Tennessee provides several picturesque boating opportunities throughout the state. The state’s numerous lakes, rivers, and temperate weather make boating a popular leisure activity for residents and visitors. In addition to leisure boating, over 50 million tons of products are transported on the state’s waterways every year. Naturally, the crowded waterways lead to more Tennessee boating and watercraft accidents.
While Tennessee law imputes liability on vessel owners for damages that their vessel causes, regardless of whether the owner is present, an exception exists when the vessel is used without the owner’s permission or consent. Moreover, the law requires vessels within 300 feet of commercial boat docks to reduce their speed, even when an area is unmarked. Although these laws are essential to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries, the most critical laws involve boating under the influence.
Despite the widespread knowledge of the dangers of boating or driving under the influence, people continue to engage in this harmful behavior. Tennessee prohibits individuals from operating a powered or sailing vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those who fail to abide by these crucial laws may cause significant injuries and property damages. Further, boating under the influence can result in civil and criminal penalties. In addition to collisions, boating injuries may stem from onboard carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical accidents, and equipment defects.
Local news sources recently reported that as of mid-September, there had been 18 Tennessee boating-related fatalities in 2021. While the state experienced a record number of deaths in 2020, the number of boating-related deaths is alarming. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) explained that last year’s fatalities were likely higher because more people were on the water during the lockdown. Unlike last year when TWRA enforcement officers were only approaching those engaging in blatant violations, the agency is making its presence more known this year. To date, there have been over 90 boating under the influence arrests in the state. In addition to fatalities, TWRA reports that many individuals suffer serious injuries.
After a Tennessee boating accident, the victim and their family may pursue a claim against any at-fault negligent party or entity. In most cases, liability typically lies with the entity which owned the boat, unless the victim’s actions caused their injuries. In other cases, liability may rest with a negligent product manufacturer or boat tour operator.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Boating Accident in Tennessee?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Tennessee boating accident, contact the Hartsoe Law Firm. Our firm handles claims stemming from Tennessee auto, truck, and motorcycle accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, nursing home abuse and negligence, and product liability. Attorney Hartsoe provides each client and claim with individualized attention to address the client’s specific needs and concerns. He has recovered significant amounts of compensation for Tennessee injury victims. Contact the law firm at 865-524-5657 to schedule a free initial consultation with Attorney Mark Hartsoe. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for any of our legal services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf.