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California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways, reports that well over 50,000 boats are registered in San Diego County, representing more than seven percent of all the boats registered in the state. Each year, dozens of boating accidents occur in San Diego County, some of which result in injuries and fatalities.
With high boat traffic in San Diego Bay, if you enjoy boating in the area, you may one day experience a boating accident. If you have already experienced this unfortunate reality and suffered injuries in a San Diego boating accident, you may seek compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party.
The experienced boating accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys understand how severe injuries devastate boating accident victims and their families, and we are here to help. You should not have to deal with economic strife on top of the pain and stress of your injuries. Contact us online or call now for a free consultation to discuss the details of your boating accident, your injuries, the way they have impacted your life, and the best course of action given your circumstances.
A boating accident can be caused by various events that lead to property damage to a boat, injuries, and/or fatalities.
According to California State Parks, the most common types of boating accidents in Southern California and San Diego include:
Like the vast majority of traffic accidents, boating accidents are preventable. Specific causes vary, but on a broad level, most boating accidents occur because of negligence.
Specific factors that lead to boating accidents in San Diego and throughout California include:
Boating accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, depending on the specific type of accident. The most recent state data shows that boat collisions and boat fires are the most common boating accidents in San Diego Bay. Both of these types of accidents can lead to death.
Individuals who survive such accidents may experience one or more of the following injuries, depending on the circumstances of the accident:
San Diego’s waterfront is bustling with commercial and leisure boat activity, all of which could serve as a setting for a boat accident that results in severe injuries.
Boating accidents occur in many situations and may involve many different types of boats, including:
Severe boating accident injuries can devastate victims and their families. On top of the physical pain associated with injuries and healing, boating accident victims and their families often face immense financial pressure after suffering injuries. In the worst cases, households face eviction, foreclosure, vehicle repossession, and/or bankruptcy. In some cases, families struggle to provide day-to-day needs. Examples of financial aspects of boating accident injuries that impact a household include:
Severe boating accident injuries are costly to treat and lead to piles of medical bills for victims and their families. Treatment costs start to accumulate with an ambulance or helicopter ride to the hospital and an emergency room visit.
Other possible medical expenses include hospitalization, surgery, aftercare, prescription medications, and diagnostic tests, including X-rays and other lab tests. When severe injuries occur, medical treatment costs continue to accumulate.
In the worst situations, boating accident victims suffer permanent injuries. Some permanent injuries require ongoing treatment or additional surgeries. Furthermore, families might need to place their loved ones in a long-term nursing care facility if they cannot provide the needed care and treatment at home.
A victim’s health insurance might cover some initial treatment costs, but typically not everything. Also, only separate insurance policies pay for care in a long-term care facility, creating a massive economic burden for families.
Recovery and healing are a critical part of every boating accident injury. Rehabilitation includes a variety of therapies or treatments and is more involved with severe injuries. Physical therapy is almost always part of rehabilitation. It helps patients recover lost movement from orthopedic and soft tissue injuries.
Occupational therapy is part of rehabilitation for those who suffer permanent injuries. Occupational therapy helps patients cope with their injuries by learning alternate ways to do normal daily tasks. Speech and language therapy helps patients, especially those who have suffered brain injuries, learn or relearn how to communicate with others.
Suffering a severe boating accident injury is also an emotionally traumatic event. Victims might develop a fear of boats or water, depending on their situations. Sometimes, psychotherapy, counseling, or other mental health services are also a part of a rehabilitation program. These costly therapies create additional expenses for boating accident victims.
Boating accident victims who provided a significant portion of a household income may have to miss weeks or months of work if they suffer severe injuries. It’s possible to qualify for temporary disability payments, but they only cover a portion of lost wages, leaving a significant income gap for a household.
Individuals who cannot work because of their injuries may have to use all of their paid time off and typically have to pay higher insurance rates to maintain their health insurance coverage.
In the worst boating accidents, individuals may suffer permanent injuries that prevent the injured individuals from returning to work. When a member of a household can never work again, financial insecurity becomes commonplace. Like temporary disability, permanent disability payments only pay up to a maximum amount and never completely replace lost income. Family members who have to care for a loved one also face professional consequences; they might need to quit their job or reduce their hours, adding more financial burden to the situation.
