There are over 800,000 watercrafts registered in California. Hundreds are involved in boating accidents every year, tragically resulting in hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths.
Boating accidents usually occur due to operator or crew negligence, with alcohol as a factor in one-third of all cases. Motorboats are the most common vessels in these maritime accidents. Sometimes explosions or fires may also occur on commercial vessels resulting in grievous injury or death.
If you were injured in a boating accident, you may have legal rights. The legal process for addressing boating accidents can be complicated with claims that may be addressed by both Federal and California State law.
Unlike personal injury cases, boating accidents involve a particularly complex area of law called Maritime law. It is important that your lawyer understands the nuances of both Federal and California State law surrounding maritime incidents.
You risk losing your rights if proper procedures are not followed.
Maritime Accidents and Federal Law, Jones Act and California Law
A boating accident that results in property damage or personal injury often leads to litigation to determine legal responsibility. A person who is injured could be a guest, passenger, member of a crew, or a bystander un-connected to the vessel. Each have different types of claims and legal remedies.
Additionally, there is both federal and state common law as well as statutes that will apply in maritime incidents. Details such as the nature of the incident, its location, type of claimant, and more have significant impact on a case.
For example, the Jones Act, a federal law enacted in 1920, has bearing on whether a sailor can sue for compensation if they’re injured on the job.
Further, whether the accident occurred in navigable or non-navigable waters can determine if federal or state law applies.
Unlike typical wrongful death cases, DOHSA (Death on the High Seas Act) may govern wrongful death in certain maritime incidents.
It is important to be represented by a law firm and attorneys that understand how the different laws and legal principles apply.
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We're Here to Help
Our team of trial attorneys and investigators know how to navigate the legal complexities of both state and federal maritime law. We understand that boating accidents are traumatic incidents that result in loss and hardship. We’re here to sensitively guide and fight for you through this complicated legal process in a professional and sensitive manner.
Our firm offers free consultations to help you understand your rights. Statute of limitations unfortunately place an expiration date on those rights. Reach out today.
Review some of our past maritime accident cases.
John Doe was motoring aboard his cabin cruiser boat when a portion of exterior railing failed, causing John Doe to plummet overboard. John Doe was unable to stay above water due to injuries from the fall and drowned.
Decedent was kayaking when his vessel was run over by a cabin cruiser exceeding the posted speed limits.
Plaintiff John Doe drowned while on a scuba dive with Defendant Diver. This case presented complex issues of maritime law, negligence, and violation of Fish and Game regulations.
Plaintiffs were invited to sail on the Pacific Ocean by Defendant Owner. Plaintiffs suffered severe back and leg injuries when an improperly secured rigging wrapped around their legs.
Plaintiff onboard a motorboat suffered a partial amputation to her upper extremity due to a defective staircase. She is unable to pursue a career as a physician.
Recent Maritime Accidents
A commercial diving boat catches fire in pre-dawn hours. The flames quickly overtake the boat, tragically killing 34 people. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but preliminary investigations suggests deficiencies in the safety of the boat design and procedures aboard.
Two teenage girls riding a jet ski crash into a boat. Law enforcement arrest the boat driver as part of a DUI investigation. He is charged with murder for sailing his boat in circles around the victims instead of rendering assistance.
A fisherman dies in a freak accident when the propeller shaft snags his clothing and pins him between the shaft and the hull.
A couple ignores a small craft advisory due to choppy waters and attempts to cross the bay in a small rowboat with no life jackets.