Many Californians enjoy boating, especially during the spring and summer. While boating season can mean fun memories and activities for some, it can mean being involved in a boating accident for others. If you are injured in a boating accident, you may file a personal injury claim to receive compensation if someone else’s actions caused or helped cause the accident.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
According to a report compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, in 2020, 5,265 recreational boating accidents resulted in 767 deaths and 3,191 injuries. The top contributing factors to boating accidents are:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Machine failure
- Navigation rules violation
- Boating under the influence (BUI)
- Weather conditions
- Hazardous waters
- Force of waves
Because of the aforementioned causes boat passengers (on commercial or recreational boats) may suffer injuries after:
- They slip and fall onboard.
- They fall overboard.
- The boat capsizes.
- The boat collides with another boat or object.
Common injuries after boating accidents include but are not limited to:
- Amputations (accidental)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Who Can I Sue After a Boating Accident?
You (and your attorney) will need to investigate the circumstances of the accident to establish liability. Depending on the circumstances of the boating accident, the negligent party could be the:
- Boating operator
- Another passenger
- Boat owner
- Boat manufacturer
- Another boat’s operator
- Jet ski riders
- Any party on or near the boat
In some cases, multiple parties can be named as the defendant if they all contributed to the negligent conditions or reckless actions that led to your injuries.
Can You File a Boating Accident Claim If the Victim Was Drunk?
Yes, you can file a claim if the injured party was also drunk. However, California is a comparative negligence state, which means that the victim can be assigned a percentage of the blame for the accident. When found to be partially at fault, the victim’s damages award will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
When Can You File a Boat Accident Claim?
You must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the accident or injury. If you fail to meet the deadline, you lose the right to sue the other party. If you plan to file a wrongful death suit, you also have two years (from the date of the deceased’s passing) to bring forth a suit. Because of the deadline, you must consult with an attorney as soon as possible The sooner you contact a reliable personal injury firm, the sooner they begin working on your case.
What Damages Are Available?
Boating accident victims can receive compensation for their:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Long-term care expenses
- Pain and suffering
If the boating accident resulted in the death of a loved one, their family can file a wrongful death suit (if someone’s negligent behavior led to the accident). In a wrongful death suit, the claimants can receive compensation for:
- The loss of love or companionship
- The loss of training and guidance
- The loss of financial support
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- The value of household services the decedent would have provided
Calculating the economic and non-economic damages you are owed can be challenging, which is why you should consult with a reliable attorney. They will have a better understanding of how to calculate your damages, and they will be able to negotiate and advocate on your behalf with the opposing counsel or insurance representative.
Fighting for the Compensation You Deserve
At Eliot Reiner, ALPC, our injury attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience, and we are equipped to help clients fight for their right to fair compensation. Known for being strong advocates for our clients, we have experience helping clients handle the legalities of boating accident claims, and we are here to help you:
- Establish liability
- Mitigate your liability
- Calculate your damages
- File a claim
- Understand your legal options
- Negotiate a fair settlement