California has plenty of bodies of water for people to get out on and enjoy. A day of boating on Lake Castaic north of Los Angeles, a cruise out on San Francisco Bay, or a trip up to Lake Tahoe can make for a perfect weekend.
Unfortunately, a day of boating fun can lead to serious boating accidents. Boating is a hazardous activity. And most hazards are created by someone not taking the care they should when responsible for the operation of a watercraft.
Someone’s negligence may cause a major accident and leave you or a loved one hurt. At this point, victims should know how critical it is to hold the right party responsible for every cost of recovery.
Who’s to Blame for a California Boating Accident?
Boating accidents along the California coastline or on a lake or river generally play out like car accidents. There is usually a boat driver or operator responsible for the safe piloting of the craft. They also owe their passengers and everyone they share a body of water with a legal “duty of care.”
This duty of care means they take precautions to make sure people in the boat, outside the boat, and in other boats are kept reasonably safe. All California boating regulations must be studied and followed to ensure the people operators have invited on their boats are safeguarded from accidents. Boat captains should also monitor in every direction to spot and avoid other boaters out on the water.
When drivers act in a careless or reckless manner and someone gets hurt, they can be held legally liable. That means providing support to all injured victims and paying for all property damage.
Of course, there may be other parties responsible for a boating accident. Anyone who contributed to the negligence that caused an accident can be held accountable.
This is just a partial list of those parties that could be found at fault and owe you support after an accident:
- Boat driver. Boat operators could be driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. They may be acting recklessly and traveling too fast. Their inexperience behind the wheel of a boat could lead to a tragic outcome. This liability also applies to the operators of jet skis.
- Boat passengers. Those inside or outside a boat could attempt a dangerous stunt that harms another passenger.
- Boat rental companies, marina owners and operators, and cruise operators.
- The boat owner. The owners may be responsible for who they lend a boat to. They may share in the liability even if they aren’t present.
- Boat manufacturer. A faulty part or design flaw could lead to an injury. A carbon monoxide leak could cause poisoning.
Suing Multiple Parties After a California Boating Accident
Your accident may have been the fault of several parties. Your California Boating Accident Lawyer will help you with the important task of identifying all parties to include in a lawsuit.
It’s vital to get this part right because filing a claim against one party can leave you reliant on one insurance policy. Once the limits of that insurance policy are reached, you aren’t able to claim any more in compensation. You could be left paying part of your recovery costs out of pocket.
When more than one party shares blame for your injury, you are able to request support from multiple insurance policies. This gives you a better chance of securing the funds to cover every bill and hardship you and your family face.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect After a California Boating Accident?
These are just a few of the things that factor into how much you may be awarded after a California boating accident:
- Medical care now and any care expected to be necessary in the future.
- Fees for emergency response and ambulance transport.
- Costs associated with a permanent disability. For example, lifelong assistance may be needed when a victim loses a limb, loses mobility, suffers an eye injury, or has a serious brain injury.
- Physical pain. When victims must endure extreme pain in an accident and during recovery, compensation should be provided.
- Emotional damages. The trauma experienced in an accident and the anxiety and depression felt during recovery also factors into the support victims receive.
- Lost wages while a boating accident victim misses work.
Boating Wrongful Death and Drowning Cases
In the case of a fatal accident out on the water, it will be the families left behind who will be seeking financial support. A loved one may have been lost to drowning or may have been struck by a boat.
Close relatives will be mourning their tragic loss while also facing the enormous bills that emerge after a California boating accident.
Through the benefits of a wrongful death insurance claim, families can recover money to pay for funeral services. They will also require assistance paying for any medical care and ambulance services provided before the victim passed away.
The families of victims are also robbed of the financial support the deceased may have provided each week through employment. Paying these bills and supporting the family in the years to come can be difficult without that support. Insurance companies for at-fault parties can be asked to replace this income over the long term.
Boating Accidents Involving Driver Alcohol Consumption
The coast guard, police harbor patrols, the California Division of Boating and Waterways, and other law enforcement officers work to keep California boaters safe. That means checking boat operators for intoxication.
Like a car accident, the blood alcohol of victims and those at-fault is considered after a boating accident. The legal limit for boat operators is the same as for motorists. You can’t have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more.
Boat drivers found guilty of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) of drugs or alcohol can face large financial penalties and the loss of a boating license. Prison time is also possible if an accident causes the injuries or deaths of victims.
A BUI suspect may face charges and a criminal trial, but victims and their families don’t have to wait on the outcome to move forward with a boating injury claim. This civil claim targets the boater’s insurance company and will be resolved separately.
Boating Accident Victims Who Have Consumed Alcohol
It’s possible that injured victims are also found to be under the influence when an accident occurred. This doesn’t mean they forfeit their rights to sue a negligent party. Under California Law, more than one party can share the blame in an accident.
An injured victim who had been drinking may be assigned some of the blame for what happened. But a negligent party, such as a reckless boat operator, could also share in the liability. The at-fault driver could still be ordered to pay an injured victim support, but the award would be reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault.
Contact a California Boating Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one are hurt due to someone’s negligence on the water, don’t trust an insurance company to provide for your recovery. A California boating accident attorney can keep an insurance company from downplaying your injury and getting away with providing you with less than you need.
Your attorney will also investigate to determine if more than one party bears liability for what happened. Every party that shares in the blame will be part of your accident claim, giving you and your family a better chance of securing the compensation you require.
Contact a skilled California boating accident lawyer like Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law. Mr. Gasparian offers a free, no-risk case consultation to all victims and their family members. If you choose him to represent your injury claim, he doesn’t get paid unless he wins your case.