The first legal challenge you face in the aftermath of a boating accident is proving exactly how the accident happened. A few of the most commonly cited causes of boating accidents in the Los Angeles area include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI). The DUI laws apply to watercraft just as they apply to motor vehicles on land. It is illegal for anyone to operate a boat while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and if they cause an accident in this manner, they face criminal charges as well as civil liability for damages they inflict on others. If a DUI boat operator is responsible for your damages, your Los Angeles boating accident attorney can advise you as to how their illegal misconduct may influence your final case award.
- No-wake zone violations. Some waterways are designated as no-wake zones. This means boat operators must remain at low speeds, so they do not create wakes, or waves emanating from their watercraft. Wakes are especially dangerous for swimmers, but they can also potentially cause accidents with smaller watercraft. When a wake crashes against a smaller vessel, it could cause it to capsize.
- Most waterways and areas where boating is permitted have speed limits that boat operators must obey. Not only does speeding typically cause a wake that could be potentially dangerous, but it can also prevent a boat operator from stopping in time to avoid a collision with another vessel.
- Failure to have proper safety equipment on board. A boat owner is responsible for ensuring their vessel is safe for operation before heading out on the water, and the vessel should also include all necessary safety equipment. Emergency flares, life preservers, and life jackets for each passenger are required, and boat operators must regularly check their safety equipment to ensure it remains in proper working order. For example, a boat operator could be liable for burn injuries suffered by a passenger if they do not have a functional fire extinguisher onboard
No matter how your boating accident happened, your Los Angeles boating accident attorney can be very helpful when it comes to proving the exact cause of the accident and holding the at-fault party accountable for the harm you suffered. Statements from witnesses who saw the accident and other passengers involved in the accident are usually critical to proving fault for this type of incident. A Los Angeles boating accident attorney should work closely with their client to help them recover all evidence needed to firmly establish liability for their damages.
Boating accidents are easily capable of inflicting serious injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain damage, burns, and injuries related to drowning. Once you have successfully proven fault for your boating accident, your Los Angeles boating accident attorney can help identify every type of compensation you can claim from the defendant. For most victims, these damages are likely to include:
- Property damage. If the defendant’s actions damaged or destroyed any of your personal property, you have the right to seek repair or replacement costs with your personal injury claim.
- Medical expenses. When a defendant is responsible for causing physical injuries, they are liable for all medical treatment costs the plaintiff incurs. Your attorney can help hold the defendant accountable for immediate healthcare expenses like hospital bills and ambulance fees as well as long-term healthcare expenses for treatment of severe injuries. For example, if you require ongoing physical therapy or other rehabilitative care, the defendant is responsible for these medical expenses along with your immediate medical treatment costs.
- Lost wages. When you are too injured to work after a personal injury, the defendant who caused the injury is liable for the income you are unable to earn because of their actions. If your injuries caused permanent damage that will prevent you from returning to work in the future, they are also responsible for your lost earning power. Your Los Angeles boating accident attorney can help calculate these projected future losses to enhance your case award.
- Pain and suffering. California law allows the victim of a personal injury to seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering they experienced from the incident. Boating accident injuries can be very painful, and the experience of a boating accident may be traumatic. Your attorney can help determine a suitable amount of compensation to reflect the overall severity of your damages and/or the time it will likely take you to fully recover. There is no cap on pain and suffering damages in boating accident claims in the state.
Ultimately, your case could be worth more than you initially anticipate, and the right attorney on your side enables you to unlock the full potential of your civil claim. The attorneys at Easton & Easton approach every personal injury claim we accept with the goal of helping our client recover as fully as state law allows. We take time to listen to our client’s story and help them determine the optimal path to recovery. When you choose our firm to represent you in a boating accident claim, we can immediately set to work gathering the evidence needed to prove liability and hold the defendant accountable for all the damages they caused.
Q: How Do I Prove Liability for a Boating Accident?
A: Proving fault for a boat accident requires identification of the party responsible for the accident, proof they directly caused the accident through negligence or misconduct, and evidence showing their actions directly caused actual harm. Your Los Angeles boating accident attorney can help gather whatever evidence you may need to firmly establish fault for the accident and hold the defendant fully accountable for the harm they’ve done.
Q: What Happens if a Boat Accident Causes a Fatal Injury?
A: Drowning and other fatal injuries are possible from boating accidents, and if another party is responsible for causing the death of your family member you need to know how you can hold them accountable. A wrongful death suit can replace the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they had survived, and the surviving family may recover various forms of compensation related to the death. The defendant may face criminal charges depending on how they caused the fatal accident.
Q: What Is the First Thing You Should Do After a Boating Accident?
A: If any boating accident happens, state law requires those involved to immediately stop their vessels and remain at the scene of the accident until first responders arrive. You should check yourself for injuries and check the others involved in the crash before making sure someone has called 911 to report the accident. Once you resolve the immediate aftermath of the boating accident, an attorney can help file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing it.
Q: How Long Will It Take to Settle My Boating Accident Claim in Los Angeles?
A: Your Los Angeles boating accident attorney can provide an estimate of how long it could take you to resolve your case based on several variables. If the defendant accepts responsibility for the accident and you have the right attorney handling your case, it may only take a few weeks to settle outside of court. However, if the defendant denies liability or demands a trial, litigation could take several months to complete.
Q: What Are Attorneys’ Fees for Boat Accidents?
A: The attorneys at Easton & Easton accept personal injury cases with contingency fee agreements. This means our client is not required to pay upfront or ongoing legal fees during their case and only pays a fee if we win. If our firm can successfully secure compensation on your behalf, you will only pay a percentage of the total case award as our fee. There is no fee at all if we can’t secure a recovery for your accident for any reason, so there is no financial risk if you choose our firm to represent your case.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have the professional experience and resources you need on your side if you want to streamline your recovery from a boating accident in Los Angeles. Our firm has years of experience helping clients in Los Angeles and surrounding communities with their personal injury cases, including those arising from boating accidents. We can provide the compassionate legal support you need for this type of case, and the sooner you connect with our team the sooner we can start guiding you toward compensation for your damages. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with a Los Angeles boating accident attorney and learn more about the legal services we provide.