Fresno Boating Accident Lawyers
Boating and water sports are very popular in Fresno County. Throughout the entire year you can find boats and jet skis in beautiful waterways such as Millerton Lake, Pine Flats, Huntington Lake, Shaver Lake and the Wishon Reservoir. The majority of boating excursions do not result in accidents or injuries, but accidents involving boats and watercraft can and do occur. When Fresno boating accidents result from operator negligence, the at-fault driver can be held accountable for the injuries suffered by the victims.
Compensation for Injured Victims
If you have been injured in a boating or watercraft accident in Fresno, you need the counsel and guidance of an experienced Fresno watercraft accident lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases before. Boat accident victims need someone on their side who will fight for their rights and ensure that fair and full compensation is available to them. The skilled boating accident lawyers at BISNAR CHASE can help you get justice and the fair compensation you rightfully deserve. Our law firm has a unique program, whereby you do not pay any costs or fees until we win for you. To obtain more information about pursuing your rights, please contact us for a free and comprehensive consultation.
Watercraft Accident Prevention
The majority of boating accidents involve collisions with other vessels. The best way to prevent a Fresno watercraft accident is to operate your boat in a safe manner. It is also advisable to:
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard certified life jacket.
- Never operate a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Take a boater safety course.
- Avoid boating when the waterway is overly congested.
- Head into dock if it starts raining heavily or if it is excessively windy or choppy.
- Use lights when it starts to get dark.
- Understand the capabilities and limits of your vessel.
- Never turn directly behind another watercraft where someone might be water-skiing, tubing or knee boarding.
- Always use a spotter to help you look for potential hazards.
Reporting a Boating Accident
State law requires boaters who are involved in an accident to file a written accident report with the Division of Boating and Waterways. A report must be filed in cases where there is death, disappearance or injury requiring medical attention beyond first aid; damage to a vessel or property in excess of $500 or complete loss of vessel regardless of value. Reports must be submitted to DBQ within 48 hours if an accident involves death, disappearance and injury beyond first-aid. The operator, owner or any other party involved in the accident should complete a boating accident report (Form BAR-1).
Injuries Suffered in Boating Accidents
Even the safest boaters can be involved in an accident. This is why boat operators and passengers must wear a life jacket at all times. Drowning is one of the most common consequences of boating accidents. Additionally, victims of boating accidents may suffer other serious injuries such as bone fractures and traumatic brain injuries if they are thrown into the side or interior of the boat. They can also suffer severe laceration injuries if they come into contact with a propeller. These types of injuries can have and long-lasting consequences.
Understanding Your Rights
Victims of watercraft accidents have the legal right to seek monetary compensation for their injuries, damages and losses. If you have been injured in a Fresno watercraft accident, it is advisable to file a report, gather contact information from the other boat operators and eyewitnesses, to take photos of the vessels and to seek out medical attention as soon as possible. You should keep records of your losses including property damage and medical bills. It would also be a good idea to keep a journal of your struggles related to the accident. Were you unable to perform chores around the house? Were you unable to play with your children? Were you forced to hire help because you could not perform certain normal duties? These types of losses should be included in your personal injury claim and keeping a journal will help document them.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Boating Accident?
There are several parties that could be held potentially liable in a Fresno boating or watercraft accident. In cases where a boat operator or watercraft operator is negligent, he or she could be held liable for the incident. When a commercial boating operator causes an accident, his or her employer can also be held liable. When a government-owned or government-operated vessel causes or contributes to a boating accident, the governmental agency responsible for that vessel could be held accountable as well. Boating and watercraft accidents are also caused by defective products. When a defective watercraft or faulty part causes an injury accident, the manufacturer of the watercraft or the maker of the defective part can also be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused.
How Common Are Fresno Boating Accidents?
The number of accidents, injuries and fatalities related to boating in Southern California has dropped consistently over the past few years. According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways, there were 473 boating accidents, 247 injuries and 53 deaths on California's waterways in the year 2012. That is a significant drop from the 963 accidents, 502 injuries and 61 deaths reported in boating accidents in the year 2003. In Fresno County, there were seven watercraft accidents, two injuries and no fatalities in the year 2012.