Dallas Boating Accident Lawyer

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As a Dallas boating accident lawyer, one must frequently deal with tragic situations that arise from what should have been nothing more than innocent fun and relaxation.

There’s nothing better than spending a sweltering summer day on the water. Unfortunately, serious accidents can occur when people fail to take proper safety precautions.

If you’ve suffered a boating accident injury in Dallas and you think someone else was at fault for the incident, you can sue this person or entity to recover compensation for the costs related to your accident. A Dallas boating accident lawyer from Crain Brogdon, LLP will work with you to gather evidence and build the strongest possible case in your favor.


Crain Brogdon, LLP is a firm of award-winning attorneys. We have won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards on behalf of our clients since our firm’s founding in 2001, helping accident victims and their families put their lives back together after tragedies.

Attorney Quentin Brogdon has more than 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer and is board certified in both personal injury trial law and civil trial advocacy. He has served as president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, president of the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and president of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, among other such positions. He has been named among the Top 100 Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly magazine and was chosen as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine.

There are few firms in Dallas with our combined skill and experience. We have achieved outstanding case results, and we provide top-notch client service. We understand that boating accidents can have life-altering consequences. Our legal team is compassionate, professional, and willing to go the extra mile to get the justice you deserve.

To build as strong a case as possible on your behalf, our attorneys will conduct crash-site investigations, review police reports, interview eyewitnesses, and hire consultants to provide expert testimony. We’ll leave no stone unturned when fighting for your rights.


To win a boat accident lawsuit, your attorney must prove that the defendant was negligent and showed disregard for other people’s safety. To establish negligence in a personal injury case, you must prove the existence of four essential elements:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Damages.


In order for a plaintiff to succeed in a personal injury case, they must be able to show that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Texas law states that boat owners and drivers owe passengers and other people on the water such a duty. This means they must operate their boats in a safe and reasonable manner. Individuals or entities in charge of the manufacture and maintenance of boats also owe a duty of care to people using the vessels they work on.


Your Dallas boating accident lawyer must show that the defendant breached their duty of care by taking, or failing to take, actions that a reasonably prudent person would have taken under similar circumstances. The “reasonable person” standard is central to negligence cases and is used to determine the degree of fault of the boat owner or driver regarding the safety of others.


Your attorney must show that the defendant’s carelessness caused your injuries. It’s not enough to establish that the boat driver was reckless or foolish – you must also show that your injuries were a direct result of that person’s behavior, or you won’t be entitled to compensation from them.


Finally, your Dallas boating accident lawyer must show that you suffered real damages (medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, etc.) because of your accident, and that monetary payment will be an effective form of compensation.


Texas uses a modified comparative negligence formula (also known as “proportionate responsibility”) to calculate damages. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for causing an accident, your entitlement to compensation can be reduced in proportion with your degree of fault.

Say, for example, you were 15% responsible for an accident and the defendant in your case was 85% responsible. If the total monetary value of your damages was $300,000, then the amount you receive would be reduced by 15% (so you would be entitled to $255,000).

This rule applies as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for an accident. If your level of fault is higher than this, you won’t be entitled to any damages.


Boating accidents are often related to various forms of human error, including:

  • Boating while intoxicated
  • Distracted driving.
  • Speeding
  • Reckless maneuvers
  • Leaving clutter, dangerous chemicals, or other potential hazards on the boat
  • Causing a fire on the boat
  • Failing to properly maintain the boat.

These actions all represent negligence on the part of the boat operator or owner. These forms of negligence can have fatal results.

A boating accident can also occur because of defective boat parts. This type of accident may involve negligence on the part of a boat manufacturer or the repair company.


In Texas, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is taken as seriously as driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Under Texas law, a person is automatically considered to be too drunk to operate a boat if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. A court may also deem them to be in contravention of the law if they drive a boat while lacking their normal mental or physical faculties due to alcohol or other drugs. If a person is found operating a boat under these conditions, they may be arrested and charged with a BWI, which carries similar penalties to a DWI.

While criminal penalties will have no direct bearing on a civil case you file against an intoxicated boat operator, evidence of their intoxication will play in your favor in a lawsuit. Under the legal doctrine of negligence per se, you may have an easier time establishing liability on the part of the defendant in your case if they have broken the law addressing boating while intoxicated.

