In a state as beautiful as California with its many lakes, islands, and shores, boating accidents inevitably occur. Most commonly, boating accidents involve personal watercraft. Occasionally, accidents take place on a commercial vessel such as a ferry boat or a cruise ship.
Wilshire Law Firm is the best boat accident law firm in Los Angeles for anyone who wants aggressive and knowledgeable attorneys representing them in their case. We have a team of experienced boating accident lawyers who have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for injury victims.
A Los Angeles boating accident lawyer from our law office can deal with the insurance companies and insurance adjusters on your behalf so that you can focus on healing. Meanwhile, your personal injury lawyer will work relentlessly to seek out maximum compensation for your maritime accident case.
Our attorneys have negotiated high settlements with insurance companies, often reaching insurance policy limits. The boat accident lawyers from Wilshire Law Firm will fight hard for your rights and help you get the best possible results. We will be there with you every step of the way, providing the attention and care that your personal injury case deserves.
What Are the Main Causes of Boating Accidents?
Here are the top 10 most common causes for boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard:
- Operator inattention – It’s important for the boater to stay vigilant and constantly monitor their boat position and speed. However, even the most weathered captain has lapses in judgment. Complicating factors that can increase the likelihood of a boat accident include unsafe or unpredictable weather patterns, as well as unseen objects in the water (such as icebergs or drifting debris. It’s essential for all boaters to stay as alert as possible to avoid these hazards.
- Improper lookout – Many large vessels, sailboats, and yachts utilize cameras up the mast for the task of maintaining visibility into the boat’s surroundings. These cameras must be consistently tended to and monitored to avoid a boating collision or grounding.
- Inexperienced recreational boaters –Anyone who operates a boat should have the proper training. An accident can occur when an individual who is inexperienced in boating does not abide by the appropriate protocols.
- Excessive speed – Some of the worst boating accidents occur at excessive speeds. Like a car, speed is an important detail to factor into safe boating, especially when it comes to avoiding collisions with other vessels or grounding.
- Impaired operation – Drinking while boating is quite common. However, similar to driving a car, you should always have a designated captain or boat driver. Alcohol or drug use on boats is one of the biggest causes of boating accident fatalities. In fact, in the state of California, you are considered legally drunk boating if you’re BAC is .08% or higher. (Boating Under the Influence)
- Equipment failure – Avoid equipment failure by performing regular maintenance checks. This helps ensure optimal safety operation. Many sailors say this is where the real boating happens – when you’re still at the docks. When your checklist isn’t complete while you’re out to sea, disaster can strike. Make sure to follow your checklist carefully so you can make it safely back to the docks after each sailing adventure.
- Violating navigation rules – You may have heard the phrase, “There are no laws in international waters.” Well, there are many maritime rules in most waters. If boat enthusiasts and sailors do not follow these rules, they may end up in a boat accident that causes catastrophic injury.
- Dangerous waters – Most experienced captains can predict water conditions at all hours of the day using state-of-the-art instruments and their keen senses of nature. However, water conditions can change within minutes, and no captain is perfect. You can’t always avoid dangerous waters, but you can always take proper safety precautions to prepare for the worst.
- Weather – Weather patterns have become much more predictable, thanks to modern-day boating instruments and technology. However, many accidents happen due in large part to overzealous boaters neglecting weather forecasts.
- Forceful waves or wake – Large waves and wakes from other vessels are hazardous, especially if they arrive unexpectedly. Open-ocean commercial fishing boats deal with large waves often, and smaller boats must always be mindful of barges and other large ship wakes.
What types of Boating Accidents Must Be Reported?
It may surprise you to learn that not all boating accidents must be reported. According to U.S. federal regulations, a boat operator must report a boating accident in the following instances:
- Following an individual’s death
- Following an individual’s injury that requires medical treatment beyond first aid
- Damage to the boat or watercraft that exceeds $2,000
The boat operator should report any of the following as quickly as possible, preferably in the territory where the accident occurred. After contacting emergency authorities, medical personnel, and submitting an accident report, you should call a Los Angeles boating accident attorney at Wilshire Law Firm to discuss your boat accident claim.
In fact, there were almost 3,000 boating accident injuries in 2016 alone in the United States, with 701 fatalities:
Common Boat Accident Injuries
Water sports accident victims are at risk for many serious injuries. A boating accident victim’s head, legs, and arms are the most likely to be injured in an accident.
Boat accidents can result in severe bodily injuries such as:
Our Los Angeles boating accident attorneys have experience handling cases involving the most catastrophic injuries, so you can count on us to help you with your personal injury claim.
Boat Accident and Personal Watercraft Statistics
Boating is one of life’s most splendid leisure activities. It’s also one of the most productive commercial industries. With tourism, rentals, private ownership, and commercial vessels continually contributing to the economy, boating has it all.
Every day, people fill up their gas tanks, clean their decks, and hit the open water. In most states, there are boating seasons. In Southern California, boating is accessible year-round in the Pacific Ocean or on one of our many beautiful lakes and river systems.
However, with a massive volume of multi-seasonal boating comes many boating and shipping accidents and fatalities, which happen more often than you think.
Every year, the U.S. Coast Guard compiles statistics on boating accidents. These statistics originate from boat owners and operators of boats and watercraft vessels involved in accidents.
