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When Can Boating Under the Influence Lead to Personal Injuries in Tennessee?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Campbell County BUI injury lawyer

The state of Tennessee has strict laws against boating under the influence (BUI). Just one offense can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to a year. Boating under the influence can also lead to consequences if one or more passengers are injured during a voyage. The driver of the boat is always responsible for the safety of the passengers and those around the boat. Since alcohol use slows a person’s reaction time, it can be difficult to stop an accident from happening, which is why someone should never operate a boat after consuming too much alcohol.

Common Injuries Resulting From BUI

Smaller boats are often overloaded, which can lead to the vessel capsizing--turning over--and dumping its passengers into the water. If someone enters the water while intoxicated, he or she is more likely to drown due to lack of mobility.

Passengers can also be at risk of falling overboard if an operator who is under the influence maneuvers the boat too wildly. Then, while someone is in the water, the driver could accidentally hit the person with the boat if he or she is not aware that someone fell overboard.

This type of scenario can lead to serious injuries including:

  • Head and spine injury

  • Bruises or lacerations

  • Broken bones

  • Death by drowning

In order to avoid injuries, drivers should always limit the amount of alcohol they drink or designate someone else to drive the boat, much like someone would stay sober to operate a car. Passengers should wear life vests in case someone accidentally falls overboard or the boat capsizes. This can keep them afloat even if they are too intoxicated to tread water.

Can a Drunk Boat Operator Be Sued for Personal Injury Compensation?

Tennessee boating regulations state that the owner of a vessel is responsible for any injury or property damage done by his or her boat. The state also has a “negligence” law that says any person who acts in a way that results in another person’s injury can be held liable for their actions--including injuries which occur because of alcohol impairment.

Tennessee's comparative negligence law may place percentages of blame upon a defendant or multiple defendants. The higher the percentage of blame, the more compensation a defendant will have to pay to the victim. If liability is split 50/50 between the injured person and the defendant, then neither party can collect damages.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN Personal Injury Attorney

Some people may think drinking and boating are a good combination, but a person should not operate a boat while they are intoxicated. Alcohol use impairs reaction time, which can lead to severe injuries on a watercraft. If you or someone you know have been hurt in a Tennessee boating accident involving an intoxicated driver, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. The knowledgeable legal team at the Law Office of William F. Evans will determine liability for your injuries and work to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a Campbell County BUI injury lawyer, call our office today at 423-449-7980.

 

Sources:

https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/twra/boating/regulations-and-safety-concerns.html#regulations

https://www.boat-ed.com/tennessee/studyGuide/Penalties-for-Operating-Under-the-Influence/10104401_700059518/

https://www.boat-ed.com/tennessee/studyGuide/Preventing-Capsizing-Swamping-or-Falling-Overboard/10104401_700059615/

http://www.tnble.org/sites/default/files/torts.pdf

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