Southern California offers boating enthusiasts a plethora of beautiful options to enjoy their favorite pastime, including San Diego and Mission bays and the city’s inland waters. The state enjoys the water sport, with nearly one million people registering boats in the area. Thousands of people use the state’s waters for sailing, waterskiing, and fishing. All that activity means the likelihood of an accident is high. If you do have an accident, always consult with a San Diego boating accident lawyer to have the right expertise for your case.
What is Considered a Boat Accident in CA?
According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways (CDBW), a boating accident involves certain incidents. To be called an accident, an incident must result in the death of a person, a person vanishing, injury that requires care beyond first aid, damage to property (to include other boats, docks, structures, etc.) that exceeds $500, or a total loss of the vessel.
Types of Boating Accidents
The type of accident that might befall a boater differs from other kinds of accidents owing to the diverse boating activities available California. Boat enthusiasts could face any number of accidents, including:
- Boats capsizing
- Collisions with other vessels or structures
- Sinking or flooding of the boat’s interior
- Fire or explosions from impact
- Incorrect use of boat
- Disappearance of a passenger, or someone falling overboard
Causes of Maritime Accidents
Several factors contribute to boating accidents. A boat driver may operate the vessel in a careless or reckless manner that places everyone at risk. Passengers, devices, or any number of other activities may distract the boat’s driver. During operation in questionable waters, the vessel may fail to employ adequate lookout to protect the ship from damage. A boat operator may lack the necessary experience to use the boat in all situations, leading to an accident. Even if the operator has experience and is not distracted, passengers or other people interacting with the boat may behave improperly, making it difficult to navigate.
Alcohol plays a huge role in California boat accidents, as the substance inhibits reaction time for operators just as it does for drivers. While the federal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is set to .08%, in California, a boat’s operator can face charges if he or she measures as little as .05% BAC.
San Diego Ferry Accidents
What’s your plan for a lawyer if you or loved ones are injured in a San Diego County ferry accident? You’ll need a powerful ally in the fight against private transit companies. They have deep financial resources and will be unwilling to pay out for accident-related injuries. You also need someone with legal knowledge and an aggressive, uncompromising stance to help you negotiate for a settlement or take your case to trial. A competent personal injury lawyer will spare no expense in hiring experts, investigating the circumstances of your accident, and building a strong case. It can be difficult to prove liability in the case of San Diego County ferry accidents, but the law firm of Estey Bomberger can give you the best possible chance at winning the settlement you deserve.
Though rare, San Diego County ferry accidents do occur. In late March of 2016, a Hornblower whale watching vessel smashed into the pier at the Embarcadero in San Diego. A mechanical malfunction caused the incident: a throttle became jammed in the forward position, prohibiting the vessel from slowing down, and it crashed into the pier at speed. Seven people were taken to the hospital for neck and back injuries, and the pier and bow of the ship received serious damage.
What you must prove to win your Ferry Injury Case?
First, you must prove that a relationship existed between you and the ferry company. This is easy to establish. If you paid for a ticket aboard a ferry or a water taxi, then an unspoken contract exists between you and the ferry company: they are honor-bound to transport you to your destination safely.
Second, you must prove that the ferry company failed to conduct its affairs in a reasonably safe or serviceable manner. This is often done when your San Diego County ferry accidents attorney hires transportation officials and other experts to establish a “standard of conduct.” By interviewing these knowledgeable individuals, your attorney will make the case that there was a certain reasonable “standard of conduct” which was violated by the ferry company which caused your injuries.
Finally, it must be shown that the ferry company’s failure to live up to the standard of conduct caused an accident, and that accident grievously harmed you or your family. This harm can take various forms. It may be physical, such as a terrible injury. This injury may have altered your lifestyle until you can no longer enjoy the hobbies or pastimes you once loved. Your damages may be financial—your hospital bills may be sky-high, or you lost wages due to being hospitalized. Your damages may also be emotional, if the accident was traumatic and psychologically scarring. Under certain circumstances, you may claim some or all of these damages in civil court.
How do I Practice Safety While Using a Watercraft?
If you take part in any kind of water sporting activity, it’s best to do so during daylight. Know the rules for the area as well as California’s laws for boating, then follow them. In addition, follow these steps to increase your safety and that of those around you:
- Take your boat in for inspection, which the U.S. Coast Guard offers free.
- Participate in a boat safety course.
- Check the weather prior to heading out.
- Log a boat plan with someone so, if something happens, authorities can find you quickly.
- Leave the alcohol on shore.
- Wear a life preserver at all times and require crew and passengers to do the same.
- Do not exceed recommended safe speeds and keep on alert for hazards.
- Make sure everyone on board knows their roles and what to do in an emergency.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector at appropriate points in your vessel.
- Be aware of special rules or recommendations for navigation in specific areas. Don’t be caught by surprise.
San Diego Boating Accident Lawyers – Free Consults!
The law firm of Estey & Bomberger can help you seek justice. We have the resources and the know-how to thoroughly research your case, get the best possible expert testimony, and win a record-setting settlement. Our focus is second to none—we take only a few cases every year, so we can give yours the attention and special care it deserves. We also take cases on a contingency basis, and you won’t pay a penny unless we win.
If you do have an accident, consult with a San Diego maritime accident attorney to explore all options and protect you from fraudulent claims. Our San Diego boating accident attorneys are ready to discuss your case. Contact them for a free consultation today! (619) 295-0035