Gatlinburg Boat Accident Lawyer
Many boaters assume that watercraft are a lot like motor vehicles. The false assumption is natural. After all, they both look like under the hood and they both have basically the same controls. But these boaters fail to account for some significant differences. For example, cars have tires that grip the road and brakes to stop them. Boats float on the surface of the water. They can neither turn sharply nor stop on a dime. As a result, many boaters get so caught up in operational details that they cannot keep an eye on their passengers.
The experienced Gatlinburg boat accident lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law routinely handle matters in Sevier County and nearby jurisdictions. We are familiar with all the rules of evidence and procedure in these courts. This familiarity includes unwritten and informal rules. So, our bicycle doesn’t have training wheels. Instead of moving tentatively down the street, we confidently work to achieve the best possible result under the circumstances.
Inexperience and/or impairment causes many of the boat collisions in Tennessee. These collisions are especially common on holidays like Memorial Day and July Fourth, when boat traffic is at its heaviest.
It’s almost ridiculously easy to get a boating license in Tennessee. Anyone over 12 can take a boating safety test. Since this test is available online, many people who pass this “boating test” have never been on a boat. These individuals are usually qualified to pilot small fishing boats to isolated fishing spots. But they are hardly qualified to operate powerful recreational watercraft.
Additionally, for many people, boating and alcohol consumption go hand in hand. Alcohol impairment normally begins with the first drink. So, one for the road is always one too many. These impairing effects include slow motor skills and an artificial sense of euphoria. Since boats are so difficult to operate, as mentioned above, boaters need to be at their best, especially if they don’t have much experience.
Incidentally, if the tortfeasor (negligent operator) rented a boat and caused a collision, the boat owner might be financially responsible for damages, under the negligent entrustment rule. Generally, owners are vicariously liable for injuries if they knowingly allow incompetent operators to use their motor vehicles. These cases are complex in Tennessee, because of the federal Graves Amendment.
Falls and Drownings
A slick, pitching deck is a very hazardous walking surface, to say the least. Therefore, falls and “man overboard” drownings are even more common than boat collisions.
Another difference between boats and cars is that it’s almost impossible to fall out of a moving car. But, it’s very common to fall out of a moving boat. Most boats are open. In addition, boats normally don’t have seat belts or other restraint systems. Common fall injuries include broken bones and head injuries. These wounds are normally permanent, at least to an extent.
Sometimes, these victims fall and hit their heads or other parts of their bodies. Other times, they fall into the water. Several minutes might tick away before anyone realizes the victim has gone overboard. Life jackets prevent some, but not all, drownings.
Contact a Hard-Hitting Sevier County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced boat accident lawyer in Gatlinburg, contact Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law by going online or calling 865-500-HURT. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.