How to Determine Liability in a Boating Accident

personal injury | May 19, 2023

When a boat accident occurs in California, it is not uncommon for individuals involved to sustain significant injuries. If these injuries are caused by the careless or negligent actions of a boat owner or operator, or some other party involved, victims should be able to recover compensation. Here, we want to discuss how liability gets determined after a boat accident as well as the types of compensation that may be available if a claim is successful.

How to Determine Liability in a Boating Accident

Proving Negligence for the Boat Accident Claim

Determining liability after a boat accident occurs is a challenging process. We strongly encourage you to contact a boat accident lawyer in Sacramento who can help you with this process soon after the incident occurs. An investigation needs to commands quickly in order to obtain and preserve any evidence that could disappear or get accidentally discarded.

An initial investigation can include photographs of the incident, including damage to the boat or any other object, injuries, and possible causes of the boat accident. There may be surveillance footage of the incident, depending on where the accident took place. Importantly, statements from eyewitnesses should be taken as soon as possible, and their names and contact information need to be written down so they can be spoken to again.

Proving negligence for a boat accident claim in California often requires a deeper dive than the evidence gathered right after the incident occurs. Boat operator or boat owner liability could involve going through safety and maintenance records related to the boat as well as training records of the boat operator. This becomes particularly important for incidents that occur on a rented boat or a boat captained by a recreational company.

In some cases, it may be necessary to work with trusted accident reconstruction experts who can accurately look at the data and use 3D computer models to show an insurance carrier or personal injury jury what likely occurred. Medical experts may be needed to corroborate whether or not the injuries are consistent with the facts of the case.

Liability for a boat accident could fall to various parties, including:

  • Boat owners and operators
  • Recreational companies
  • Dock workers and maintenance personnel
  • Other individuals on the boat
  • Boat manufacturers

Types of Compensation Available

There may be various types of compensation available for boat accident victims in California. When an attorney is involved in your case, they will strive to recover both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

For a boating accident, economic damages revolve around expenses that can be calculated by gathering receipts or bills that the victim receives in the aftermath. Some of these damages include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Coverage of all medical bills associated with the incident
  • Compensation for various household out-of-pocket losses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings for a victim
  • Property damage expenses

Non-Economic Damages

These types of losses are more subjective than the economic damages we mentioned above. These losses revolve around examining how the injury and the recovery affect the victim. Non-economic damages include payments for physical and emotional pain and suffering a boat accident victim injuries as well as loss of quality of life damages.

An experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento can help you through this entire process, including investing the claim, speaking to other parties involved, and handling a trial if one becomes needed.