Common Boating Accident Claims in Louisiana

September 5, 2018 Announcements and Law Updates

There are four main types of boating accident claims that can be brought against a watercraft operator involved in an accident or crash on Louisiana waterways. They are negligence, boating under the influence, reckless or careless operation, and Jones Act claims.


Negligence is a failure to take proper care of someone or something. A boat operator may be considered negligent if he or she engaged in the following conduct while operating the boat or yacht:

Hitting a big wave or wake at a high speed;

  • Navigating in bad weather;
  • Speeding;
  • Contact with propellers;
  • Failing to carry safety equipment;
  • Collisions with other boats;
  • Crashing into other objects (decks or walls); or
  • Overcrowding or overloading boat.

Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

It is illegal to operate a watercraft (boat, yacht, jet ski, etc.) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Louisiana. Like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a watercraft operator will be asked to submit to sobriety tests – breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. If the watercraft operator refuses to submit to sobriety tests, revocation of the operator’s boating and driving privileges will follow. The watercraft operator may be subject to fines, jail time and/or probation if they operate the watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Reckless and Careless Operation

Watercraft operators have a duty to operate their boats in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard for other boat traffic, posted restrictions, and the presence of other people or vessels in the water to ensure the safety of other boaters, guests, and property. Any behavior that places people in danger or damages property is actionable.

Jones Act or Longshore Claims

People who work on waterways, like oil rig personnel, casino boat crew, shipping crews, or cruise lines who get hurt on the job are able to receive workers’ compensation benefits under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a law that governs how workplace accidents on water will be handled.

Our Louisiana Boating Accident Lawyers may be Able to Help You

People injured following a boating accident may be able to recover compensation for personal injuries and/or property damage. In addition to a civil lawsuit, operators may be subject to criminal penalties and charges if they operated the watercraft recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Negligence is the most common claim when a boating accident lawsuit is filed.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation, including pain and suffering and medical care and treatment. Our boating accident lawyers at the Louisiana law firm of Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC represent victims of boating accidents. We also represent victims of auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, and nursing home or adult care facilities abuse. Call today to schedule an immediate appointment. We have offices in New Orleans 888-601-0127, Baton Rouge  225-612-0800, or Lafayette  337-409-0003. You can also request an appointment via email at [email protected] or book an online appointment here.