The California coastline is 840 miles long, has a large number of ports of call, and the state has more than 3000 lakes making it a prime location for marine and maritime industries to attract both commercial and recreational boaters. From sailing to water skiing, and scuba diving to sport fishing, thousands of boats operate all over California waters. As a result, the need for a Jacoby and Meyers maritime lawyer for boat accidents is in high demand.
Filing a lawsuit against a party for any injuries or losses resulting from boating accidents can be extremely complicated. First of all, boating accidents occur in multiple conditions, and include a wide variety of vessel types. Injuries can range from broken bones due to improperly secured objects falling onto people during rough seas, to wrongful death cases filed against an operator that had a boat capsize due to a damaged hull and stabilizers. The distance from shore can also weigh heavily into one’s ability to file a claim with a boat accident lawyer, and dealing with signed waivers and insurance companies can be misleading which is why it is imperative to contact a boat accident lawyer specializing in maritime law.
What is a Maritime Lawyer?
Many local personal injury lawyers represent clients within the state of California’s boundaries which include territorial waters–domains in which California state laws are governed. Maritime lawyers in personal injury firms represent clients who were hurt in boat accidents, and in some cases they help clients get the settlements they deserve when injured in a boating accident that happened in international waters, or in waters located more than 12 nautical miles from the shore line. When you contact a Jacoby and Meyers maritime lawyer for boat accidents, you will be partnering with a specialized attorney that has been helping clients since 1972 receive the compensation they deserve.
Attorneys who work strictly in maritime law also deal with disputes related to salvage rights, pollution, and discrepancies related to the transportation of goods. But a personal injury lawyer with a focus in maritime law only focuses on boating accidents that resulted in injury and personal loss.
How a Boat Accident Lawyer Proves Liability in a Boating Accident Lawsuit
Anyone injured on a boat, whether they are the captain or driver, a passenger, or an employee on a charter, can be entitled to compensation if another boat’s operator was negligent. Additionally, anyone hurt on a boat due to its own negligent operations can also be entitled to compensation for any physical injuries. In order for victims to get compensation, a boat accident lawyer must prove liability. This means an attorney must prove that the accident at hand was caused by negligence.
Common types of boating negligence include:
- Operator/captain under the influence of a substance (drugs or alcohol)
- Operator/captain error (miscalculations, fatigue, distractions, etc)
- Failure to abide by U.S. Coast Guard navigation rules and regulations
- Failure to abide by international maritime regulations
- Not receiving proper maintenance
- Failure to be inspected
- Operating without a license
- Unqualified boat staff
- Lack of safety equipment
At Jacoby and Meyers, a boat accident lawyer will have the experience and resources to investigate all actions involved in the catastrophe. For example, if you were in a head-on collision course with another power-driven boat, and one failed to alter their course to starboard right (standard maritime law) thus clipping your vessel and causing impact resulting in a neck injury, a boat accident lawyer and his or her team will carefully investigate the incident, prove liability, and build your case to help ensure you get the maximum settlement you deserve.
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What Should You Do in a Boating Accident?
Whether you are the captain of a boat that’s been in an accident and you have passengers, or you are riding solo or with a few friends in a sailboat or power-driven boat, the steps that should be taken are nearly identical. Ultimately, the most important thing is to seek immediate medical treatment, but when you are out on the water this can be more challenging than being injured in a car accident. That said, the first thing you will want to do is make sure all of your passengers are safe and accounted for. This could require taking ahead count while confirming any injuries, and ensuring everyone has life vests. In some cases, lifeboats may need to be deployed, and if this is the case passengers should immediately be loaded into them.
After all people are confirmed for and safe, emergency services should be called. Depending on the location of the boating accident, this may require you to call 911 (if you are on a lake, for example) or the Coast Guard (if you are miles out to sea). If the damage to your boat is severe enough that you must abandon, and you are far from shore, be sure to collect survival and emergency equipment such as flare guns, satellite radios, and consumable rations. If you are out at sea and so long as the location is safe, stay near the area where the ship goes down, as you will be easier to locate. If you are in a boating accident on a lake or in the ocean near shore, get to land as quickly and as safely as possible.
If the boating accident involved a collision with another vessel, be sure to collect information. Take down the name of the operator, his license number, his insurance information, the boat’s make and model, and its registration number. You should also take photos, as well as photos of any nearby boats whose operators could be potential witnesses. In the event a hit and run is involved, meaning the other boat sustained little damage and was able to flee the scene, get as many visual identifiers as possible.
Jacoby and Meyers Seeks Compensation For Multiple Boating Injuries
Boating accidents can inflict injuries to any and all parts of the body. These can include burns, broken bones, spinal injuries, lacerations, brain injuries, amputations, and even death. In collisions large, heavy objects can fall onto people. Sometimes the mast of a sailboat can break and topple onto passengers, and in other cases lifeboats or even furnishings can fall onto individuals. If the wiring is faulty, boats cna catch fire and burn passengers. Additionally, negligent staff may let passengers wander onto parts of the boat intended for experienced staff only, and as a result succumb to severe injuries, such as those that result from falling into an active propeller.
Jacoby and Meyers has been defending injured victims for more than 48 years. If you have been injured in a boating accident whether you are the operator, or a passenger, contact a maritime lawyer for boat accidents at Jacoby and Meyers for a free consultation so you can understand your legal rights and begin building a case to seek the highest settlement possible for your pain, suffering, and losses.
Statistics & Liability
Recreational boating is popular throughout the Pacific coast, and especially in California where thousands of boats travel every year. California’s lakes, rivers, and the Pacific ocean offer some of the most beautiful scenery and opportunity for enjoyment, relaxation and recreation for sailors, boaters, fishers and skiers.
Boats range in size from small, personal watercrafts, to ski boats and houseboats. In addition to its recreational uses, California’s waterways serve as vital passageways for commercial vessels like barges.
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Boating Injury Statistics
Unfortunately, with such traffic comes consequential accidents. When someone is operating a boat or other watercraft recklessly, such as while intoxicated, even the most careful boater is at risk of injury or even death.
According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways, from 1999 to 2008, there have been 8,386 boating accidents. Such accidents are extremely dangerous. According to the Department, these accidents have resulted in 4,663 injured persons. This means that if you are involved in a boating accident, there is a 55% chance you will suffer an injury. In addition, 502 people have died in a boating accident from 1999-2008. Aside from the injuries that are sustained in boating accidents, such accidents are extremely expensive. Boating accidents have resulted in over $49,000,000 in property damage from 1999 to 2008.
Liability for Boating Accidents
When an individual victim suffers injuries or even dies (which brings rise to a wrongful death claim) as a result of another’s negligence in a boating accident, the boat operator or owner may be held liable for such damages. In boating accident matters, our attorneys work with a team of investigators and medical experts to reconstruct the accident scene and understand the client’s claim for monetary damages. Our personal injury attorneys will make sure you get the resources to handle your injuries, regardless of whether your accident requires long-term care. We will work to make sure you have the financial resources, support and care to overcome any injuries.
Our attorneys can help you. We work on a contingency basis, which means we do not get paid unless you do. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.