Liability in Boat and Watercraft Accidents

Building Out Your Lawsuit in a Boat Accident

Summer activities like swimming, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, and rafting can be dangerous, especially if there’s alcohol involved. Many don’t fully understand basic safety precautions that should be taken when you’re out on the water.

It’s important to do your due diligence when going out on the water depending on your activities. For example, you should understand how to operate the watercraft you’ll be on or make sure that you’re with someone who does. You should also always get a count of who knows how to swim so that you can keep an eye on those who don’t. Keep in mind that drowning is not as dramatic as shown in the movies; drowning victims are often beneath the surface and unmoving. You should also make sure that everyone has the proper safety equipment should you be doing an adrenaline-pumping activity such as whitewater rafting.

There are a variety of accidents that can occur when you’re out on the water, and your personal injury lawsuit will look different depending on the circumstances. The most common accidents are:

  • Collision With Another Recreational Vehicle: Out of 4,064 boating accidents in 2014, 937 of them involved a collision with another watercraft. Even more, 70% of these boating accidents are injurious and require the use of a personal injury attorney in Newport Beach.
  • Flooding and Swamping Accidents: Flooding and swamping actually accounted for most water accident deaths.
  • Collision With a Fixed Object: Driver inattention, inexperience, or alcohol consumption can easily lead to their watercraft colliding with another object out on the water, whether it’s a rock, dock, or buoy. Similar to traffic laws, boating under the influence is considered negligent and that person will be held responsible.
  • Grounding: Sometimes people drive their boats over sandbars and through shallow water and end up getting stuck. This is a very common accident.
  • Skier Mishap: Water skiing is fun, but keeping your grip while a boat is pulling you at a high speed is difficult. A sharp turn, big wave, and fall can easily result in injury.

Whoever holds liability for the accident is the party you sue for compensation. Liability in your boat accident lawsuit will depend on what kind of accident it is, as there are different parties at fault.

Determining Liability

Your boat accident injury claim in California will be based around negligence, and the liable parties change depending on the circumstances of the accident.

Collision with Another Boat

In a collision between two boats, the drivers of the boats are responsible for the accident, and injured passengers on either boat will be able to press charges. Under California’s law of pure comparative negligence, each boat operator will have to pay a percentage of compensation reflective of their percentage of fault.

Hitting Another Boat’s Wake

When a boat hits a big wake or wave, the impact can hurt the passengers or those trailing behind on watercraft. While a boat’s driver cannot necessarily control its wake size, they should be driving the speed limit to minimize large wakes.

Legal liability for a wake accident requires an expert boat crash attorney. Your attorney will tell you the operator’s liability in a wake accident will generally depend on the following:

  • the size of the wake
  • the boat’s speed
  • the visibility
  • the boat traffic in the area of the accident
  • whether the operator warned the passengers that the boat was approaching a big wake
  • whether the injured person was on a motorboat or a sailboat or some other smaller craft

Collision With a Submerged Object, a Rock, or The Land

If someone was driving negligently and they hit something, passengers can be knocked to the ground or overboard. While younger passengers may be fine, older passengers may have broken bones or past injuries that the impact caused to flare up again.

Even in the best of weather and visibility, a boat can hit something just beneath the water’s surface. This is exacerbated when the operator of the boat is distracted or under the influence. However, nautical charts of the area may not be updated to show potential dangers, and in that situation, it’s not the operator’s fault, and instead liability could be placed on the keepers of whatever body of what the accident occurred on.

Faulty Machinery or Safety Equipment

When products don’t work the way they should and lead to injury, the manufacturer should be held responsible. Life jackets, throwable life rings, whistles, and fire extinguishers can mean the difference between life and death, and if they do not work properly, your injury attorney can make the manufacturer the focus of your lawsuit.

Similarly, if a part on the boat’s engine caught fire and caused injury, then whoever designed the mechanical piece should be held accountable.

Contacting an Attorney

If you need legal help for a water accident, look no further than the boat accident lawyers in Newport Beach at Accident Lawyers Firm. Our legal team works around the clock to make sure your lawsuit is iron-clad.

We understand that hospital bills coupled with your inability to work can put a strain on your bank account. We offer free consultations and we are paid on a contingency basis, meaning that you pay nothing out of pocket if you don’t win your case. Don’t miss out on your chance for compensation and call (949) 203-5780 today!

Why is Hiring a Boating Accident Lawyer Important?

Dealing with the repercussions of a boating accident is not only stressful, but not having an attorney on your side to advocate your rights can only result in negative results. Your attorney’s job is to get you maximum compensation for your injuries, so you will never have to pay out of pocket. We deal with every aspect of your case, so you are able to focus on what’s most important, and that is having a full recovery.

We are extremely knowledgeable in the laws, statutes, theories, and jurisdictions that are applicable to these cases, which is why you should never try to handle it on your own because it can definitely jeopardize your case. With every type of evidence that we plan to obtain, we will be able to establish who is at fault for your losses.

Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which is two years. If you do not file a claim within that deadline, you may be unable to recover compensation for your injuries. However, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better the outcome may be for your case.

By searching online for, “boat accident lawyers near me,” you will be able to find an attorney that specializes in these types of accidents in your area. However, if you are in the Orange County area, we can help you from start to finish.

Contact us today for a free consultation and speak to an accident injury attorney Newport Beach to get you the legal help you need.