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Find The Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Boat Accident in California

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Why Hire The Best Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney For Boating Accidents?


Los Angeles is renowned for its scenic, vast coastlines and exciting waterway activities. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, also known as Long Beach’s Harbor Department, are the United States' busiest ports. Personal watercraft, pleasure vessels, offshore oil wells, and commercial shipping activities inhabit every square inch of the 25-acre international port. With such a busy coast, injuries and severe accidents are bound to occur.


When they do, you need an experienced Los Angeles Boat Accident Attorney to help you through the nuances of these cases.


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What Are The Common Type of Boats?


There are 15 marinas within the Port of Los Angeles, situated in San Pedro, Wilmington, and Terminal Island. There are even more when you look at surroundings places like Redondo Beach, Marina Del Rey, and Long Beach. With more than 3700 recreational boat slips, there are plenty of opportunities for an individual to suffer a serious injury in or around a boat docked in a marina in the greater LA metro region.

When boat passengers and visitors are injured at sea, it is normally due to a person's negligence or corporation's. Ship owners and operators have a legal responsibility to maintain and operate their vessels reasonably. There are several boating incidents involving:

Yachts. Tourists who charter boats for personal activities also enjoy these pleasure boat trips. Injuries also occur when the operator fails to maneuver the yacht properly. In these types of injuries, inexperience or the effects of alcohol are often factors.


Personal watercraft (jet skis). According to the US Coast Guard, personal watercraft was involved in about 36% of all boating accidents, most of which were caused by blunt force trauma rather than drowning. Many of these injuries are caused by inexperienced operators and unnecessarily high speeds.


When handled carelessly, these relatively innocuous vessels can become extremely dangerous. Because of the risk of capsizing, drowning is a common problem on sailboats. When sailors lack sufficient knowledge about how to cope with these events, they may become stuck underneath the boat and drown.


When treated carelessly, even the smallest watercraft can cause serious injury. When you retain the legal services of a California Attorney For Personal Injury, they will be able to thoroughly investigate the accident to determine the root cause. Our pre-screened personal injury lawyers have the expertise and experience to go after the liable party or parties to get you the money you deserve, whether it is a faulty component or inappropriate service.


California Boating Accidents


In California, boating and jet skiing are year-round sports, and approximately 1,000,000 California watercraft are registered. As a result, the Golden State has a high rate of boating accidents relative to the rest of the world. Hundreds are involved in boat collisions every year. Dozens suffer fatal injuries. An experienced Los Angeles boat accident lawyer would help you or your family recover monetary compensation if you were injured while boating.


What Are The Common Boat Accidents in California?


1. Boating Under the Influence - Boating while intoxicated causes several accidents worldwide, and California is no exception to that unfortunate reality. Suppose it is determined by facts such as police reports, criminal charges, toxicology reports, and witness testimony. In that case, your boat accident lawyer in Los Angeles will assist you in recovering economic damages, which in some cases involving drunk boating, may include additional punitive damages.


2. Boating Accidents Caused by Speeding - Operating a boat at high speeds will make the vessel more difficult to control. It also increases the risk of passenger injury or death in the event of a collision. Accident reconstruction specialists may provide evidence that excessive speed led to injuries.


3. Equipment Problems -Whether negligent manufacturing or construction of the boat or a boat component caused or led to the boating accident, personal injury lawyers can consult with experts who can locate the responsible parties and testify to the unsafe equipment that played in the crash.


4. Ejection from the Boat. Several times in a boating accident, passengers are thrown from the vessel. This can result in devastating and debilitating injuries, including but not limited to brain injuries or broken bones.


5. Capsizing. In California, capsizing is one of the most common causes of boating accidents. It can result in serious and even fatal injuries.


6. Propeller Accidents. Propellers may cause severe lacerations and have even ended in amputations. Propellers can come into contact with the head and ears, resulting in traumatic brain injury, facial lacerations, and scarring of the face. Often propeller accidents are caused by incompetence on the part of the boat operator.


