Boating Accident Attorneys | Little Rock

Here in the Natural State we have many opportunities for on the water recreation. Whether you are on Lake Ouachita, Lake Millwood, Lake Norfolk, Lake Catherine, Lake Hamilton, Lake DeGray, or any of the many other lakes located from Hot Springs, Ashdown to Fayetteville, locals and tourists alike can enjoy everything from parasailing to yachting and all manners of water activities in between. Unfortunately, some do not respect their safety obligations and people can and do get hurt.

If you or a loved one are injured while on the water, our attorneys stand ready to take action to ensure compensation is fairly paid to those suffering from the carelessness of others. Such claims commonly involve:

  • Boating collisions
  • Jet ski collisions
  • Swimmers hit by careless boat drivers
  • Drunk boat drivers
  • Failure of onboard equipment
  • Fires

Collins, Collins & Ray offers a free consultation to address your questions and concerns following an injury on the water.

Most Common Types of Boating Accidents in Little Rock

  • Collision with recreational vessel
  • Collision with fixed object
  • Skier mishap
  • Jet Ski collision

Last year in Arkansas, there were 72 accidents producing 34 injuries and nine fatalities across the many recreational waters located here in the Natural State. Among the top five reported causes of recreational boating accidents are inattention, inexperience, excessive speed and alcohol use. A complete list of these and other causes confirms that many boating accidents are completely avoidable.

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Top 10 – What Causes Boating Accidents?

Just like when driving on the highway, Arkansas boat operators have a duty to act as a reasonably careful person would do under the circumstances. The failure to do so is deemed “negligence” in the same way as when driving a car or other vehicle. Again, just like on the roadways, boat and Jet Ski operators must avoid taking those actions that a reasonably careful person would foresee as creating an appreciable risk of harm to others. Therefore, boat drivers must refrain from negligence and operate boats in a careful manner or answer under the law to their injured victims.

The following careless boater actions often cause harm to innocent people trying to enjoy Arkansas’ recreational waterways:

  • Operator Inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use
  • Machinery failure
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Hazardous waters
  • Weather
  • Force of wave/wake

Drinking While Boating in Little Rock:

Alcohol use is one of the most preventable common causes of boating accidents. Under Arkansas law, a jury sworn to decide a case involving an intoxicated boat operator will be instructed that intoxication does not excuse a person from having to act as a reasonably careful sober person would act. Those choosing to drink alcohol while boating cannot avoid the responsibility to operate watercraft safely.

Second to excessive alcohol use, many of the other causes of accidents are equally preventable when boaters take time to learn how to safely use a boat and keep it well-maintained so that it can be reliably operated. It is just as easy to avoid excessive speed while following the “rules of the road” for boating. Those failing to heed these simple safety practices injure many people.

Many accidents are caused by the failure to appreciate the complexity of driving a boat or Jet Ski on the open water. Because most people take to the lake or rivers on days well-suited for outdoor recreation, they may become lulled into thinking that boating is no more dangerous than driving a vehicle. Perhaps that is true at times, but unlike cars, most boaters do not use seatbelts. Unfortunately, what this can mean to those injured in high speed boating accidents is that, rather than being restrained and safely caught by an airbag, a recreational boater may be launched from the collision and into the open water, suffering body trauma that prevents basic swimming and water treading techniques. Drowning is among the top causes of death on the water.

As for the causes of such accidents, many people fail to appreciate that boat drivers must maintain constant vigil to see people and other boats approaching from all sides. Failure to keep an eye out for other boaters is a leading cause of preventable boating accidents.

Inexperience is common factor. Many people only take out boats and water toys a few times a year. Consequently, they may fail to become as familiar with the “rules of the road” for boating on a busy lake or waterway. Due to infrequent use, boaters often lack sufficient skill and sometimes fail to master confusing boat controls. Not surprisingly, this inexperience can result in severe injury to the driver’s own passengers and other boaters on the waterway.

Finally, even more experienced boaters can find themselves in unstable waters. Unlike the usually stable road bed engineered and constructed with load bearing considerations in mind, boaters have to operate the boat in waterway that may change from moment to moment based upon the weather, other boaters, debris or water hazards floating on the surface or hidden under water. Even skilled operators can find themselves in less-than-desirable conditions when out on the water.

Although boating is one of the most enjoyable pastimes for people here in the Natural State, care should always be taken to ensure everyone goes home safely. When things do go wrong on the water, we can assist you in making sure those responsible for causing you harm are held responsible for losses  you and your family endure.