Additionally, courts are more likely to award punitive damages in cases involving intoxication on the boat operator’s part. This strengthens the position of your legal team in pre-trial settlement negotiations.


How easy is it to reach your Dallas boating accident lawyers?

At Crain Brogdon, LLP, we give clients our cell phone numbers and encourage them to call whenever they have questions or need guidance. We take care of every client we work with, and that aspect of the job includes making ourselves available to you at all times.

Does drinking alcohol or taking drugs increase the likelihood of having a boating accident?

Alcohol is statistically the leading contributing factor to boating accidents and fatalities. Operating a boat while impaired due to taking drugs is also a risk factor for accidents.

What is the leading cause of death in boating accidents?

Drowning accounts for 75% of all fatalities in boat accidents. Other factors (such as head trauma or a slip and fall) may increase the risk of drowning.

Will I have to go to court?

No, you won’t necessarily have to go to court to recover compensation from a boating accident lawsuit. In fact, we settle most of our cases before going to court, as it means you don’t have to wait as long to get paid and get your life back on track. However, if we can’t negotiate a reasonable settlement with the opposing legal team, we won’t hesitate to fight your case in the courtroom.

What happens if I have an accident on a rental boat?

If you have an accident on a rental boat, the contents of the rental agreement you signed will be crucially important. These contracts detail the responsibilities of both the renter and the rental company in relation to accident risks. Generally, if a structural defect or maintenance issue was the cause of your accident, the rental company will be liable to compensate you, as these companies are usually responsible for ensuring that their boats are seaworthy and properly maintained.


An accident victim ejected from a car during a crash may suffer broken bones and other severe injuries, but they’re not at risk of drowning. When an accident victim is thrown from a boat and loses consciousness under water, they have mere minutes until they suffer a traumatic brain injury or lose their life. Boating accidents also cause injuries other than those related to water, including:

  • Neck and spine injuries
  • Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds
  • Internal bleeding
  • Burns
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Paralysis.


Financial losses, known as economic damages, include medical expenses, lost income, and other losses that are easily quantifiable in monetary terms. You may also be entitled to compensation for intangible losses, through what are known as noneconomic damages. This may include payments to compensate you for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Every case is different, and the amount of compensation you’ll receive will depend on several factors. These include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The cost of your medical care now and in the future
  • The amount of time you’ll need to spend out of work
  • The number of defendants
  • The extent of property damage you suffered
  • Whether punitive damages are awarded. Judges impose punitive damages in particularly egregious cases to punish defendants for their disregard for the safety of others, as well as to send a warning to others who might behave similarly.

Our firm has won more than $355 million for clients. Recognized by our peers as leaders in the legal field, we are routinely asked to provide media analysis on legal issues across the country.


According to data from the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 636 boating-related deaths nationwide in 2022. This marked a 3.3% decrease from 2021.

Alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2022, accounting for 88 deaths — 16% of total fatalities. Property damage totaled roughly $63 million. Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure were also major contributing factors in fatal accidents.

Of the cases in which the authorities were able to deduce the cause of death, 75% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. In the cases in which the Coast Guard was able to say whether victims were wearing life jackets, 86% were not.

The most common vessel types involved in boating accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats.


The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years, per the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003). The clock begins running on the date of the boating accident or from the date you were diagnosed with injuries caused by the accident. If you miss this deadline, you will generally lose your right to pursue a lawsuit and recover compensation; that’s why it’s vital to consult with a Dallas boating accident attorney as soon as possible after an incident on the water.


We understand that it’s difficult to recover from injuries and face a monolithic legal system at the same time. That’s why we take a rounded approach as your legal representatives, looking out for your physical and emotional well-being as well as building your case.

Our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience and will do everything we can to keep you informed as we seek compensation on your behalf. We are always on hand to take your calls and answer your questions, so you don’t ever have to feel alone.

If you’re ready to discuss your case with a Dallas personal injury lawyer at Crain Brogdon, LLP, fill out the contact form below or call 214-522-9404 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.


Attorney Quentin Brogdon

Quentin Brogdon has over thirty years of experience and expertise in the field of personal injury trial law. He is board certified in both personal injury trial law and civil trial advocacy. Quentin has received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating. This rating reflects an attorney’s ethics and abilities according to reviews from fellow attorneys. [ Attorney Bio ]

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