7. Sailing Rules Violated. California has strict laws on who can handle sailboats and when, as well as rules on the proper operation of the sailboats themselves. Deviation from these regulations will result in injuries. It is also against the rules.


Other typical boating injury scenarios involve collisions with other boats and slip-and-fall incidents on deck. Negligence can also be a factor, even though the boating operator was not violating the law. An experienced California boating accident lawyer will help you decide if there are grounds for an injury lawsuit.


In response to boating accidents of all sorts, California's Best Personal Injury Attorney handles boat accident claims regarding personal watercrafts such as jet skis and wave runners.


Boating Accident Reports


California law requires that watercraft operators report boating accidents. The reports must provide names, contact details, and vessel registration numbers for all individuals and watercraft involved in the accident and those that rendered help to an injured individual. Additionally, the boat owner or operator is needed to undertake a signed statement to the California Department of Boating and Waterways when the accident results in either of the ones that follow:

  • A person goes missing or dies

  • An injury that needs medical treatment beyond first aid

  • More than $5000 in property damage to all vessels or other property involved.


Where injury or death are suspected, the report must be submitted within 48 hours after injury. If the accident ended in the destruction of the property only, the report must be submitted within 10 days of the accident.


California Boating Laws


State regulations regulating the maintenance and operation of watercraft apply to owners and operators. California law forbids the use of watercraft negligently or recklessly that could endanger another person or his/her property. Among other items, the legislation bans boating in an area used by swimmers. It also forbids the movement of a vessel erratically or in such a manner that causes the vessel to cut speed or suddenly swerve to avoid a collision.


California law also has boating speed limits. Operators are prohibited from driving at an improper speed - meaning faster than prudent and fair based on traffic, visibility, weather conditions, or other hazards. Passengers are forbidden from sitting on the bow, gunwale, or anywhere else that poses a risk of falling overboard. The law forbids a boat's operation with hazardous conditions, which include providing an insufficient supply of fire extinguishers or life jackets, having a fuel leak, not showing navigation lights, excessive accumulation of water in the bilge, and inadequate ventilation.


Any boat operator in California is required to abide by both state and federal regulations

Maritime law in California prohibits the conduct of any vessel in a careless or negligent manner or in a manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person.


A boat operator must also move the boat at a safe speed, considering traffic, weather, visibility, and other hazards. You must not put swimmers, your boat's passengers, or the occupants of any other boat at risk.


Any vessel must have the following Coast Guard-approved safety equipment, according to the Federal Boat Safety Act:

  • Ventilation machines for gas

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Extinguishers are used to put out fires.

  • Visual signs of distress

  • Devices that produce sound

  • Each individual should have a personal floatation device (PFD) or a life jacket.


What Are The Boating Laws in the United States?


The Federal Boat Safety Act, passed by Congress in 1971, gave the U.S. The Coast Guard is in charge of determining watercraft safety equipment requirements.


According to federal law, vessels must be fitted with Coast Guard-approved safety equipment, such as flame arresters, visual distress signs, gas breathing systems, fire extinguishers, and sound warning devices. The life jackets or personal floatation devices that must be worn by all on board the vessel are also defined by federal law. Consider one of our prescreened California personal injury Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.


An Overview Of Boating Accidents and Injuries in California


Boating incidents are injuries that occur while on or in a boat. This form of mishap may occur on a cruise ship, a jet ski, a ferry, or a private yacht. The general rule is that the boat operator and owner are responsible for taking reasonable precautions to avoid injuring others.


Don't forget that incidents involving non-motorized boats do happen. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rowboats, and inflatables like rafting are all examples of this. Changing water or weather conditions, cold water, and underwater debris are also warning signs of impending disaster.


