Tennessee is a state known for its abundance of lakes and rivers, and boating is a longstanding favorite hobby of many Tennesseans. Unfortunately, boating accidents are an all-too-common occurrence that often results in property damage, serious injuries, and death. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (“TWRA”) 2016 Tennessee Boating Incident Statistical Report:

  • The total number of registered vessels in 2016 was 254,480;
  • There were 132 reportable incidents (meaning accidents involving death, disappearance, injury requiring medical attention, and significant property damage);
  • There were 22 recreational boating fatalities in 2016, which was a notable increase from prior years.
  • The monetary amount of damage from boating accidents was estimated at $1,252,545.00; and
  • “Recreational cruising” was the most common activity type when an accident occurred, with improper lookout and alcohol/drug use being the primary causes.
  • What to do when a boating accident occurs

    1. Assist the injured
    In Tennessee, boaters are required to stop their boat and assist injured persons unless it is unsafe to do so. If you are not able to safely secure all persons involved in the boating accident, summon emergency medical or rescue personnel immediately.Water, open water in particular, is extremely dangerous and boaters should make sure everyone involved in a boating accident is safe and secure. As soon as possible seek medical attention for yourself or any other injured persons – Health and safety are the number one priority, refusing treatment or medical assistance will only hurt your civil case.

    2. Contact the authorities
    The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (“TWRA”) is responsible for enforcing this state’s boating laws and must be contacted and notified when an accident occurs. If death or injury occurs, an accident report must be completed and filed within 48 hours. Where there is $2,000.00 or more in property damage, a report must be filed within ten (10) days. The accident report is prime evidence in a subsequent civil suit, so it needs to be as specific as possible.

    3. Document the accident
    In any civil suit details are of the utmost importance and are easily forgotten. As soon as is practical, begin collecting evidence of the accident and document what occurred. For example…

    • Write down your recollection how the accident occurred and what happened after. Include information such as the time and place the accident occurred, what the weather was like, how the accident happened, who was present, contact information for witnesses and persons involved, and any other details that you can think to include.
    • Take pictures of the accident scene, any damage to the boats and other property, and any injuries sustained in the accident. It is also important to try to photograph any dangerous conditions that existed on the boat at the time of the accident. Civil suits are won with evidence and visual evidence is often the most compelling proof that is offered.
    • Obtain damage / repair estimates for all property damage. Such estimates help to provide a clear and objective total to support a claim for damages later.

    If you or a family member were involved in a boating accident, get in touch with the experienced team of boating accident lawyers at Batson Nolan to discuss your case and begin working toward the compensation you deserve for the injuries, property damage, and expenses you suffered. As the oldest law office in the State of Tennessee, the litigators at Batson Nolan know exactly how to maximize your potential recovery through quality, aggressive litigation.

    Call us today.