Los Angeles & Orange County Boating Accident Lawyer

Picture this: you’re out on the water, soaking up the sun, when suddenly, another vessel collides with yours. The impact is jarring, and before you know it, you’re thrown overboard, struggling to stay afloat amidst the chaos. Injuries, property damage, and emotional trauma – these are just a few of the potential consequences of a boating accident.

Almost 800,000 pleasure boats and other watercraft are registered in California, with around 4 million active boaters taking to the state’s lakes, rivers, and oceans. Unfortunately, boaters who disregard safety rules can cause dangerous situations. The Coast Guard reports that in 2022 alone, California had 387 recreational boating accidents, with 43 deaths and 198 injuries.

When such incidents happen due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Get the help of an Orange County boating accidents lawyer from Libra Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys have won maximum compensation for many Californians. See how we can assist you. Call (888) 565-3214 for a free consultation. 

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

To help prevent boating crashes and to seek justice for boating injuries and deaths, it’s crucial to understand the common causes of these water accidents. According to the Coast Guard, the 10 most prevalent contributing factors to boating accidents are:

  1. Boat operator inattention
  2. Operator inexperience
  3. Improper lookout
  4. Excessive speed
  5. Machinery failure
  6. Hazardous weather
  7. Alcohol consumption
  8. Violation of navigation rules
  9. Hazardous waters
  10. Force of wake caused by a boat’s speed.

Alcohol consumption stands out as the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, accounting for 16% of boating deaths in the US in 2022. Impaired judgment, slowed reaction times, and poor coordination can have disastrous consequences on the water, putting at risk not only the intoxicated operator but also other boaters.

Operator inattention and inexperience are also significant contributors to boating accidents. When boaters fail to maintain a proper lookout or lack the necessary skills to navigate safely, it can lead to collisions, capsizing, or running aground.

Excessive speed, which can cause a boat to lose control or create hazardous wakes, is another common factor that increases the risk of accidents. Mechanical failures, such as engine trouble or equipment malfunctions, can also result in accidents, particularly if the operator is unprepared or unable to respond appropriately. Additionally, hazardous waters and weather conditions, like strong currents, low visibility, or sudden storms, can catch boaters off guard and lead to dangerous situations.

Common Types of Boating Accidents

While enjoying the open waters can be an exhilarating experience, it’s crucial to be aware of the various types of accidents that can occur on a boat. Understanding these common incidents can help boaters take necessary precautions. Here at Libra Law Firm, we’ve seen many boating accident cases, and some of the most prevalent boating accidents types are:

  1. Falling overboard or within the boat: Slips, trips, and falls can happen on a boat’s deck, leading to injuries or even drowning if the person falls overboard.
  2. Being ejected from the boat: Sudden impacts or collisions can cause passengers to be thrown from the vessel, potentially resulting in severe injuries or drowning.
  3. Sinking, capsizing, flooding or swamping, or grounding the boat: These incidents can occur due to various factors, such as operator error, mechanical failures, or hazardous weather conditions.
  4. Striking a submerged object: Hitting submerged objects like rocks, logs, or debris can cause significant damage to the boat and potentially injure passengers.
  5. Collision with another boat or object above the water: Crashing with other vessels, docks, or structures can result in severe injuries, property damage, and even loss of life.
  6. Person being struck by the boat or boat parts: Certain parts of a water vessel – such as the propeller, propulsion unit, or steering machinery – can seriously injure when they hit a person. These accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries such as lacerations, amputations, or even fatalities.
  7. Waterskiing accident or other mishap involving a towable device: Incidents involving towable devices like water skis, wakeboards, or tubes can result in serious injuries if proper safety measures are not followed.
  8. Fire or explosions on the boat: Fires and explosions on boats can be catastrophic, causing burns, injuries, and potential loss of life. These accidents can occur due to a wide variety of factors, from defective parts, to faulty electricals, to galley negligence.
  9. Carbon monoxide exposure: Exposure to carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, can lead to poisoning, which can be fatal in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas on a boat.
  10. Electrocution due to stray current on a boat: Electrical faults or improper wiring on a boat can create stray currents, posing a risk of electrocution for those in the water or on the vessel.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident due to someone else’s fault, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced boat accident attorney. In Orange County, you’ll find your reliable boating accidents lawyer at Libra Law Firm. Our attorneys can help ensure that you receive the compensation and justice you deserve for the harm you have suffered.

Damages, Claims, and Compensation Available to Boating Accident Victims 

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover various types of damages:

Economic Damages

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished ability to earn in the future.

