Each and every year, tens of millions of Americans travel to Tennessee to experience our state’s mountains, rivers, and lakes. When the weather gets warm, visitors and locals alike often take to the water, whether to fish or enjoy a relaxing day on deck. While most people boat responsibly, some make poor decisions, endangering not only themselves but everyone around them.
Boating Accidents in Tennessee
People often forget that boating is a highly regulated activity. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency enforces the state Boating Safety Act. In spring and summer, agency officials routinely patrol popular waterways, citing unsafe boaters. Unfortunately, neither the Wildlife Resources Agency nor the auxiliary Coast Guard has the manpower to ensure that every stretch of water is safe at all times. Boating accidents often occur when:
- People boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol is among the leading causes of water-related deaths and accidents nationwide. However, Tennessee has strict statutes against driving under the influence, and these same statutes apply to boating. Watercraft operators who have a Blood Alcohol Content level exceeding 0.08% are presumed to be under the influence.
- Boaters do not adhere to posted warnings. Certain bodies of water may prohibit boaters from traveling too close to swimming areas or the shoreline.
- A vessel is operated in unsafe conditions. A boater could be held liable for negligence if they cause or contribute to an accident by overloading their vessel with cargo or passengers.
- A vessel is operated at unsafe speeds. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency advises boaters to maintain safe speeds and distances relative to other watercraft.
- A vessel is improperly maintained. Private and commercial watercraft operators may have a legal responsibility to ensure that their vessel is safe for other occupants. If someone neglects to perform routine or expected maintenance, they could be responsible for the costs of any ensuing maintenance-related injuries.
When people act carelessly by boating under the influence of alcohol or operating a watercraft at dangerous speeds, they could cause an accident resulting in serious injuries.
Common Tennessee Boat Accident Injuries
Just as boat accidents have a variety of potential causes, they can also inflict a variety of injuries, including but not limited to:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Bruises and contusions
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Accidental death
Legal Options for Relief After a Boat Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Tennessee boat accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. GriffithLaw could help you secure damages for:
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Lost income from work
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Tennessee does not currently cap the economic damages you could receive after a boating accident, which means you could receive as much compensation as you need to begin the difficult task of moving past a serious injury.
However, you have to act fast: Tennessee has a strict, one-year statute of limitations on all personal injury claims, including claims related to boating accidents. If you wait too long to take action, your case could be automatically dismissed by the court.
How a Franklin Boat Accident Attorney Could Help
Tennessee’s strict statute of limitations can pose a significant barrier to relief. You might be compelled to take legal action before you are physically or mentally prepared to begin investigating an accident or negotiating a fair settlement.
Fortunately, you do not have to seek relief by yourself. GriffithLaw’s experienced team of boat accident attorneys can fight for your rights, pursuing every available legal strategy to ensure you get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. We can:
- Handle communications with the insurance company or at-fault party
- Help you file or retrieve a police report
- Investigate the cause of your accident
- Subpoena relevant evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, GoPro recordings, or a watercraft rental company’s maintenance records
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Consult experts to assess your medical condition and long-term care needs
Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer at GriffithLaw
If you have been injured in a Tennessee boating accident, please send GriffithLaw a message online or call us at 615-807-7900 today.