Boating Accident ATTORNEYS
Boating is enjoyed by many Americans, and is particularly popular here in Northern California. However, passengers and operators are often not prepared to handle emergencies that can arise out on the water. When this lack of preparation combines with adverse weather, unsafe operating practices, or outright negligence, the consequences can be severe. The survivors of a boating accident are left wondering who is ultimately responsible, while trying to deal with the resulting medical and financial challenges.
Boat owners and operators have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of crew members and passengers. When they fail in this duty of care, they can be held liable for the ensuing injuries, loss of property, and loss of life.
Since 1992, Penney & Associates has helped Californians win the best possible settlements and compensation in all manner of personal injury claims. Whether you were involved in a boating accident on Folsom Lake,or while floating down the Sacramento River, or anywhere else for that matter, we can help you make your case and win back the peace of mind that you deserve.
YOU CAN AFFORDOUR LEGAL SERVICES
We handle every boating accident case on a contingency basis. Our attorneys are paid a percentage of the damages you recover. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid.
Penney & Associates is ready to fight for you in court, allowing you to focus on your own recovery, and supporting your loved ones through this trying time.
We take cases based on the facts.
Before accepting your case, we review all the facts surrounding your accident, taking into account all available evidence, and we will explain in detail what you need to move forward with your claim. Penney & Associates approaches every case with this attention to detail, giving you the best chance win compensation from those liable for your boating accident.
Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to collect damages.
The judgement of the court is determined by how much responsibility each party had in causing the accident. Even if your are partially at fault, we can still help you win some compensation from other responsible parties.
WHAT ARE COMMON BOATING ACCIDENT CAUSES?
In May 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division released a report detailing 4,291 recreational boating accidents in 2017. These accidents resulted in 2,629 injuries, and 658 deaths.
The top five accidents were as follows:
- Collision with other recreational vessels
- Collision with fixed objects
- Passenger falling overboard.
Of these, falling overboard was the least common type of accident, but also the most lethal. Falling overboard resulted in 179 deaths in 306 recorded accidents, a sharp contrast to the 49 deaths resulting from 1,145 collisions between recreational vessels.
In all of these accidents, drowning has claimed more lives than the next four most common causes of death combined. To combat this, California law requires Coast Guard-approved life jackets to be worn by every child 13 years of age and younger. Additionally, all boats are required to carry at least one life jacket for every person aboard, and that these safety devices be kept in serviceable condition. But despite these requirements, many boating accident deaths result from not wearing a life jacket.
Operator negligence is the leading contributing factor in boating accident injuries and deaths
Whether an accident occurs while a vessel is in motion or while tied to a dock, operator negligence is the leading common factor contributing to all types of boating accidents. Negligence is trailed by improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and alcohol use.
These contributing factors exacerbate the safety hazards that are an inherent part of operating recreational watercraft. A lack of respect for the water can prove fatal, regardless if the boat is a small powered raft, or a much larger vessel capable of carrying dozens of passengers. But boats themselves can present a serious danger to everyone aboard. Improperly maintained electrical systems can spark fast burning fires, while old and worn fuel lines can allow for a build up of fuel fumes, resulting in devastating boat explosions.
But the ultimate common factor in all of these accidents, regardless of the type, is negligence: failing to maintain a boat or follow proper safety procedures while aboard, or failing to provide or wear life jackets. Many such tragedies can be prevented simply by being attentive.
WHY YOU WANT TO HIRE A BOATING ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
A boat accident can be the result of many different factors, and victims may have to deal with a variety of challenges when filing a claim, depending on the circumstances. An accident on a privately owned boat will likely require you to deal with the owner’s insurance company, in addition to your own. The conduct of both the boat operator and the victims will be scrutinized by claims adjusters, who will look for anything that can be used to limit payouts.
But if the boating accident occurred aboard a tour boat, defendants may have access to powerful legal representation, who pose yet another obstacle in addition to insurance companies. A claim against a company operating a boat can drag on for some time as they attempt to contest every aspect of the lawsuit.
If the operator can prove that they were not the primary contributor to the accident, the manufacturer of the boat is another factor to consider. They may be responsible for the design flaws and equipment failures that caused the accident. Furthermore, they could have known about these design flaws, but failed to notify boat owners of these flaws. However, it can take months, even years to prove that manufacturer negligence was a direct cause of the accident.
Penney & Associates’ attorneys have the experience needed to help cut through the challenges these factors pose to boating accident claims. Consulting with an attorney as soon as you can after a boating accident can ensure that your lawsuit succeeds, in or out of court.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU WIN YOUR CASE
Every case begins with a consultation. Our attorneys will interview you about the particulars of your accident, make certain that you have a case, and explain what additional information you need before you start the process of filing a lawsuit.
After taking on your case, we will walk you through the process of filing the claim. We’ll help keep track of the paperwork, ensuring that everything is filed on time. We will act as your representative even before your case goes to court, fielding phone calls from opposing counsel and insurance companies. Throughout all this, we will interview other witnesses, and if necessary retain the services of independent experts in order to recreate the accident.
Penney & Associates attorneys are accomplished trial lawyers, with a proven track record of success. We have represented thousands of clients in court, winning millions in compensation in both settlements and jury awards.
WHAT YOU CAN DOTO PREPARE TO FILE A BOATING ACCIDENT CLAIM
A boating accident can happen with little warning, and it can take months before you fully recover from your injuries. However, there are still things you can do to prepare for a lawsuit even during that time.
- Get witness contact information - The personal accounts of witnesses or other victims can be powerful evidence for a boating accident claim.
- Take pictures - In the immediate aftermath of the accident, or in the weeks that follow, taking pictures of the boat can be of great value. Never put yourself at risk to do so, but if at all possible, try to get photos. Personal recollections can fade over time, but a photo or video can supplement what you do remember.
- Maintain your financial statements - From hospital bills to banking statements, anything that can show the financial and medical hardships you incurred from the accident will go a long way towards supporting your claims.
- Avoid posting on social media - It is an unfortunate fact that insurance companies (and defense lawyers) can and will try to go through your social media profiles, as well as those of your friends and family, when trying to disprove personal injury claims. Pictures, in particular, can be used against you, especially when posted out of context. If your injuries left you bedridden or otherwise physically debilitated, but you have posted photos of yourself being active in any way, they can be used to get your case thrown out.
- Direct insurance claims adjusters to your attorney - Claims adjusters are trained to interview accident victims when they are most vulnerable in order to record statements from them. This is often done in the guise of simply attempting to gather information. However, they will look for anything contradictory to your claim, from simple changes in the wording used to describe your injuries, to inconsistencies in what you remember. We strongly recommend directing insurance companies to your attorney until your case is settled.