The Sacramento River is the principal river in Northern California as well as the largest river in California. It should come as no surprise then, that boating accidents, injuries, and even fatalities are common in these waters. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, most accidents occur in July and the most popular recorded accident was a collision with a vessel. Today, we take a deeper dive into the most common boating accidents in Sacramento and what happens if you need to file a personal liability claim.
Most Frequent Boating Accidents in Northern California
The California Department of Parks and Recreation compiled boating accident statistics to determine which ones were the most common. They are as follows (in order from most frequent to less frequent):
- Collision with vessel
- Collision with fixed object
- Falls overboard
- Skier mishap
- Person left or was ejected from the vehicle
- Fall in boat
- Struck by motor/propeller
- Struck by boat
- Hit by submerged object
- Collision with floating object
The most common causes of boating accidents included operator inattention, operator inexperience, and excessive speeding. In most cases, it is possible to avoid such accidents if all parties are paying attention and being cautious. However, negligence often happens, especially in cases where the driver is distracted (BUIs included), resulting in collisions and other accidents. In the event this has happened to you, you are entitled to financial compensation.
How to Report a Boating Accident
In California, a boat owner or operator must report an accident to the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) if the accident resulted in a fatality, disappearance, or injury to an individual, which required medical attention beyond basic first aid, damage to a boat or other property exceeding $500, or complete loss of a vessel, regardless of its value.
There is also a time frame to reporting such an accident. Reports must be submitted to the DBW within 48 hours if a:
- Fatality happened within 24 hours of the accident
- Disappearance of a person
- Injury that cannot be managed with basic first aid
Reports must be submitted to DBW within 10 days of an accident that involves the following:
- Fatality that happened after 24 hours of the accident
- Property damage exceeded $500 or there was a complete loss of vessel
Failure to submit an accident report is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both.
Personal Liability Claims for Boating Accidents in California
The circumstances of every claim and case will vary – especially since there are so many causes of boating accidents. The best way to determine whether you are eligible for compensation for your injuries and/or damages to your property is to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. Sometimes a boating accident claim can be settled outside of court by an insurance company. Typically, individuals obtain personal liability insurance which covers and protects them from claims related to bodily injuries and property damages. Your personal injury attorney will be able to protect your interests during negotiations with an insurance company and advise you throughout the process.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney at Our Firm
It is important to remember that some boating accidents also take place on commercial or fishing boats. The first step to figuring out how to navigate your case is to speak with a reputable attorney. We can help determine what kind of compensation you may be entitled to and how to best proceed. Boating accidents should be taken seriously as they result in millions of dollars of property damages and injuries every year. In an area like Sacramento, which has three popular rivers and plenty of surrounding lakes and other bodies of water, it is crucial to protect your rights in the event of an accident.