Non-economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement.

Punitive Damages

In cases of egregious misconduct by the at-fault party, you may also be eligible for punitive damages. These are designed to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future.

Who May Be Held Liable for Orange County Boating Accident Injuries?

Potential liable parties in boating accidents include:

  • Boat operator: The operator bears overall responsibility for the vessel and its passengers. They may be liable if they were intoxicated, speeding, driving recklessly, failed to provide approved life jackets, or disregarded safe operation laws.
  • Boat owners: Individuals, companies, government agencies, and charter services have a responsibility to ensure their vessels are seaworthy and ready for safe operation. Owners who permit unqualified or inexperienced operators may be held liable for foreseeable accidents.
  • Crew members: On larger boats with hired crew, negligent or reckless crew members may be held individually liable for their contributions to an accident. In some cases, their employer may also be vicariously responsible for their actions.
  • Boat or equipment manufacturers: If the boat had a design flaw or manufacturing defect that contributed to the accident, victims may file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
  • Marina mechanics: If faulty maintenance of the vessel is determined to be a factor in the accident, the service vendor contracted for maintenance may be held liable.

In some cases, multiple parties may have contributed to the boating accident, resulting in multiple claims for compensation.

At Libra Law Firm, our experienced attorneys will meticulously investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine which party (or parties) should be held liable for your injuries. We will then calculate your full losses and present a demand letter to the insurers, seeking a fair settlement. If negotiations fail, we are prepared to file a formal lawsuit and present a persuasive case in court on your behalf.

Determining liability becomes more challenging over time, as memories fade and evidence dissipates. Don’t delay contacting us at Libra Law Firm. You pay nothing for your initial consultation, where our experienced Orange County boating accidents lawyer can guide you on your best next steps.

FAQs: Orange County Boating Accidents Lawyer

What should I do if I’m involved in a boating accident?

If you’re involved in a boating accident, the first and most crucial step is to ensure everyone’s safety. Provide first aid to any injured persons and call for emergency assistance if necessary. Once the immediate danger has passed, document the scene thoroughly, if possible by taking photos and videos. Gather contact information from any witnesses.

When first responders arrive, seek medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor. Some conditions may not present symptoms immediately.

It’s also essential to report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as the Coast Guard or local law enforcement. 

How long do I have to file a boating accident claim in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to a boating accident is generally two years from the incident date. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the time frame can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

Do I have to report my boating accident in California?

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident in California, it’s necessary to report the incident promptly to the California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways. The reporting requirements vary depending on the severity of the accident, as outlined below:

  • Within 48 hours: If the accident involved a death, a disappearance of a person, or an injury requiring more than simple first aid, an accident report must be filed within 48 hours.
  • Within 10 days: If the boating accident resulted in a person’s death more than 24 hours after the incident, property damage exceeding $500, or the complete loss of a watercraft or vessel, an accident report must be submitted within 10 days.

The owner and operator of the boat are primarily responsible for filing the accident report. However, other parties involved in the accident are also permitted to report the incident.

Reporting a boating accident promptly is not only a legal requirement but also crucial for preserving evidence and ensuring that your rights are protected. Failure to report an accident within the specified timeframes can result in penalties and may potentially weaken your position if you decide to pursue legal action.

Can I file a claim if I was partially at fault for the boating accident?

Yes, you may still be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for the boating accident. California follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that your damages will be reduced proportionally to your degree of fault. For example, if you were found to be 20% responsible for the accident, you could still recover 80% of your damages from the other party or parties involved.

How much does it cost to hire a boating accidents lawyer?

When you work with  Libra Law Firm for your boating accident claim, you won’t have to pay any upfront costs or hourly fees. This is because we operate on a “contingency fee” system. Our legal fees will only be a percentage of the compensation we secure for you. If we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us anything. This arrangement ensures that you have access to top-notch legal representation without worrying about additional financial strain.

Free Consultation with an Orange County Boat Accident Attorney

Whether you’ve been injured due to another boater’s recklessness, a defective vessel, or negligent maintenance, Libra Law Firm is ready to assist you. We fight tirelessly to secure maximum compensation for our clients by holding negligent parties accountable. Our role extends far beyond the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll also connect you to top-notch medical professionals and help you get access to the resources you need for recovery.Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a weekend warrior, you can count on Libra Law Firm to be your fierce advocate. Call (888) 565-3214 today for a free, confidential consultation.

Scroll to Top