Taking a boat ride with friends or a charter company can be fun, but when things go wrong, you need to know you’ll be taken care of. Steven P. Roberts is an avid boater, with several boats he captains on Lake Nacimiento. We understand how boat travel works and what can happen when boaters don’t behave safely.
How boating accidents happen
California does not require a license to operate a boat. While most people on the water have training on how to operate their vessels, you can’t be sure everyone on the water is following the best practices. Boating accidents often result from:
- Inattentive operation — Boating is fun, and too often, a driver will get distracted by something on or off the boat.
- Inexperienced operators — Because you don’t need a license, drivers will often let guests pilot the boat for a while, but if they don’t have sufficient guidance, they can be a hazard to others.
- Excessive speed — Speeding is even more dangerous on a boat than in a car, because you don’t have friction to help you stop. It’s also more difficult for others to get out of your way and avoid a collision.
- Operating under the influence — Alcohol slows reaction time and makes it easier to become distracted while operating a boat. It is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 percent.
Legal rights of the injured
If you were involved in a boating accident, you should file a report with the Division of Boating and Waterways. Depending on what waters your boat was in at the time of the accident, the matter of compensation may go to state or federal court. If you were not at fault for an accident, you are eligible to receive damages for any medical costs, along with lost income or opportunities due to injuries suffered.
Types of accidents and resulting injuries
The consequences of an accident on the water depend on what a boat hits and how it is damaged. Some accidents are more of an inconvenience, while others put lives in danger.
- Grounding — When a boat runs aground, it comes to an abrupt stop, throwing passengers off-balance and damaging the hull of the boat.
- Capsizing — As a boat flips over, people can become trapped underneath, creating a risk of drowning.
- Sinking — If your boat starts taking on water, it’s important to put on a flotation device and get away from the boat before it goes under the surface. Once it does, it will suck nearby people and debris down with it.
- Fuel leak — A boat leaking gasoline or other fuel into the water creates both a fire hazard and a danger of inhaling or ingesting chemicals in the water.
Let us help if you’re in pain or injured after a watercraft accident
Talk to Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Attorney about your accident, who was at fault and the medical care you need. With a team of medical advocates, we determine the compensation you require and fight the insurance companies for payment on your behalf. One office is in downtown San Luis Obispo, just outside of the historical district, and we now have a new location in Fresno to serve clients located in that area. Parking is available. Contact us online or give us a call at 805.250.1511 today.