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Non-motorized boats often have a lower profile in the water, which reduces visibility. As a result, they are often targeted by larger, motorized vessels. Aside from interactions with motorized boats, non-motorized boating accidents are often caused by an overloaded vessel, overcrowding, a lack of life jackets, and inexperience.


In addition to the loss of innocent lives and significant injury to unsuspecting victims, watercraft and boating collisions cause about $50 million in property damage yearly. When a boat or personal watercraft collides with another vessel or a fixed object, there is a high risk of serious injury. The following are some of the most common injuries sustained in boating accidents:

  • Near-drowning or drowning

  • Amputations resulting from trauma

  • Injuries to the brain

  • Back and spine injuries

  • Visual impairment

  • Injury to the neck and back

  • Bones that have been fractured or broken

  • Ligaments torn

  • Burns

  • Injuries caused by crushing (especially to hands and feet)

  • Wrongful death

Even though emergency facilities for treating traumatic accidents are costly, healthcare expenses make up a small portion of the overall costs of a boating or watercraft accident. Victims can also experience income loss, property harm, and emotional distress.


How To Determine Who Is At Fault In A Boating Accident in California?


When someone gets hurt in a car accident, it's normally because at least one (if not both) of the drivers should have done something differently to prevent the collision. Boating is unique in that it often involves powers of nature, which are more prevalent than in a non-weather-related car accident.


Who is to blame if you or a passenger is hurt when your boat collides with another boat's wake, is struck by a wave, or collides with a submerged object such as a rock or land mass?

In order to recover damages for a boating accident, you must first prove the other party's negligence.

However, a single accident does not imply that anyone was careless. An individual must have acted or failed to act with due caution to be deemed negligent, and that action or failure to act was the cause of the injury.


If you've been involved in a car accident, the first move would almost certainly be to try to settle your dispute with the insurance firm of the at-fault driver. In California, however, having boat insurance is not required. As a result, if you've been injured due to a boat operator's negligence, the only way to recover your medical bills, collateral damage, or other damages is to file a lawsuit.


Proving Negligence in Boating Accidents in California


California is a state with a lot of comparative faults. This suggests that a plaintiff's damages will be diminished based on their own negligence in causing the accident. Find more about the state fault structure and other aspects of negligence.

All tort law is based on negligence, responsibility, and blame.

Each state approaches these principles slightly differently, but the basic idea remains the same. In the sections below, we'll describe these and other legal concepts and explain how they're treated in California courts.


Definitions in the law

  1. A tort is any unlawful act or omission that causes an individual or corporation to be harmed, which may result in civil (rather than criminal) liability. An “injury” may be physical, non-physical (emotional, for example), or financial in nature.

  2. A personal injury may be anything as simple as injuries sustained in a car accident. It may also result in reputational harm, such as slander or libel. It may be linked to a financial loss, such as the loss of land, earning power, a company or life, or a contract or property dispute. Personal injury legislation, in essence, protects a wide variety of losses or actions that cause you harm. Personal injuries are normally dealt with in civil courts, although there are a few exceptions where it is still a felony.

  3. Legal liability simply refers to whether or not anyone had a duty or responsibility to do or not do anything that resulted in harm.

  4. In a nutshell, a tort is the conduct of the defendant. What happened to you as a result of that action is an accident. The legal argument is whether the accident was accidental or whether the defendant was responsible for your injuries.


Reasonableness and Foreseeability are Legal Requirements.


When an accident is referred to as "foreseeable," it indicates that a layperson could have fairly expected it. Of course, no two people are the same, and the definition of "risk" is subjective. That is what makes determining foreseeability and reasonableness difficult for courts.


The Rule of Comparative Fault in California


Not every situation is one-sided. A plaintiff may share some of the blame for their own injuries. Even if the defendant acted with due caution, the amount of damages they may recover is reduced if the plaintiff should have prevented harm.


Collisions with Other Vessels


If you were injured in a boat crash, you would establish negligence as you did in a car accident. If one of the boat operators is at fault for the crash, they can be considered incompetent and liable for the injured person's damages.


