The injuries and expenses you face after a boat accident can make your life feel like a sinking ship. But a San Jose boat accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
With over 12 million registered watercraft in the United States—many of them in the Bay Area—boat accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, these accidents can quickly become tragic when someone drowns or is otherwise injured. Whether you boat as a vocation or for leisure, getting into a boating accident can cause tremendous injury.
If you’re not responsible for the accident, you may find yourself wondering what legal options you have to get the compensation you need. An experienced San Jose boat accident lawyer with Bohn & Fletcher, LLP can help you worry less about patching up your losses and focus more on recovering from your injuries.
First Steps After a Boating Accident
In California, those involved in a boating accident must report the incident to the Division of Boating and Waterways.
The exceptions to this reporting requirement include the following:
- If no medical attention was needed
- If the damages to the watercraft amounted to less than $500
If anyone dies or goes missing as a result of the boating accident, a report must be submitted promptly.
A common misconception is that Californians must carry boat insurance; there is no formal requirement. But many boat owners who lease or otherwise decide to not outright buy their vessels find that the firm financing the purchase requires insurance.
Still, some boating accidents will involve at least one boater who doesn’t have an insurance company to cover the costs of property damage, medical bills, and other damages. That can complicate the process of getting the compensation you’re owed and highlights the need for a qualified attorney.
Taking on the Insurance Company
If you need the insurance company to compensate you for your boat accident injuries, you’re going to want someone with legal knowledge and experience on your side.
That’s because insurance companies are often reluctant to give boat accident victims the compensation they deserve. Despite how they might advertise themselves, insurance companies are still businesses that are primarily concerned with making a profit.
Anything an insurer gives you for your boat accident can take away from those profits, so you’re likely to meet some resistance from the insurer.
However, you shouldn’t blindly accept the first offer the insurer makes. Insurance companies are notorious for offering settlements that fall far short of boat accident victims’ needs.
Instead, let a San Jose boat accident lawyer handle the insurance company for you. Our attorneys know how to fight insurers’ tactics and get you the compensation you need.
Determining Liability in a Boat Accident
Your attorney will need to determine whose fault the boat accident was in order to build a successful claim.
As part of that process, we will need to examine the evidence, which can include reports from law enforcement, photos or video of the accident, and witness statements.
The following factors may also play a part in determining who is liable for a boat accident:
- Intoxication – Like intoxicated drivers on land, boaters can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI). When BUI is involved, the boater can be found responsible for your accident.
- Age – Boats can carry many passengers, but when the licensed boater allows an underage person to steer the boat, that could be considered negligence in the event of an accident.
- Boating Safety – Was the other boater safely controlling the boat? If the boater was going too fast, for example, he or she could be held liable for your accident.
- Other Causes – Sudden bad weather and other conditions beyond boaters’ control can also play a part in boat accidents.
Sorting Out Damages
Your San Jose boat accident lawyer can help you determine what damages you should pursue from the person who was responsible for your boat accident.
Of course, the damages you name in your claim will depend on the extent of your injuries and their effect on your daily life. Some common damages related to boat accidents include the following:
- Loss of wages and ability to work
- Current and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Damage to your watercraft
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of mobility
Get in Touch with a Lawyer
If your watercraft has been involved in an accident, you’re likely going to need some legal help getting the compensation you need for your property damage, medical bills, and other hardships.