Nashville Boating Accident Lawyers
One reason Nashville is such a desirable place to live is the abundance of surrounding natural beauty. Locals and tourists alike can access any of our nearby lakes or rivers to escape the relentless summer heat and spend a leisurely day with friends and family. Sadly, these perfect moments can be upended in the event of a tragic boating accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident because of someone else’s reckless actions, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Our Nashville personal injury lawyers can help.
Boats can be incredibly dangerous when boaters ignore safety measures and willingly put innocent lives at risk. For swimmers, kayakers, jet-skiers, or boat passengers injured in an accident, the consequences can be life-altering and even fatal. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported that, so far, 24 people have been killed in boating accidents across the state in 2020, a 200 percent increase compared to the previous year.
At Bill Easterly & Associates, we have experience handling these types of cases and understand how the law applies to negligent boaters. To learn more about how we can help you take legal action and pursue financial compensation, call a Nashville boating accident lawyer today at (615) 244-2222.
Why You Need a Boating Accident Lawyer
Boating laws exist to keep the water safe and to offer protections for injured victims. However, holding negligent boaters responsible can be difficult without a specialized boating accident attorney’s help and experience. Boating accident injuries can be incredibly serious, resulting in long-term disability. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident while also trying to navigate the nuances of filing a personal injury lawsuit can be overwhelming. A boating accident attorney can handle every step of your case while you focus on your health and recovery.
The attorneys at Bill Easterly & Associates will put their skills and experience to work right away and won’t let up until they win. After an initial consultation, your attorney will determine all laws, statutes, and jurisdictions relevant to your case. From there, they will get access to the accident report, medical records, and anything else to help them determine the cause of the accident and who was at fault. An attorney will also make sure you meet all of the deadlines for your case, so you don’t miss your chance at recovering compensation.
It’s common for large insurance providers to contact victims and try to trick them into saying something that will damage their chances of receiving compensation. A boating accident lawyer knows these tactics, and more importantly, knows how to handle insurance companies who want nothing more than to deny or undervalue your claim. The Nashville boating accident lawyers will handle all communication and negotiations with insurance companies to help get you the compensation you deserve.
Why Hire Bill Easterly & Associates?
Finding the right law firm to represent you is a major decision and one that can have a serious impact on the outcome of your boating accident case. At Bill Easterly & Associates, we have over 25 years of combined personal injury litigation experience and have handled thousands of injury cases that resulted in millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We have put in the time and effort to earn the respect of our clients and our colleagues in the legal community.
When you hire a Nashville boating accident attorney, you don’t become just another name on our client list. You will be a top priority, and we will leverage all of our experience and resources to create a strong and compelling case, no matter how much financial compensation we expect to win. After taking the time to get to know you and your legal goals, our attorneys will formulate the best legal strategy that we know will deliver results.
Bill Easterly & Associates values its reputation as a law firm that treats its clients with individualized care and compassion. Above all else, we value your future and will not relent until we recover every dollar you deserve.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
In the same way that we expect drivers to act responsibly behind the wheel to avoid an accident, we expect boaters to operate their vessels on the water safely. This means knowing and obeying the law. Unfortunately, boaters across Nashville and the state of Tennessee choose to participate in careless behavior, such as speeding or boating under the influence, endangering innocent lives.
While there are instances where a boating accident is truly an accident, many could have been avoided had the driver or some other party acted responsibly. You may have a case if you were injured in an accident caused by any of the following:
- Boating while intoxicated
- Reckless boating
- Inexperienced driver
- Operator inattention
- Overloaded watercraft
- Improper lookout
In addition to driver negligence, boat accidents can happen due to defective equipment, insufficiently lit boats or docks, a lack of warning signs, and debris in the water. All of these factors can cause serious and expensive property damage to your watercraft. In more severe accidents, the results can be devastating and harmful to human life, including drowning, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and even death.
Boating Regulations in Tennessee
Even though the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency patrols lakes across the Nashville area, enforcing the law, issuing citations, and making arrests, they don’t always catch every negligent boater before tragedy strikes. One leading cause of boat accidents is boating under the influence of alcohol. Just like with a DUI on any road across Nashville, individuals cannot legally drive a boat with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or above. If a boater is found to be intoxicated at the time of your accident, they will face criminal charges along with a civil lawsuit suing for damages.
Another common action that can lead to a tragic accident on the water is reckless boating. Under Tennessee boating laws, individuals found guilty of reckless boating could face serious fines and up to six months in jail with additional jail time and fines in the event of injuries. Some of the most common reckless boating acts include the following:
- Excessive speeding in crowded areas
- Boating in areas designated for swimming
- Excessive speeding when visibility is limited (such as in bad weather)
- Having too many passengers
- More passengers than life jackets
In any of the above scenarios, a judge can hold the owner of the watercraft liable for damages and injuries, even if they were not on the boat or present at the time of the accident. In these cases—unless the watercraft was stolen or used without the owner’s consent—we could take legal action against both the boat operator and owner.
How Long Do I Have to File My Case?
Although the consequences of a boating accident can impact you for the rest of your life, you only have a small amount of time to take legal action and pursue financial compensation. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations, and it varies based on the particular case and between states.
Unlike other states, Tennessee’s statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is one year. This means you only have one year from the accident date to file your personal injury lawsuit in court. You will most likely try to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company fails to offer you a fair settlement within one year, you can take your case to court. If you miss that one-year deadline, the court will most likely dismiss your case.
There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations’ one-year time limit:
- Discovery rule – In some cases, injuries may not be apparent in the moments immediately following an accident. If this is the case, the statute of limitations will begin when the victim discovers their injuries.
- Wrongful death – If a victim dies from their injuries following a boat accident, the deceased’s surviving spouse, surviving children, or next of kin can take legal action on their behalf. Surviving family members have one year from the decedent’s death to file a claim (as opposed to one year from the date of the accident).
To make sure you don’t take legal action too late and miss your chance at financial compensation, contact a Tennessee boating accident attorney as soon as possible following your injuries.
Contact Bill Easterly & Associates Today
At Bill Easterly & Associates, we understand how devastating boating accidents are to victims and their families. Our team of attorneys has decades of experience handling these types of cases and knows what it takes to build a strong and successful case to give you the best chance at recovering compensation.
Unfortunately, boating accident injuries are rarely minor, and many require expensive surgeries, extensive medical treatment, and lifelong rehabilitation. It’s time to hold this negligent boater or boat owner responsible. To learn more about how the Nashville boating accident attorneys can help you through this dark period, contact us today at (615) 244-2222 and schedule a free consultation.