Los Angeles Boating Accident Lawyer
The experienced Los Angeles boat accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase have a long and successful track record of representing seriously injured victims and their families. We have a 99% success rate when it comes to winning personal injury cases.
Our team of attorneys, paralegals, and support staff are committed to providing the highest level of customer service to our clients and their families.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an LA County watercraft accident, please contact our personal injury offices at (323) 238-4683 and schedule a free consultation.
Common Watercraft Collision Questions
You should immediately contact a boat collision attorney in Los Angeles. A lawyer will inform you of your rights and how much compensation you are entitled to.
Every boat accident differs, so for this reason there is not a standard amount that every injury victim receives. The amount you win will be dependent on the level of injuries and property damage you have experienced.
One of the most prominent causes of boating accidents is inattentive driving. Many boat operators are either under the influence or distracted by speaking to others on board. Do not take your eyes off the path.
Boating Accident Statistics
According to the California State Parks Boating and Waterways, there were 19 watercraft accidents over a one year span in Los Angeles County. In the Southern Coast of California altogether there have been 195 accidents annually.
Los Angeles has 80,815 registered boats, giving LA more registered boats than any other county in California. Fatalities and injuries are not uncommon as well.
In one incident, a man determined to be aged in his 50s was found with his boat off the coast of Long Beach. Witnesses reported to authorities that the boat was flipped over. The man was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Bodies of Water in LA County:
- Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area
- Malibu Creek Rock Pool
- Baldwin Lake
- Castaic Lake
- Pyramid Lake
- Lake Piru
Types of L.A. Watercraft Collisions
Boating is an exhilarating way to beat the heat and enjoy fun and togetherness on the water. However, it is important to remember that boating can get extremely dangerous very quickly. An accident on the water can prove catastrophic or even fatal.
Parasailing accident: According to the Parasail Safety Council, within a 30 year period, 1,800 people were injured in parasailing accidents. The cause of these accidents is harsh winds, unmaintained safety harnesses, or a faulty towline. A towline is a rope that connects the parachute to the boat. If the rope is worn, it can lead to the parachute detaching itself from the boat.
Collisions: A motorboat is one of the most common types of watercraft that is involved in accidents. This type of boat is powered by an engine and, if not cautiously operated, incidents can occur. Speed is one of the many causes that have been a part of a collision. The state of California mandates that a motorboat should stick to a speed limit of 5 MPH or idle speed, within 200 feet of shore.
Jet ski incidents: Since jetskis are smaller and have less protection than a motorized boat, defensive driving is a must. Jetski drivers also need to wear the proper equipment while operating their watercraft. Safety equipment should include a life vest, a ventilation system, and a fire extinguisher approved by the Coast Guard.
Causes of California Watercraft Crashes
There are many reasons an accident on the water can happen. The highest percentage of water-based accidents is from inattention of the driver. Things can happen and environments can change in the blink of an eye when you are out on the water.
If you are not paying attention for a fraction of a second, you could miss your turn, run ashore, hit another vessel, water hazard, object or worse, a human being. The main causes include:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failure
- Alcohol use
- Navigation rules violation
- Force of wave or wake
- Hazardous waters
- Distracted operator
- Reckless driving
- Mechanical defect
- Stunt driving or controlled maneuvers
The Duty of Los Angeles Boat Owners
As with motor vehicles, watercraft owners have the responsibility to keep others safe. Owners are to have their watercraft registered and are also required to have a boating license in the state of California.
Basic maritime laws in California:
- Those looking to have a boaters license must be 16 years of age (those who do not carry the card can potentially be fined)
- Boats that are at the length of 16 feet or more must carry personal flotation devices (life jackets)
- Boating under the influence is against the law, meaning anyone caught operating a watercraft who has an alcohol content of .08% or greater could be fined or jailed
Liability, Insurance & Legal Options
After seeking out medical attention, you may begin to wonder how you will pay for the many damages you have suffered. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may be able to seek support from the insurance provider of the other boater. It is common, however, for boaters and insurance providers to deny responsibility. If this happens to you, it may be necessary to explore your legal options.
You have the right as the injured victim of a Los Angeles boat accident to appeal the decision of an insurance company and to file a claim in court. For victims of serious injuries, civil litigation against the at-fault boater is often the only way to receive fair compensation.
Types of Vehicles Covered
There are many types of accidents that can occur on the water. Whether you’re enjoying a lake, the ocean, rivers, inlets, bays or even large ponds, creeks or streams. Vehicles that are typically involved in water-based accidents can include:
- Motorized Boats
- Inboard Engines
- Outboard Engines
- Personal Watercrafts
- Jet Skis
- River Boats
- Jet Boats
- Commercial Boats
- Fishing Boats
- Dive Boats
- Oil Tankers
- Patrol Boats
- Row Boats
- Steam Boats
- Charter Boats
DUIS & Boating Collisions
The same rules apply whether you are intoxicated and driving a car, boat, motorcycle or personal watercraft. If you’re at or above a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%, you could be hit with penalties, fines, and punishments including:
- Thousands of dollars in fines and penalties
- License restriction or suspension
- Treatment programs and workshops
Repeat offenders who are caught operatin a boat while under the influence multiple times can be subject to more intense punishments and fines.