Here are some of the latest California boating accident statistics:
- In 2019, there were 324 reported boat accidents.
- There were 37 fatal boating accidents in 2019.
- For the last five years, California has been the state with the most boating accidents, second only to Florida.
- In 2019, 130 people suffered non-fatal injuries as a result of a boat accident.
- Californians suffered over $7,000,000 in total damages from boating accidents in 2019.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident caused by another party’s negligence, involving any of these causes or something else, it’s in your best interests to contact a boat accident lawyer immediately.
An experienced boating accident attorney at Wilshire Law Firm can help you win maximum compensation in your case. Learn more about our award-winning Los Angeles boating accident law firm.
We hope you never find yourself in a situation that would require representation for a boating accident – but if you do, we’re here to help!
Who Is Liable in A Boating Accident?
Determining liability after a recreational boating accident can be a challenge. As a result, this should be left to the experts in personal injury and maritime law.
A person in a lake, ocean, sea, or river who has been hit by a boat, jet ski, or other personal watercraft will likely have pain and severe injuries that are very difficult to cope with, warranting a consultation with an experienced and aggressive boating accident lawyer. An experienced watercraft accident attorney will not only determine who is responsible for your accident, but they will gather all the evidence that is needed to prove fault and get you the compensation you deserve.
One or more of the following parties can be found liable in a boat accident claim:
- Distracted or inattentive boat operators – When boat operators do not pay full attention to what they’re doing or they fail to adhere to safety protocols, they put themselves, their passengers, and others on the water at risk. Distracted or inattentive operators can cause boat accidents that lead to severe injuries.
- Intoxicated boat or ship operator – Just like driving under the influence is illegal, so is boating under the influence. When a boat or ship operator drives while impaired, they can be held liable for any accidents or injuries they cause.
- Boat designer – Boats are designed for faring the sea and include distinct features depending on the boat’s specific purpose. A faulty boat design can result in a malfunction, which can cause an accident.
- Boat manufacturer – A boat may have parts that become defective at any point in the production process, resulting in a defective vessel that becomes more likely to malfunction and cause an accident.
- Boat captain, attendants, or other staff – If they are not careful, even a small mistake by a boat attendee can easily cause an accident. This can include errors in how the boat is operated, poor communication to crew members and passengers, poor upkeep of onboard premises that results in hazards, and more.
Every accident is unique, and boating accidents are no exception. If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is essential to have evidence to support your personal injury case, just like with any other type of accident.
Quality evidence is vital to win your boat accident case successfully. Consider anyone who may be a potential witness, such as lifeguards or coast guard members who may have rendered first aid, other boaters, nearby swimmers, etc.
Compensation for Boat Accidents in the Los Angeles Area
A personal injury attorney can maximize your likelihood of obtaining full compensation for your medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. Additionally, they can arrange for medical treatment that may be otherwise difficult to obtain if you do not have medical insurance or a doctor who can work on a lien basis.
At Wilshire Law Firm, our boating accident attorneys can help you obtain financial recovery and connect you with medical providers who can treat you with no upfront costs.
If you or someone you know was injured in an accident while swimming, engaging in water sports, or operating a watercraft, contact an attorney at Wilshire Law Firm for a free consultation (844) 219 2105.
What is the First Thing You Should Do in a Boating Accident?
Immediately after an accident, a Los Angeles boating accident lawyer recommends taking the following steps:
- Seek medical care for yourself and those who need it. Use any first aid kits available and wait for the Coast Guard or other emergency responders to assist you.
- Don’t jump overboard to help anyone else unless it is necessary. Ensure you have a secure way to return to your vessel.
- Report the boating accident according to federal guidelines. A boating accident report might help you further down the road in a personal injury case.
- Don’t admit fault or guilt, as you may put yourself at risk or being sued or having your injury claim rejected.
- Gather information about the boat accident, such as photographic evidence, witness accounts, contact information, and insurance company names. Document where the accident took place, visible injuries, and any property damage.
How often do people drown from boating accidents?
Boating is responsible for 40% of drowning deaths. If you have a loved one who drowned in a boating accident, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Alternatively, if a boat accident results in injury but not death, this would grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
How long after an accident do you have to file a lawsuit?
According to federal law, a civil action for damages for personal injury or death arising out of a boat accident must be brought within three years after the date of the accident. However, depending on where the accident occurred, it may be necessary to use the state’s statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations is generally two years. There are many factors that can alter how long someone has to file an injury claim, so make sure to consult with a personal injury attorney to best understand the circumstances for your case.
What are the boating laws in California?
See below for some of California’s basic boating laws:
- A boat operator must be 16 years old to operate a boat with more than 15 horsepower (hp).
- Power boaters under the age of 25 must complete a state-approved safety course.
- Boating while intoxicated is prohibited under California law.
- A boating accident must be reported to authorities under certain circumstances.
How close can a boat get to the beach in California?
According to the State of California Division of Boating and Waterways Operational Law, no person may operate a vessel at a speed greater than five miles per hour within 100 ft. of a swimmer or surfer, or within 200 ft. of a beach frequented by swimmers.
Contact a Los Angeles Boat Accident Attorney
When a boat accident occurs and you are not at fault, it’s essential to have an award-winning Los Angeles boating accident attorney on your side. Call a personal injury attorney at Wilshire Law Firm at (844) 219 2105 or fill out our online form.