Since sailboats have the right of way, a motorboat operator is more likely to be at fault in a collision with a sailboat.


An Injury Caused By The Wake of Another Boat


A jolt from a wave or wake can knock passengers down, throw them out of their seats, or even chuck them overboard, injuring them. While it is required by boating regulations that the operator keep an eye out for any hazards, there are other factors to consider, such as:

  • The boat's speed

  • The expanse of the damages

  • The wake's visibility

  • Type of vessel (motorboat or sailboat)

  • Whether or not the boat operator sent a warning to the passengers

  • In the immediate vicinity, there is a lot of boat traffic.

The boat operator could be held liable if they failed to consider any of these factors. Furthermore, if the wake was caused by another boat, the operator could be held liable for negligence if they were operating in a no-wake zone or breaking boating safety regulations.

It's likely that no one is at fault if an injury or accident occurs when the boat hits a wave.

What Are The Jurisdiction in the Event of a Boating Accident?

  • If you're considering filing a personal injury case after a boating accident, you'll need to figure out which court has jurisdiction (in other words, where to file your lawsuit).

  • Most personal injury cases begin in state trial courts and then proceed to federal court if an appeal is filed.

  • The federal court system, however, has original authority over admiralty and maritime cases, according to Article III of the United States Constitution. This means that the boating accident lawsuit will most likely start in federal court and will not have to go through state court. Any accidents or injuries sustained by vessels on the high seas or in navigable waters, including property damage, are normally resolved in federal court.

  • The “high seas” are outside any country's control, and navigable waters are those used in interstate or international trade.

  • A personal case against a boat owner is the only situation in which a state court might have jurisdiction in a boating accident.

Regarding boating accident jurisdiction, there are several exceptions and complexities. A California Attorney For Personal Injury would be the right one to advise you about where to file your case.


What Are The Common Causes Of Boating Accidents?


Boats sink for a variety of causes. For example, the ship's captain and crew may fail to focus on other boats and people in the nearby waterway. Passengers being thrown overboard after a sexual assault is a leading cause of death and serious drowning-related injuries, especially on cruise ships.


Some causes of boating accidents include:

  • Fires and explosions caused by leaked boat fuel in the water, etc.

  • Inexperienced boat operators smash into each other as they dock and leave the harbor.

  • Collisions with other boats or sea creatures caused by careless boat operators

  • Water splashing into open portholes causes the ship to flood.

  • Commercial sea captains who make bad piloting decisions

  • Passengers who have been drinking or using drugs have fallen overboard.

However, your boat could capsize due to faulty bilge pumps allowing seawater to accumulate in compartments below, causing poor weight distribution, and so on. The majority of vessels have overwhelmed engines, resulting in faster hydroplaning speeds. The majority of boaters in Los Angeles are weekend warriors.


Novice Captains Will cause Waterborne Accidents


Operators with little experience are prone to being careless and causing severe problems at sea. Their passengers and others are often admitted to hospitals; other times, the ship's doctors will transport dead passengers to the morgue. Surviving passengers and crew members can suffer serious brain and neck injuries and various other ailments, including coma or death.


What's the Difference Between Minor and Major Catastrophes on Private Ships?


A minor collision between two boats may result in a minor accident. These, for example, can harm the boats but cause no injuries to passengers, dockworkers, or crew. However, serious bodily harm may occur when a boat driver is inebriated.


And this could result in serious impairment and humiliation for all parties involved. As a result, these scumbags are probably already navigating dangerously. When this happens, the survivor is frequently left with long-term disabilities.


Consider the following:

  • Boat propellers can also result in serious injuries.

  • At sea, broken bones are a common occurrence.

  • Injuries to the spinal cord

  • Amputations

  • Lacerations

  • Passengers, including seamen and professional swimmers, can fall overboard when boats collide with objects or vessels and are often lost at sea.

