It's not surprising that the risk of boating accidents increases at night on Texas lakes. Inexperienced boat operators, reckless behavior, and other factors can lead to disaster, especially in the dark. If you have suffered losses from another person's actions, you may have the right to financial compensation. Work with our boat accident attorney to learn more about the steps you can take to minimize your risks.
Statistics on Recreational Boat Accidents at Night
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard, there were over 1100 nighttime recreational boat accidents reported across the U.S. in 2020, resulting in 203 deaths and 858 injuries. The timing of these accidents was as follows:
- 650 accidents resulting in 94 deaths and 452 injuries occurred between 6:31 and 8:30 p.m.
- 298 accidents resulting in 56 deaths and 221 injuries occurred between 8:31 and 10:30 p.m.
- 89 accidents resulting in 19 deaths and 115 injuries occurred between 10:31 and 11:59 p.m.
- 103 accidents resulting in 34 deaths and 70 injuries occurred between 12:00 and 2:30 a.m.
These accidents occurred across all areas of the U.S., including some on Texas lakes. In total, including both daytime and nighttime events, 281 accidents occurred on Texas waterways, leading to 55 fatalities.
What Are the Risks of Boating at Night?
Why does nighttime increase the risk of accidents on lakes? There are numerous notable reasons why this may occur, including:
- Alcohol and drug consumption. Some people may be more likely to spend the evening using substances that make it harder for them to control a boat. Intoxication can be a significant cause of accidents in general, but when visibility drops, the risk increases.
- Inexperienced operators. The lack of proper visibility coupled with inexperience may lead to an increase in boating accidents. Operating a boat at night takes experience to minimize the risk of striking others, hitting a dock, or causing passenger injuries. Distraction may worsen these risks.
- Visibility. In many cases, the simple lack of visibility, especially if there are storms or fog rolling in, can increase the risk of accidents occurring. Even well-trained operators can find themselves struggling in poor visibility conditions.
Texas law requires all motorboats, kayaks, canoes, paddle craft, rowboats, rubber rafts, and other vessels to have at least one light on during the nighttime hours or have a flashlight on that is visible all around the horizon. This is a rule that's in place from sunset to sunrise in all weather conditions and during restricted visibility events. Texas boater laws aim to reduce risks to all on the water.
Potential Accidents and Injuries
Any type of accident that occurs during daylight hours can happen at night as well. Yet, the risks are enhanced because of a lack of visibility. Some types of accidents include boats hitting each other, striking a dock, and capsizing. Typical types of injuries may include:
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Whiplash-type injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Spinal damage
If you've been hurt in any way because of a boating accident occurring at night, seek out an attorney immediately. Even if you're unsure if you have a case, it's critical to take action now to find out if you may have a case.
What to Do After a Nighttime Boat Accident
After a boating accident occurs, seek out immediate medical attention even if you only have minor injuries. It's always important to take the necessary steps to document what's occurred but do so only if it is safe. That may include taking photos of what's happened, gathering statements from all people involved, and getting the contact information from everyone, including witnesses.
Once you've done that, report your accident to the proper authorities and then contact your boat accident injury attorney. This helps ensure you get legal support as soon as possible following an accident like this.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Get a Potential Recovery
Working with a legal team can help minimize the risk of losing your right to compensation. A boating accident is a complex case, one in which you may have to prove you've suffered damage due to another person's neglect. Working with a lawyer helps ensure you have all of the information you need to pursue legal action.
The Button Law Firm has the experience you need to work through this process. Allow our team to guide you, offer insight, and help you prove your case. Contact our legal team today to learn more about how we can help you.