Boat AccidentsJames McKiernan Boat Accident Lawyers Representing the Seriously Injured
Boating accidents can cause serious property damage and severe injuries. Nationally, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were 4,463 recreational boating accidents that resulted in “701 deaths, 2,903 injuries and approximately $49 million in damages” in 2016. Of those, 588 accidents occurred in the state of California according to the California Division of Boating and Waterways (CDBW). In many instances, a boat accident can be as devastating as a high-speed car accident. Additionally, like a vehicle collision, you may be able to file a personal injury claim after a boat crash. If you or a loved one have been involved in a boating accident, then protect your legal right to compensation by retaining accomplished boat accidents attorneys in California. Whether you have been involved in a small boating collision or a major cruise ship accident, the California boat accident lawyers at James McKiernan Lawyers offers intelligent legal counsel for boat accident victims. For over 40 years, the talented attorneys of our firm have taken over 30,000 cases — resulting in over $300 million in damages rewarded to clients.
Allow an expert to ensure that your rights are being upheld and that you receive a settlement which will comfortably allow you to get back to your life.
Do I Have Grounds for a Boating Accident Lawsuit?
When you sit down with a boat accident lawyer to discuss your case, he or she will determine if you have a claim worth pursuing. The attorney may ask you detailed questions about the accident itself, your injuries, property damage and medical treatment.
In order to adequately determine the validity of the case, your attorney may ask you several critical questions about the accident, such as:
- Was the captain intoxicated?
- Was the driver of the boat driving at an excessive speed?
- Did the boat, its parts or safety equipment malfunction, resulting in the accident?
- Was the boat operator in compliance with state, federal and local boating laws?
- Had the boat been maintained properly?
- Were all baggage and materials properly stored?
- Was there a fire or an explosion?
- What kind of vehicle was the driver operating: a motorboat, cruise ship, sail boat, Jet Ski or Wave Runner?
When applicable, the lawyer may work in tandem with the boat driver’s attorney (or the individual if they elect not to hire an attorney) to obtain any appropriate records — such as proof of routine maintenance.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents?
While a few boating accidents are caused by a vehicle malfunction, most are the result of boating negligence. In other words, the captain’s actions (or inaction) is most often what led to the accident.
Boating negligence has many forms, the four most common being:
- Drunk driving: When it comes to alcohol, the same rules that apply on the road apply on the water as well. According to estimations from the CDPW — approximately 25 percent of all motorboat-related fatalities are a result of the drunken operation of a boat. Even with a BAC of .035% (which equates to roughly one or two drinks), a boater’s ability to operate a watercraft is impaired. It is a good idea to appoint a designated driver when drinking is involved — just as you would on land.
- Unqualified/Inexperienced driver: It requires skill, practice and patience to learn how to captain a boat well. If a driver is not qualified to operate a boat, then the risks are higher that he or she will cause an accident.
- Bad weather conditions: This can include anything from storms to natural disasters. To ensure everyone’s safety, always check and monitor weather reports before (and during) your voyage.
- Equipment failure: This can be due to a preventable malfunction. If the driver of the boat failed to maintain the marine vehicle regularly and that is the cause of the accident, then the driver can be held liable. As a safeguard against these types of accidents, boat owners should always prepare for outings by checking all necessary parts and ensuring that all inspections and routine maintenance have been performed.
Have Questions? Call Today for a Complimentary Consultation
When a leisurely day on the water turns into tragedy, the boat accident lawyers at James McKiernan Lawyers are here to help. During your consultation, an experienced attorney will answer all of your questions and address your concerns — reviewing all the details of your boating accident and providing legal advice on how to proceed — so you can feel confident proceeding with a civil case. From the initial claim to the final judgment or settlement, we are here for you every step of the way.
For a free initial consultation, contact our law firm to schedule an appointment.