Tennessee offers many boating opportunities for residents and tourists alike. Whether operating the vessel or simply a passenger, following safety rules is a must. Negligent boaters put themselves and others at risk of devastating or deadly harm.
If you have been injured on a Tennessee waterway, a Murfreesboro boat accident lawyer could guide you through the civil litigation. A hardworking injury attorney could explain your legal options and help you seek legal recourse.
What are the Requirements for Boaters in Tennessee?
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is tasked with enforcing the state’s boating laws. Agents patrol waterways making sure boaters are complying with the law. The TWRA also publishes a boating guide to inform prospective boaters about how they can safely maneuver waterways.
For instance, like motorists, boaters cannot operate a vessel with an alcohol level of more than 0.08, or they will be arrested for BUI. Tennessee residents born after January 1, 1989 must complete the TWRA boating safety exam and carry their certification while on a watercraft. The use of personal floating devices and fire extinguishers are also essential safety tools. If a boater causes an accident, a Murfreesboro attorney could use violations of safety requirements as proof of negligence.
Common Boating Wrecks
Boating wrecks are often deadly because boats lack certain protections, such as seatbelts, meaning occupants can easily fall off the watercraft. Some of the most common water vessel accidents includes:
- Crashes in open water, usually at a higher speed than in narrow channels
- Collisions with a swimmer, personal watercraft, buoy, or channel marker
- Running aground or into a sandbar
- Water-skiing accidents caused by a reckless boater towing the person
- Capsizing after attempting to boat in poor weather conditions
- Engine fires or explosions on board
Unfortunately, accidents on the water pose greater risk of death since occupants can fall overboard. If they are severely injured or incapacitated, they run the risk of drowning.
Proving Negligence in Murfreesboro Boat Accidents
To prove negligence against a boat owner or operator, a local lawyer must show the boater owed the claimant a duty of care. This duty requires boaters operate the vessel safely, so no accidents occur. If a watercraft operator speeds through a crowded swimming area, the owner is breaching the duty to keep passengers and swimmers safe.
Once a duty is breached, the claimant must show that the boater’s actions caused the accident, and the plaintiff was as a direct result. For example, if a boat operator is speeding through a crowded area meant for swimming and strikes someone in the water, causing them to suffer a traumatic brain injury, their TBI is a direct result of the boater’s actions. If all the negligence elements are proven, the negligent defendant must compensate the injured party for the losses they suffered due to the accident.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
In addition to meeting the requirements to establish negligence, an injured claimant must file their suit before the legal deadline expires. Under Tennessee Code § 28-3-104, any case involving injury to a person must be filed within one year of the incident, or the courts can deny the case. However, if the defendant boater was cited for committing a criminal offense at the time of the wreck, the statute of limitations may be extended to two years.
Get in Touch with a Murfreesboro Boat Accident Attorney Today
While boating can be a relaxing and enjoyable pastime during the spring and summer months, it can be hazardous when boaters fail to act responsibly. If you are injured in a collision with a negligent watercraft operator, let one of our Murfreesboro boat accident lawyers advocate for you in court. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.