Consider the following scenario:

  • Many that are plunged into the water are at risk of drowning. This is especially true if they do not have the required flotation devices.

  • Poor behavior will result in the loss of passengers and a great deal of emotional distress.

  • After a disaster at sea, a victim's need for medical and legal assistance would be critical.


Why Do I Need the Services of a California Attorney For Personal Injury?


At first glance, a personal injury allegation can appear to be quite simple. You were injured and suffered economic losses as a result of the actions of another individual or group, and you filed a civil suit to seek justice for those losses. Although this may appear simple, navigating the California court system can be extremely difficult for those without legal knowledge or training. Missing a filing deadline, failing to show up for a scheduled appointment, and a variety of other procedural mistakes can wreak havoc on a lawsuit, leading to a judge dismissing it before it even gets started.


Your lawsuit will be filed on time with your local courthouse if you hire an experienced boating accident attorney. Your boating accident attorney will walk you through the steps of drafting a lawsuit, submitting it to the defendant listed in your petition, and determining the full extent of your losses. In the end, hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in California is an investment in your own peace of mind. As you concentrate on your recovery, you can rest assured that your legal affairs are in capable hands.


Concerns About Insurance


Dealing with insurance providers is seldom simple or enjoyable. Insurance firms lose money because they pay out on Los Angeles boat accident claims, so they hire highly qualified claims adjusters to search for some reason to reject claims or reduce payout amounts. Communicating with an insurance provider without legal counsel is never a good idea. This is yet another example of why you should seek legal counsel from a boating accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. After a covered case, most insurance providers demand that claims be filed within a certain timeline. Any delay will result in increased scrutiny of your assertion and further delays.


Not only can a personal injury lawyer draft an initial claim on your behalf, but they can also handle communications with the insurance firm and its staff. Insurance firms are much less likely to fight plaintiffs who have legal counsel, so if your personal injury was caused by a car accident or other event covered by another party's insurance, hiring a boating accident attorney may greatly speed up the appeals process.


A Personal Injury Lawsuit's Potential Recoveries


After an accident is incurred by someone else, insurance may or may not completely compensate for the damages. Insurance might not be necessary for certain situations. You will need to file a personal injury claim against the individual that caused your injuries, whether you require more money than available insurance coverage can offer, or your personal injury falls beyond the scope of any applicable insurance coverage

Personal injury lawsuits will cover a wide range of physical and psychological injuries. People file personal injury lawsuits for a variety of causes, including broken bones, head injuries, spinal injuries, and organ damage. Some of these injuries recover in a matter of weeks or months with no long-term consequences, while others result in lifelong disability and make it difficult to function or live independently. Personal injury victims in California are entitled to a variety of compensatory damages, including:

In a personal injury case, the plaintiff has the right to claim compensation for any medical expenses incurred due to the defendant's negligence. Hospital bills, prescription drug prices, and long-term medical expenditures, including physical therapy and recovery, can all be included.


Plaintiffs will sue for lost wages if their injuries cause them to miss work or if their injuries are severe enough to be unable to work in the future. An accomplished Los Angeles boating accident attorney would almost certainly defer to a financial expert witness to give the court a practical breakdown of a plaintiff's missed future earning potential.


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In California, a personal injury lawsuit will result in compensation for pain and suffering. Although putting a monetary value on this can seem impossible, the court usually grants pain and distress compensation based on the seriousness of the plaintiff's injury. A plaintiff who heals entirely within three to four months of an injury, for example, will receive considerably less in pain and suffering compensation than a plaintiff who is forced to undergo amputation or suffers a lifelong disability due to their injury.


If a defendant's actions harmed or destroyed the plaintiff's personal property, the plaintiff may seek damages for restoration and/or replacement.


