Have you been injured in a boating accident in San Diego, CA? Boat accidents may not be as common as car accidents, but they can be just as serious. They also follow similar rules on negligence and liability. You may be entitled to fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the at-fault party.
For over 25 years, Mission Personal Injury Lawyers has represented accident victims in San Diego. We will fight to hold the responsible party accountable and recover the full compensation you deserve. Contact our San Diego law firm today at (619) 777-5555 for a free consultation with a San Diego boating accident lawyer who will fight for you.
Table of Contents
How Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Boat Accident in San Diego
A boat accident can quickly transform a fun and relaxing day on the water into a nightmare. As you struggle to recover, you should have to fight with an insurance company for fair compensation for your injuries.
The award-winning personal injury lawyers in San Diego at Mission Personal Injury Lawyers are here to fight on your behalf. We have more than 25 years of experience representing accident victims in San Diego, California. Our injury lawyers have earned numerous accolades, including the Best of the Bar from the San Diego Business Journal. Our reputation and successful track record have also earned us a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating.
Hire Mission Personal Injury Lawyers to represent you in your boat accident claim, and we will:
- Offer the legal advice and guidance you deserve
- Conduct an independent investigation into your accident
- Work with experts to gather and analyze evidence that proves causation and liability
- Accurately value your damages
- Fight back against attempts blame you
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
If a fair settlement can’t be reached, we are not afraid to take your case before a jury. Contact our San Diego, California law office today to schedule your free consultation with a San Diego boating accident lawyer.
How Common Are Boat Accidents in San Diego, CA?
It’s no surprise that California has one of the highest rates of boating accidents in the United States. Its 840 miles of coastline and picturesque rivers and lakes make it an attractive destination for boaters. According to the United States Coast Guard, there were 4,168 boat accidents throughout the country in 2019.
These accidents caused 2,559 injuries and 613 fatalities. Open motor boats were involved in 48% of fatalities. California ranked 4th in the country with 324 serious boating accidents in 2019. About 37 of these accidents were fatal and resulted in 39 deaths.
The Coast Guard found boating fatalities were caused by drowning in 79% of cases (439 out of 613 fatalities) where the cause of death was known. Around 86% of these victims were not wearing a life jacket. Trauma was the second-leading cause of death, with 92 fatalities.
Over 170 accidents involved someone being struck by a boat propeller. These accidents caused 155 injuries and 35 deaths.
The 4,000 plus accidents in 2019 included the following types of accidents:
- Collision with a recreational vehicle or another boat: 1,071 accidents
- Collision with a fixed object: 493 accidents
- Grounding: 413 accidents
- Flooding: 399 accidents
- Falls overboard: 299 accidents
Boating accidents in Southern California account for 55% of boating accidents, 28% of fatalities, and 44% of injuries in the entire state. Most accidents happen on the coastal or ocean waters, not rivers or lakes. San Diego County had 37 reported boating accidents with injuries in 2016, one of California’s highest rates.
San Diego County is home to more than 51,000 registered vessels, about 7% of vessels registered in all of California. San Diego alone accounts for 16% of Southern California boat accidents, most of which occur in San Diego Bay. More than half of people involved in these accidents live in San Diego County, while the others were from outside the area.
What Is My Boating Accident Case Worth?
The value of your boat accident case depends on many factors, and it cannot be estimated without a careful investigation into your accident.
Our San Diego boat accident attorneys will help you understand what your case may be worth during a free case review.
The following factors can influence the value of your claim:
- The severity of your injuries
- The cost of your medical treatment, including future medical needs
- Your lost income, including future lost wages
- The loss of a normal life
- Whether your accident left your disfigured or impaired
- The amount of pain you suffered and the length of your recovery
- Whether liability is clear
- Whether you accident involved gross negligence or extreme recklessness, like drunk boating
What Kind of Damages Are Available to Boat Accident Victims?
When you are injured in a boat accident through someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensatory damages.
This money compensates you for the economic- and non-economic damages you suffered, such as:
- Property damage
- Medical bills, including the anticipated cost of future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost or reduced earning capacity
- Disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Depending on the nature of your accident, you may have a claim against a negligent boat operator or even the owner of a vessel. In some cases, boat manufacturers can be held liable for structural weakness or equipment failure in a boat. If you were hurt as a boat passenger in a collision, capsizing, or overboard accident, the boat owner and/or another negligent party may be accountable.
