A negligent boat operator can cause a lot of damage to passengers, fellow operators, and swimmers around them. If someone’s dangerous boating has caused you harm, an insurance claim or civil lawsuit can help you recover the compensation you deserve and need to address your losses. And if you want to recover the maximum damages available after suffering in a boat collision, a highly experienced boat accident lawyer from the Weinberg Law Offices can help.
The attorneys at the Weinberg Law Offices are dedicated to protecting personal injury victims from the undermining tactics of insurance companies and boat operators who commit misconduct. We provide top-level representation to each of our clients, and we do not charge our clients unless we win.
Common Causes of Boating Injuries and Fatalities
The Coast Guard reported 4,040 boating accidents that involved 2,222 injuries and 636 deaths in 2022. And common causes of these injuries and fatalities included:
- Alcohol use (the leading cause of death),
- Machinery failure,
- Operator inattention,
- Excessive speed,
- Operator inexperience, and
- Improper lookout.
One or all of the above-listed factors could have contributed to your accident injuries, and we can help you identify all the ways a defendant was at fault for your losses.
Who You Can Sue for Your Boating Injuries
You have a right to sue whenever a responsible party causes you an injury because of their misconduct. And an at-fault party in a boating accident could be any of the following individuals:
- The boat operator,
- The dock owner,
- The retailer of the boat or boat safety accessories,
- The boat owner,
- The manufacturer of the boat or boat safety accessories, or
- The boat operator’s employer.
Sometimes, identifying the right party to sue can be a challenge. But a knowledgeable and tech-savvy boat accident attorney at the Weinberg Law Offices understands who should be included in your civil suit or claim and how to hold them accountable.
Damages You Can Recover in a Boating Accident
You have a right to several types of compensation and legal relief from a boat accident defendant, including:
- Economic damages to pay you for your financial losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, diminished earning capacity, and property repair or replacement costs;
- Punitive damages to punish a defendant that engaged in particularly heinous behavior surrounding the accident;
- Non-economic damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering; and
- Injunctive relief to stop the defendant from committing further harmful acts or compel the defendant to take positive actions in your case.
The quality and quantity of the evidence you collect for your case and the arguments you make regarding your need for relief are crucial to receiving all legal remedies available in your claim.
What to Do After Suffering an Injury in a Boating Accident
There are multiple steps you should take to help make sure you recover well from a boating accident and recoup damages from all at-fault parties. Read below for what to do after a boating accident.
See a Doctor or Healthcare Professional Right Away
The first step after enduring a boating injury is to seek immediate care from a healthcare professional. Boating can cause serious injuries for which you should be treated and compensated, and not all injuries are obvious at the scene of the accident. Consulting with a healthcare provider early and keeping up with provider recommendations can help you make a full recovery. The information you receive from your provider can also help you understand what your legal claim is worth.
Collect Witness and Party Information
Collect insurance and contact information from all parties involved in the boat crash. And if there are witnesses to the incident, get their names and contact information as well. Witness testimony can be vital to the success of a boat accident case. If you are able, gather this information at the scene of the accident, or have a friend or family member do it while you address your healthcare needs.
Report Your Accident to the Authorities
If you were operating a boat when your accident occurred, you must report any accident that involved significant injury or property damages to the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. Accidents that involve a death within 24 hours, an injury requiring more than first aid, or a person’s disappearance must be reported within 48 hours. And accidents that involve a death within more than 24 hours, the loss of a vessel, or property damage worth more than $500 must be reported within 10 days. If you don’t report your accident, you could be imprisoned or fined. And regardless of whether you operate a boat in an accident, reporting a wreck to the police or other authorities could be helpful or necessary in your case.
Submit an Insurance Claim
Often, your first avenue to obtaining payment in a boat accident case is making a claim on the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance company will likely investigate your claim and offer you a settlement to close the case. However, insurance companies are notorious for downplaying accident victims’ losses and needs, so you do not want to accept an offer without running the terms of the settlement by a boat accident lawyer.
Proving that another individual was at fault for your injuries and the amount they owe you can be an intense task. You might need to collect all of the following evidence to win your case:
- Accident reports;
- Pictures of the accident scene, the equipment involved, and your injuries;
- Medical records;
- Witness testimony;
- Expert opinions;
- Wage records; and
- Employment records.
And once you have all the relevant information for your case, you need to know how to present it to a judge, jury, or insurance adjuster. This undertaking is often best handled by a seasoned attorney.
Timely File a Lawsuit
Depending on the type of harm you endured, you could have between two and three years to file a boat accident lawsuit. If you believe you have an accident claim on your hands, speak to an attorney right away to help make sure you initiate your legal action on time.
When Do I Need a Boat Accident Lawyer?
Speaking to a boat accident attorney immediately after suffering an accident is typically the best choice you can make. However simple your case may seem, insurance claims and civil lawsuits can turn complex quickly. And whether you are victorious in your claim can depend on how well you prepared from the beginning. At the Weinberg Law Offices, we offer free consultations, so there is no harm or cost in speaking to us right away about what you may need in your case.
How to Find the Best Boat Accident Lawyer Near Me
If you want the best boat accident lawyer near you, talk to the Weinberg Law Offices today. We are effective and successful advocates who consistently receive top ratings from our personal injury clients. And we have the resources to serve you no matter where you are in the State of California. Fill out our online form, or call us at 866-834-2778 to schedule a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as legal advice.