Determining Liability After a Boating Accident

September 5, 2019

Any time you’re behind the wheel of any sort of motor vehicle, including a motorboat, it’s important to operate with safety and caution so you can protect yourself and those around you. Boating accidents do happen, and if you’re a victim, you may be able to hold the liable party accountable and recover compensation as part of a personal injury claim.

To be able to recover damages from the liable party, you must be able to prove that your injury resulted from their negligence. Simply suffering an injury does not mean there was negligence involved. For someone to be considered negligent, they must have failed to act in accordance with the standard of behavior expected out of them in that situation. This goes for all boating cases, including boating collisions, one boat hitting another boat’s wake, a boat hitting a stationary object or a boat hitting a wave.

Below we’ll investigate several of these common types of boating accidents. Contact a boating accident attorney in Santa Rosa, CA to learn more.

Collisions between boats

When the injuries result from a direct collision between two boats, it is typical that the operators of both boats will share in the fault for the accident, which means passengers on either of the boats would have cases against both operators. If one of the operators of the boats was injured, he or she may also have a claim against the other operator if they can prove that they were acting negligently.

Hitting another boat’s wake

Hitting a wake can result in a jolt to the boat that can knock passengers off their seat or even overboard, which can result in injuries. Liability for a wake accident can be difficult to determine, but factors that will play a role include the speed at which the boat was traveling, the size of the wake, the boating traffic in the area at the time of the accident, the kind of boat the injured person was in, whether the operator of that boat warned passengers about the wake and whether or not the accident occurred in a no-wake zone.

Accidents with waves have cases that will proceed similarly to accidents caused by a wake, but here there is no other boating operator that could potentially be held liable. Instead, it is only passengers who could potentially have a claim against the single boat operator.

Lack of proper safety equipment

Boating operators are also required to have all the proper safety equipment on board. This includes a life jacket for every passenger, navigational lights, flares, floatable life preservers, fire extinguishers, whistles or horns and other safety equipment. A lack of this equipment may not cause an accident, but it could potentially hinder rescue efforts or make it more difficult to prevent injury if an accident does occur. Therefore, an operator or owner of a boat without that equipment could be considered at least partially liable for injuries that occur in an accident scenario.

For more information about boating accident liability, contact The Law Office of Max G. Arnold, Inc. to speak with an experienced boating accident attorney in Santa Rosa, CA today.

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