If the court determines that the defendant's actions went beyond ordinary negligence, involved illegal activity, or showed a deliberate disregard for the welfare of others, the plaintiff could be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages in California are not limited or capped; they are awarded to a plaintiff in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish egregious neglect or illegal conduct and prevent it in the future. Typically, wealthier defendants would pay much higher punitive damages.


What to Expect When Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?


You should build your personal injury case once you've hired a lawyer. The plaintiff's overall costs, such as medical expenditures, lost wages, and property damage, must be completely detailed in the first step. The plaintiff's California Personal Injury Attorney will assist the plaintiff in drafting a formal complaint, which will be filed with the local court and served on the defendant, allowing the defendant to respond.

Before proceeding to the trial stage, several personal injury cases are settled out of court. For both parties, a compromise is usually preferable to a lengthy court battle. The longer the case takes to settle, the more legal and court costs both sides will have to pay. If the defendant does not appeal the Complaint's features, the mediation will be completed easily.

It is usually in the defendant's best interest to resolve the case as soon as possible. Some offenders may be willing to pay a little more in a settlement to put a personal injury case to rest and move on. On the same note, when faced with mounting medical costs and living expenses, some claimants are willing to accept a marginally lowercase award in return for expediency. At the same time, their disability prevents them from working. A personal injury lawyer can ensure that a client's compensation negotiations are fair and equitable.


The case will go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. The trial process of a personal injury case can be lengthy, taking months or even years to complete. During the Discovery process, all sides of the case must share their available information and documents, interview witnesses, and perform cross-examinations. After carefully analyzing the available facts and testimony, the case will eventually proceed to a trial before a judge and jury, who will determine the case's outcome.


What if it Ends in a Wrongful Death?


Every death is horrific, but not every death is preventable. Someone else's negligence or wrongful act may have caused a death to satisfy the concept of Wrongful Death under California law. A person or agency may have failed to exercise the required degree of caution in the case, resulting in a fatal accident that could have been avoided. In other words, your loved one's death would not have occurred if the defendant had not been negligent in his or her conduct or omissions. If you think you might have a case for Wrongful Death.


Costs of a Wrongful Death in California?


When you file a Wrongful Death lawsuit, much more than just monetary compensation is at stake. It's a way to pay tribute to your loved one by safeguarding his or her rights. A Wrongful Death lawsuit allows your loved one to speak for themselves. Your relative may not be able to keep the at-fault party accountable directly, but his or her relatives may demand restitution on his or her behalf. A family in California may be entitled to compensation from a defendant for various economic and noneconomic damages related to the death.


Future profits lost. The amount of money the deceased would have made if the death had not been caused by Wrongful Death.


All costs associated with passing are referred to as passing expenses (medical bills, funerals, and burial expenses).


Retirement or pension. A Wrongful Death that occurs too soon may result in a reduction in income from a retirement plan.


Inheritance. Gains from an inheritance may be reduced.


Pain and suffering. The wrongful death attorney would be able to secure compensation for the victim's and their loved ones' pain and suffering.


Punitive Damages. You might be entitled to financial compensation if the loss was caused by the other party's malicious actions or negligence.


Loss of companionship. You could be entitled to monetary compensation if you have lost the companionship of a family member or acquaintance.


Deadline for Filing Wrongful Death Claims


Your family cannot afford to wait too long to file a Wrongful Death lawsuit. Wrongful Death cases in California are subject to a strict statute of limitations. If the applicant does not sue within two years of the deceased person's death, the lawsuit would almost certainly be dismissed by the California courts. You only have two years to gather facts, create a case, and file a lawsuit against a defendant. Hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as you suspect wrongdoing in connection with your loved one's death to expedite the claims process as much as possible.


Find Top-Rated Personal Injury Lawyers for Boat Accidents in California


1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a Personal Injury Lawyer from the best boat accident law firms in Los Angeles. Our prescreened California lawyers are already pre-screened and experienced, and choosing them will save you some time frantically researching through internet catalogs.



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