If you have been involved or have lost a loved one due to a drunk driver, let the experienced team of lawyers at Bisnar Chase be there for you and your family.
Watercraft Crash Injuries in Los Angeles
Recreational boat collisions or watercraft accidents can result in injuries similar to those suffered in car accidents. However, in these cases, there is the additional danger of drowning.
Unless the victim is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, there is the potential risk of drowning. These types of serious, life-changing boating injuries can occur at a moment's notice. Therefore, it is important for all operators and passengers to exercise safe riding habits.
- Lost limbs: Victims may sustain severe lacerations and amputations if they come into contact with a propeller or other sharp object. If a person were to fall over and the boat was to still be running with a propeller, the victim can potentially lose limbs when going under.
- Traumatic head injury: Victims of Los Angeles boating accidents could sustain brain injuries in a high-impact collision, especially when an individual's head hits the interior of a boat.
- Spinal cord injuries: Fractures to the spine can occur on impact in a watercraft accident. Spinal cord injuries can also happen if the spine is compressed. When the watercraft jolts up and down on the water, if the waves are strong it can cause crush injuries within the back.
What to do After a Boat Crash
After a recreational boat accident, many are scared and confused. It can be tough to know what actions to take. First and foremost, it is crucial that you seek medical treatment immediately. The lives of your passengers should be made a priority.
Other steps to take include:
- Make sure everyone is safe: If you are involved in a boating accident, it is important that you quickly determine if anyone has been hurt. If any injuries have been suffered, the authorities must be notified. Get the victims out of the water and wait for emergency services.
- Collect information: You should exchange information with any other boaters involved and get the contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Witnesses are very important and will benefit your case. Before you begin to forget important details, write down everything you remember about the collision. It is also important that you get prompt medical attention and document your injuries.
- Speak to a Los Angeles boat accident lawyer: After all of the information is recorded and necessary actions are taken, contact Bisnar Chase for immediate assistance. Our Southern California watercraft collision attorneys can inform you of the rights you have as a victim and can win you the maximum compensation for your incident. Call (323) 238-4683 for a free case analysis.
How to Stay Safe While on a Watercraft
Not all accidents can be avoided completely. But there are ways you can lessen your chances of being injured and keep your passengers safe. Safety measures you can take can include:
Make sure you have the proper safety equipment on the boat: First and foremost, everyone who is on a craft must wear a life jacket. Even individuals who are simply coasting at a low rate of speed should wear a life jacket so that they are protected in the event of an accident or a collision. Wearing a jacket will help keep you afloat in the event of a crash, even if you lose consciousness. It is advisable for anyone who wants to operate a craft to take a boating safety course. A refresher course can help even the most experienced boater avoid a crash. When behind the controls, make sure you only travel at a speed that is safe for the conditions on the water and that you’re capable of. When there are multiple boats nearby, slow down.
Boat maintenance: If you own a watercraft, vessel, or boat, you should regularly perform routine maintenance to ensure it is properly functioning. Making sure your boat does not have any current or outstanding recalls, defects, or issues that could result in a boating accident. There are a number of things to check that must be in working order. If repair or maintenance is needed, it is better to have completed it before you head out on the water. Check out the entire detailed Semi-Annual Boating Maintenance Checklist for more details. Here is a general list of important items to check:
- Electrical System
- Fuel System
- Corrosion Prevention
- Navigation Lights
- Bilge Pumps
- Safety Equipment
- Personal flotation devices (PFDs)
- Fire Extinguishers
- Ground Tackle (Anchors, etc.)
Check weather conditions: The National Safety Council reported that in one year, on boats, there was $46 million in property damage that was caused by factors such as hazardous weather conditions. Boat owners need to understand the laws and the safety regulations when taking their craft out on the water. One of the most important pieces of knowledge you need to have is when it is safe to ride. You can not just rely on a direct visual of what the weather looks like right in front of you. You also need to check weather and water reports. Boaters who are looking for a legitimate weather channel to use for updates can go to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). When the wind and rain pick up, dock your boat until the weather improves. When it is safe to get out on the water, make sure you have a spotter. It can be easy to overlook small watercraft and swimmers. Your spotter should help you survey the surrounding area.
Los Angeles Boat Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
If you or someone you know was injured in a boating accident, please contact our law firm to speak with one of our Los Angeles boat accident lawyers. To communicate with an attorney immediately, call today for a free case evaluation.
Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
6701 Center Drive West, 14th Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90045