California ranks second in the nation for boating accidents according to the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Coast Guard. San Diego Bay accounts for a great deal of them, as well as our scattered inland lakes here in Southern California. Even more when we account for the Colorado RIver along California’s border with Arizona.
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident and suffered injuries, know that you may be able to seek compensation from the person responsible. Don’t hesitate to take action and get the help you deserve. Call the seasoned boating accident lawyers of Zucker Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, APC at (951) 699-2100.
Primary Factors Contributing to Boating Accidents
Numerous factors contribute to boating accidents, regardless of the vessel type, whether it be a ferry, cruise ship, chartered boat, jet ski, or private yacht. Insufficient experience and education regarding navigation and vessel operation can often compromise the safety of boaters on the water. The majority of boating accidents can be avoided through careful planning and precautionary measures, which can mitigate the risk of injuries to individuals. Negligence on the part of others may also be a contributing factor that warrants a claim for damages.
The following factors are significant contributors to boating accidents:
- Driver inexperience
- Driver error or distraction
- Operating a vessel while under the influence
- Unfavorable weather and water conditions
- Equipment malfunction
- Neglecting navigational regulations
- Inadequate lookout or vantage point
Common Injuries Incurred During Boating Accidents
Boating accidents often lead to injuries resulting from collisions with either another vessel, fixed objects, or floating debris. However, instances of capsizing, boat passengers falling overboard, flooding or swamping of the boat, or fire on board have also caused severe injuries when boating.
Common types of harm resulting from boating accidents include:
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Mangling injury
- Fractured bones
Essential Laws Governing Boating in California
Regarding boating accidents, it is important to consider both state and federal laws that could potentially apply. If you are pursuing a claim based on negligence, as is typical in most cases, it will be necessary to demonstrate that the defendant failed to adhere to the standard of care, resulting in your injury. Additionally, if the boat operator violated a boating law, this could constitute a breach of their duty of care towards you, making it essential to establish this violation to seek damages.
It is worth noting that in California, boaters are obligated to avoid engaging in any reckless or negligent behavior that could result in harm to individuals or property damage. Furthermore, certain areas, such as sections of water designated for swimming and diving, are off-limits for boating, and operating a vessel in such a way as to necessitate sudden maneuvers or a significant drop in speed to prevent a collision is strictly prohibited.
The operation of a vessel at an improper speed in disregard of the speed limit or adverse weather, visibility, or traffic is prohibited. Passengers are also prohibited from occupying gunwales, the bow, or any position that enhances the risk of falling overboard.
Furthermore, California law dictates that vessel operation should not pose any danger to the occupants or others on the water. A vessel with unsafe conditions like leaking fuel, inadequate ventilation, defective navigation lights, or lack of life jackets is considered hazardous.
The jurisdiction of boating accidents may also extend to federal laws, such as the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, which mandates certain equipment such as flame arresters, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, gas ventilation units, sound-producing devices, and personal flotation devices approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Seeking Damages for Boating Accidents
Boating accidents are known to result in severe injuries or fatalities. In the event of sustaining injuries from a boating accident, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to address the associated expenses and losses, such as:
- medical costs
- loss of earnings
- pain and suffering
In cases where the aftermath of the accident leads to long-term damage, you may also be able to claim damages for:
- loss of earning capability
- long-term medical treatment
- damages for disfigurement
Moreover, boating in open waters is inherently risky and may result in fatal drowning accidents. Should a boating accident result in the tragic loss of life, the surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to cover financial aid and funeral costs.
Determining negligence and identifying faults in boating accidents follow comparable processes to that of motor vehicle accidents.
While the circumstances surrounding each claim and case may vary, seeking the guidance of a seasoned personal injury and boating accident lawyer is the optimal approach to determining eligibility for compensation for any injuries sustained and any resulting lost wages.
It is worth noting that some boating accident claims can be resolved by insurance companies without requiring a legal battle. With years of experience, a personal injury lawyer can effectively advocate on your behalf during negotiations with the relevant insurance provider.
Should the case proceed to mediation or court, having an adept boating accident attorney by your side is crucial. Such a professional can ensure that you are properly informed of your rights and vigorously fight to secure the financial compensation that you are owed.
An Experienced Boat Accident Lawyer Can Help
No matter the nature of your boat accident, an experienced legal professional can be a valuable resource in navigating the investigation process and securing the maximum damages possible. An understanding of inland water laws and their differences from coastal and estuarine maritime laws is crucial, and seeking assistance promptly can help safeguard your interests
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Temecula
If you or a loved one have been injured in a boat collision, capsizing, sinking, or in a water-based recreational activity, please don’t hesitate to contact Zucker Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, APC at (951) 699-2100 for a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Temecula.