Boating accidents are rare, but that doesn’t make them any less awful when they happen. Every year, roughly a thousand boating accidents will occur in the Los Angeles area. These accidents injure thousands of people and even causing deaths. If you or your family has suffered from a boating accident, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone—or the medical bills. You may have a right to recover money for all of your losses. You need to speak to a Los Angeles boating accident lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group is here to help you. We 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. Let us give you a FREE consultation to get you started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What causes boating accidents?
Although every boat accident is different, certain causes recur over and over. Across Southern California, the single most common cause of boating accidents is operator inattention or keeping an improper lookout. In other words, the majority of 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:
- Inexperienced operator
- Alcohol use (or, less commonly, drug use) a.k.a. “DUI”
- Violating the rules of navigation
- Equipment failure
- Weather, hazardous waters or force of wake
As you can see, what almost all of these causes have in common is that they are preventable. For the most part, if a boating accident happens it means someone was careless, and that person can be held responsible.
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Who is 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, it will be their insurance policy that pays the claim, but even an uninsured operator must still pay the full costs.
In many cases, fault is straightforward:
- An inattentive or careless operator is almost always at fault
- An operator who speeds or breaks the rules of navigation is usually at fault
- Intoxicated operators are always at fault if their intoxication is what led to the 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 may have to share the fault and both pay part of the costs
Be careful, though: insurance companies love to blame the victim. Even if you were paying attention and following the rules of the sea, the insurance company may try to cast blame on you or question your injuries in order to minimize what they pay you.
Note that these same rules apply for any type of boating accident. Unlike car accidents, many boat accidents involve only a single craft getting in distress. Others may involve multiple crafts, including commercial vessels, yachts, open motorboats, jet skis, kayaks or canoes. All water craft are covered by the same rules of liability—and you always have a right to money if you are the victim.
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How much money can I recover in a boating accident claim?
You can recover 100% of your costs. This may be much more than you think. For example:
- Damage to your boat or water craft
- All of your 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
You can also be awarded much larger settlements to offset serious losses, like pain, permanent injuries or the loss of 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.
Finally, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Negligent operation of a boat 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 form of punishment. This is especially common in DUI boating cases.
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.
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What about jet ski accidents?
The same rules apply to jet skis, also known as Sea-Doos or WaveRunners. However, jet ski accidents can be more severe because the operator moves at a high speed, has less turning power and have little protection if they are thrown from the vessel. If a jet ski was involved in your accident, talk to a lawyer before you talk to the insurance company.
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What if I was a crew member on the boat?
You have the same rights as any other victim. As crew, the accident was almost by definition not your fault—the captain of your own vessel, or the operator of another vessel involved, is most likely liable. California law protects both paid and volunteer crew members and you can still recover the full amount of money you deserve.
What does it 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 an accident. That’s why we charge you nothing unless we win you money. If we win a recovery for you, we are paid as a percentage and you keep the lion’s share. We believe this creates a no-risk situation where you can get legal help without worrying about cost.
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 give you a FREE consultation and help you get started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.