The Tennessee river dissects Chattanooga, offering boating enthusiasts ample access to set sail for a day of fun, adventure and tranquility. Each year, thousands of locals and tourists alike flock to the river to enjoy its beauty and tranquility. Unfortunately, far too often, that tranquility is shattered in an instant by the carelessness of another boater. When day on the lake leads to an emergency room visit, you need a Chattanooga boat accident attorney who will fight for your rights and help you hold the negligent accountable.

Causes of Boating Accidents

The primary cause of a boating accident is a simple distraction. In the same way that distracted drivers imperil others on the road, distracted boat drivers threaten the safety of others on the water. In fact, the river arguably has more distractions, as the operator has a responsibility for keeping an eye on anyone on the boat, as well as other watercraft. Accidents also can occur if a boat operator has been drinking, is speeding or is navigating in an unauthorized area.

Not Following the Rules

Most state parks in Tennessee – including Harrison Bay State Park, South Cumberland State Park and Falls Creek State Park – have laws in place that protect visitors, especially when it comes to the water. Some prohibit certain types of boats, including those in excess of a certain weight, or those with a larger engine. Other rules and laws relate to where boaters may operate. Many have highly visible markers that separate boats from swimmers. Some also mark off different areas for row boats and boats with engines.

Related Injuries

If you’re like most experienced boaters, you probably feel safe and confident while on the water. You may not realize that more than more than 4,000 boat accidents annually injure more than 2,600 people. In fact, boating accidents nationwide caused more than $40 million in property damage in 2015 alone. Most accidents involved powerboats, but numerous crashes involving smaller watercraft as well as canoes and kayaks also were reported.


The mistakes that another person makes on the water can lead to the death of someone close to you. While nothing can bring your loved one back, a wrongful death claim can help ensure that the responsible party or parties are held accountable. In Tennessee, spouses, parents or children of the deceased may file such action. Siblings can file a wrongful death suit if the deceased had no living children, spouse or kin. A wrongful death also can occur if the owner of a rental boat did not provide safety gear like life vests, or if it is determined that routine maintenance could have prevented the accident.

Do Not Hesitate to File

If you’ve suffered minor injuries in a boating accident in Chattanooga, you might put off or decide against filing a civil suit. Don’t make this mistake. Some related injuries can materialize at a later date, and because Tennessee law states that action must be filed within a year, you could miss out completely on the compensation you deserve.

After a boating accident, you have enough to deal with. Aside from the pain, medical bills are mounting quickly, and you have to figure out a way to pay your expenses now that you’re unable to work. Let the Chattanooga boating accident attorneys at Ramer & Hedrick, P.C. fight to recover compensation while you focus on getting your life back.