Can I Recover Compensation if I’m Being Blamed for a Boating Accident in California?
California’s pure comparative negligence system allows you to recover money in an accident if you share fault. Under this rule, you can collect compensation even if you are 99% to blame for a boat accident.
However, damages are reduced directly based on your share of liability. If you suffer $75,000 in damages, but you are 80% at fault, your damages are reduced by 80% ($60,000). You will collect just $15,000.
Insurance companies use this system to their advantage. They may try to shift blame to you or someone else to avoid liability. An experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer will fight against attempts to shift blame onto you.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Boat Accident Injuries
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers will build a case for full compensation for all of the injuries you sustained in your accident.
We represent boating accident victims who have suffered all types of serious and life-changing injuries, such as:
- Back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Catastrophic injuries
- Eye injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
We will also seek compensation for the psychological and emotional harm you have suffered. This may include depression, anxiety, PTSD, and reduced quality of life.
What Causes Most Boating Accidents in San Diego, California?
It’s easy to see how boat accidents happen on open water without lanes or traffic lights, particularly when you consider the number of inexperienced boaters on California waters.
The United States Coast Guard has found that the following are the leading causes of boat accidents:
- Alcohol (282 accidents and 113 deaths in 2019)
- Improper lookout (504 accidents and 26 deaths)
- Operator inattention (546 accidents and 36 deaths)
- Operator inexperience (458 accidents and 39 deaths)
- Speeding (358 accidents and 22 deaths)
- Machinery failure (274 accidents and 18 deaths)
- Violating navigation rules (235 accidents and 21 deaths)
Other primary contributing factors in boat accidents include weather, hazardous waters, and the force of waves or wake.
Alcohol is by far the leading cause of fatal boating accidents in San Diego County. When the cause was known, alcohol contributed to 23% of fatal boat accidents in 2019.
Many boat accidents are the result of boaters without sufficient experience and training. The Coast Guard found just 20% of boat accident fatalities happened on vessels with an operator who received a boat safety education certificate.
The size of the vessel also plays a factor in accidents. Smaller vessels can be harder to control, especially by inexperienced operators. They are also faster and more likely to be operated by intoxicated operators. When the length of the vessel was known to the Coast Guard, 80% of drowning fatalities involved vessels under 21 feet.
How Do I Prove Negligence After a Boat Accident in California?
California has many laws on the use and operation of boats and personal watercraft. There are restrictions on operating under the influence of alcohol, who may operate a watercraft, and more. When someone violates California boating laws through negligence or recklessness, they can be held responsible for your injuries and property damage.
To prove negligence, our San Diego boat accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into your accident. We will work with experts when needed.
Evidence establishing negligence may include:
- Whether the other operator had a required California Boater Card
- Witness testimony
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction specialist
- Photo and video evidence of the scene
- Whether there were citations issued or an arrest made
- Investigation reports by the Coast Guard or marine patrol officers
- Written reports submitted to the Division of Boating and Waterways
- Data from a Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), if available
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to give your case the attention it deserves. We will conduct a thorough independent investigation to gather evidence on negligence and build a persuasive case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Boating Accident in California?
When you have been hurt in a boat accident in San Diego, you have just two years to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. This two-year statute of limitations in California also applies to wrongful death lawsuits.
If you do not file your claim before the deadline passes, you are barred from recovering anything from the at-fault party. Do not delay in pursuing your claim. Contact our San Diego boat accident lawyers to begin investigating your accident and preserving evidence.
Note that accidents involving cruise ships are very different from normal boat accident cases in California. Cruise ship accidents fall under complex maritime law with a much shorter statute of limitations.
Contact a San Diego Boating Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured boating or jet skiing in San Diego, Mission Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you. Our personal injury attorneys will put their decades of experience to work on your behalf to fight for the fair compensation you need.
Contact our law office to schedule your free consultation with our San Diego boating accident lawyers. We will go up against the insurance company for you. You pay nothing out of pocket and no attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for you!