Every year, thousands of people enjoy spending time on the ocean and in the dozens of large lakes in California. While most boating outings occur without incident, for a number of people each year, boating accidents result in serious injury, broken bones, near drowning, and even death.
The attorneys at Estey Bomberger represent victims of all types of boating accidents in California, including accidents caused by operator inattention, failing to follow safety laws, boating under the influence, and even mechanical failure of watercraft and negligent maintenance of watercraft. Our California boating accident attorneys have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for California residents involved in boating accidents as well as tourists who were injured in boating accidents while visiting California. We have also represented families of victims of man-overboard drowning accidents and fatal boating accidents in wrongful death claims.
Types of Boating Accidents and Common Causes
By US Coast Guard definition, a “boating accident” is a collision, accident, or other casualty involving the death or disappearance of any person; loss of consciousness, medical treatment or disability of any person in excess of 24 hours; or physical damage to property or the disappearance or loss of a vessel. The most common type of boating accident is a collision with another vessel. Other types of accidents include skier mishaps, vessels grounding and falls overboard. The most commonly stated causes of boat accidents (there may be more than one cause) include operator inattention, operator inexperience, and excessive speed.
Alcohol-Related Boating Accidents
About one-third of all boating accidents involve a boat operator who is under the influence of alcohol. Just like driving a car while intoxicated, boating under the influence of alcohol is a crime in all states, including California. It is suspected that the number of alcohol-related boating accidents may be far underreported, because there is often a significant delay between the time of an accident and the reporting of an accident to a law enforcement agency. Operators (and in some cases passengers who are their friends) are reluctant to report an accident until enough time has lapsed that the drunk boater is no longer under the influence of alcohol. If you are involved in an accident and you think there is even a possibility that the operator of the vessel may be drunk, insist that coast guard, harbor police, or other law enforcement respond to the scene immediately.
Boating Accident Statistics
California boating accident statistics are complied by the Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating). In 2007 (the most recent statistics available), Cal Boating received 804 accident reports involving 482 injuries (49 involving children), 55 fatalities (4 involving children), and $10.6 million in damage. All reported totals were hire than 2006 totals (757 accident reports, 445 injuries, 42 fatalities, and $8.9 million in property damage).
Boating Accidents on California Lakes
Boating accidents don’t just occur on the ocean. The California accident attorneys at Estey Bomberger represent victims of personal watercraft accidents and boating accidents on lakes and rivers throughout California, including accidents at Clear Lake, Donner Lake, Bullards Bar Reservoir, Donner Lake, Lake Oroville, Lake Almanor, Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake, Lake Tahoe, Don Pedro Reservoir, June Lake, Lake San Antonio, and San Pablo Reservoir.
Unique Legal Issues of Boating Accidents
The liability considerations of boating accidents are similar in many ways to car accidents. If a boat operator acts negligently, resulting in injury or death to a boat passenger, swimmer, or another boater, he or she may be liable for the injuries or wrongful death of the victim. However, although many of the basic liability considerations of auto accidents can be applied in boating accidents, on-the-water accidents have unique legal issues. Depending on whether an accident occurred on a lake, river, or the ocean, waterway laws, admiralty laws, and maritime laws may all be relevant.
Maximum Compensation for Boating Accidents
Every accident is different, with unique circumstances and factors. The amount of money you may be entitled to for a boating accident may vary depending on where the accident occurred, who was responsible, the extent of your injuries, and how your injuries affect you. The California boating accident lawyers at Estey Bomberger are experienced in handling boating accident cases, and know how to obtain maximum, full and fair compensation for victims of boating accidents and their families. If you would like more information regarding a potential case or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.