Every year, there are roughly a thousand boating accidents in the Los Angeles area. These accidents injure thousands of people and even cause deaths. If you or your family has suffered from a boating accident, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone.
You may have a right to recover money for all of your losses. You need to speak to a boating accident lawyer in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Simmrin Law Group understand the complex rules of fault, right-of-way, and liability involved in maritime accidents.
Our highly respected legal team is dedicated to helping the victims of boating accidents and getting you every penny you deserve. Fill out the form to the right or give us a call to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today with our Los Angeles boating accident attorney.
Who Can Be Held at Fault in a Boating Accident in Los Angeles
California follows a simple rule for liability: the party that causes the accident is “at fault” and must pay. Normally, their insurance policy will pay the claim; however, even an uninsured operator must still pay the full costs.
In many cases, determining fault is straightforward. For example:
- An inattentive or careless operator is almost always at fault.
- An operator who speeds or breaks navigation rules is usually at fault.
- Intoxicated operators are always at fault if their intoxication leads to an accident.
- A boating company or owner that does not properly maintain equipment or train crew may be at fault.
- The company that manufactured defective equipment may be at fault.
- If two or more parties both did something wrong, they might have to share the fault, and both pay part of the costs.
For a free legal consultation with a boating accident lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
Don’t Trust the Insurance Company
Insurance companies love to blame the victim. Even if you were paying attention and following the rules of the water, the insurance company might try to cast blame on you or question your injuries to minimize what they pay you.
Note that these same rules apply to any type of boating accident. Unlike car accidents, many boat accidents involve only a single watercraft getting in distress. Others may involve multiple crafts, including commercial vessels, yachts, open motorboats, jet skis, kayaks, or canoes.
The same rules of liability cover all watercraft. No matter the situation, you always have a right to money if you are the victim.
Los Angeles Boating Accident Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
How Much Money You Can Recover from a Boating Accident Claim
You can recover 100% of your costs. This amount may be much more than you think.
Some of the possible costs which you may recover include:
- Damage to your boat or watercraft
- Medical expenses
- The future projected cost of ongoing treatment
- Compensation for lost work time
- Compensation for future loss of earnings
- Money for rehabilitation or physical therapy
These expenses are known as economic damages. They are the damages to which you can directly assign a value. This value is based on the easily added-up costs you have already incurred and future expenses that can be calculated easily.
You can also receive much larger settlements to offset serious losses, like pain and suffering, permanent injuries, or losing a loved one. The courts award this money in the hopes that it will help you rebuild your life and remain financially stable in the aftermath.
Since these losses are irreplaceable, the amounts awarded are significant. Generally, non-economic damages make up most of the compensation for a boating accident.
Finally, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Negligent boat operation is illegal in California, which means the person who caused the accident may have been breaking the law.
If so, they may have to pay you extra money as a punishment. Punitive damages are especially common in DUI boating cases.
Punitive damages do not correlate with any direct loss that the accident victim suffers. They are exclusively designed as a deterrent against future criminally negligent behavior. Because of the high costs and severe losses involved in boating accidents, many settlements top $1 million, and even the smaller ones are frequently six figures.
The Cost to Hire a Boating Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
At the Simmrin Law Group, we don’t believe you should have to pay legal fees when you’re already dealing with the costs of an accident. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis. With this payment structure, we don’t receive a penny from you unless we can secure compensation.
If we win a recovery for you, we receive a pre-arranged percentage, and you keep the lion’s share. You will never pay anything out of pocket. We believe this creates a no-risk situation for accident victims where anyone can get the legal help they need.
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Common Causes of Los Angeles Boating Accidents
Although every boating accident is different, certain causes recur over and over. Across Southern California, the most common cause of boating accidents is operator inattention or keeping an improper lookout. In other words, most boating accidents could be prevented if someone had just looked where they were going and kept an eye on the waters around them.
Other common causes of boating accidents include:
- An inexperienced operator
- Alcohol use (or, less commonly, drug use), a.k.a. “DUI.”
- Violating the rules of navigation
- Equipment failure
- Weather, hazardous waters, or the force of a wake
What almost all of these causes have in common is that they are preventable. For the most part, if a boating accident occurs, it means someone was careless, and that person can be held responsible.
How Personal Watercraft (PWC) Accidents Are Viewed
The same rules apply to jet skis, Sea-Doos or WaveRunners. However, jet ski accidents can be more severe. The danger increases because the operators move at high speeds, have less turning power, and have little protection offered by the vehicle.
If a jet ski was involved in your accident, talk to a boating accident attorney in Los Angeles before speaking to the insurance company. It could make a world of difference in your case, especially if the operator of the jet ski was at-fault for the crash.
What if I Was a Crew Member on the Boat?
As a crew member, you have the same rights as any other boat accident victim. Generally, with crew members, the accident was almost, by definition, not your fault. The captain of your vessel, or the operator of another vehicle involved, is most likely liable.
California law protects paid and volunteer crew members; you can still recover the full amount of money you deserve. For this reason, you should talk to our boating accident lawyers in Los Angeles, CA, at the Simmrin Law Group as soon as possible about your case. Moving forward with a claim should be done sooner rather than later so you do not miss the deadline to file.
The Statute of Limitations for a Boating Accident Claim in Los Angeles
The statute of limitations in California for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. If your boating accident injury was not discovered immediately, then the statute of limitations is one year from the date that the injury is discovered. Even though this provides you with less time to file a claim, you likely had more time to build a claim because the injury was not present immediately after the accident.
Talk to a Los Angeles Boating Accident Lawyer for Free
Boating accident claims are complex, and insurers are slow to pay up. Don’t risk taking it on alone. Let the Simmrin Law Group team help get you the financial compensation you deserve.
Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation today with our boating accident lawyers in Los Angeles, CA.