life jacket because getting back into a boat once it has flipped over is extremely difficult to do.  This is why there are so many people killed this way each year.  No one wants to be a tragic Memorial Day boating accident statistic.  If you or someone you love is injured in a serious boating accident because of the negligence of a boat owner, boat operator or defective boat part, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one.

At Barrett Law, PLLC our law firm’s roots representing those who suffer injury or wrongful death at the hands of others throughout Mississippi extend back 75 years.  We are committed to helping those who suffer personal injury in Lexington and throughout Mississippi obtain compensation for their injuries or loss of a loved one.

If you or a family member is injured in a boating accident, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers can help so call us today at (662) 834-2376.