Legal intervention by a personal injury attorney ( http://www.daviddrexlerlaw.com/
To start, proper documentation of a boating accident is essential. When a passenger is lost overboard and never recovered, or the boat itself capsizes and sinks, multiple questions regarding cause go unanswered. This is why California law requires a written report when a boating accident involves the following:
Injuries beyond first aid (e.g., a trip to the emergency room)
When a passenger dies or disappears
When property damage/loss is greater than $500
Timing of the report, submitted to the Department of Boating and Waterways, is critical as well:
Property damage reports ($500+ in damages) must be made within 10 days
Disappearances of passengers must be made within 48 hours
Death of one or more individuals must be made within 24 hours
Failure to make these reports could incur fines up to $1000 or imprisonment up to six months. Of course, an accident report is admissible for proceedings in criminal and civil cases in court. Part of the challenge with boat accidents is to capture and preserve physical evidence; that is why early involvement of expert legal counsel can bolster your chances for a successful legal outcome.
Who is responsible in boat accidents?
The maintenance and operation of a boat or personal watercraft (e.g., Kawasaki Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, Yamaha WaveRunners, etc.) are the responsibility of owners and operators. Unfortunately, more than a third of boating accident fatalities in the California are tied to alcohol consumption. Any form of recklessness or negligence on the part of either owner or operator that is found to be the cause of injury or damage provides grounds for legal action.
A manufacturer can also be held responsible for boating accidents when the boat, personal watercraft, life jackets, fire extinguishers or other equipment fails.
As the majority of boating accidents are preventable, it is important to pursue damages in these cases to the fullest extent by hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who knows and understands the law that governs boating accidents.
R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.
Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.