Many boating accident victims contributed to maintaining their households before suffering injuries. In many cases, family members can chip in to perform tasks that the victim once completed. However, some victims and/or their families must rely on expensive outside help. This is especially true when other family members work outside the home or when the boating accident victim lives alone.
Examples of the things that a family might need to hire outside help for include:
If you or a loved one has recently sustained injuries in a San Diego boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you might feel overwhelmed, angry, sad, or a combination. Dealing with severe injuries and all of the stress that comes with them can leave accident victims and their families uncertain about the next steps. Take advantage of Gomez Trial Attorneys’ free case evaluation to learn how we can help.
Whether the boating accident occurred mere hours ago or months ago, the following answers to frequently asked questions about boating accidents in San Diego may help provide you with some preliminary information until you have the opportunity to meet with an attorney.
The California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), requires you to file a written accident report within 24 hours when the accident results in:
You have 10 days to file the report if someone died more than 24 hours after the accident, if the accident only resulted in property damage, or resulted in the loss of a vessel. It’s best for the boat owner or operator to file a report. Others in the accident can file on the injured individual’s behalf if he or she is physically unable or otherwise incapacitated.
No. A boat owner is one of the many parties that you might name as a defendant in a lawsuit seeking compensation for your boating accident injuries.
Depending on the exact circumstances of the accident, one or more of the following parties may face liability for damages:
Boating accidents are complex cases. Depending on the circumstances of your boating accident, different statutes of limitations could apply. Boating accidents could fall under federal, state, and/or local law, depending on the accident location. If your injuries occurred under federal jurisdiction, you have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit.
If your injuries occurred onshore or in waters governed by California, you only have two years to bring a lawsuit. Additionally, if the liable party is a government entity, you only have six months to file an administrative claim. If you’ve sustained injuries in a San Diego boat accident, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your rights.
An attorney can evaluate your case and advise you which laws apply to your situation. If you miss the deadline, you risk losing the chance to seek compensation for your injuries.
Unlike other employees who suffer on-the-job injuries, the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) does not typically cover crew members and other employees related to a vessel’s operation. However, federal law does provide other protections for injured crew members and harbor workers to recover compensation for their injuries.
Below we provide a broad overview of three main federal laws that could apply to your situation:
If you sue the boat owner or other responsible party to seek damages related to your injuries, you may receive compensation for various losses related to your injuries.
If you reach a settlement or the court rules in your favor, you could receive compensation for:
Litigation is costly, making settlement and alternative dispute resolutions, like mediation, attractive for both sides. Everyone involved has the motivation to avoid going to trial; however, the complexities of boat accident cases are not always conducive to settlement or mediation. Your attorney will review your case and give you an idea of what challenges might prevent a settlement and your likelihood of going to trial. Until you have the chance to meet with a lawyer, you should prepare for the possibility that you will have to go to court and have your attorney advocate for you in front of a court.
You can file an insurance claim against the boat owner’s policy without an attorney, but you risk not recovering maximum compensation for your boating accident injuries. Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the complicated laws associated with boating accidents in San Diego and understand how to apply the law to your claim, giving you the best chances of receiving compensation for your injuries. Additionally, insurance carriers often take claimants who have representation more seriously and avoid engaging in predatory tactics to deny and devalue a claim.
When dealing with the severe injuries and high-stakes claims often associated with boating accidents, it’s almost always in your best interest to hold off talking to the insurance company until after you have consulted with an attorney. Insurance adjusters’ main goal when getting a claimant’s statement is to find a way to deny or devalue a claim. If you talk to an adjuster before consulting with a lawyer, you risk saying something that the adjuster can use against you.
Additionally, adjusters like to trick or bully people into giving recorded statements. Your attorney can handle most communications and guide you on what you should and should not say when you need to speak with the insurance company. This protects your claim and gives you the best chance of receiving the maximum compensation for your injuries.
We cannot give you a set amount of money that you might receive for your claim. Each accident injury case has unique facts and circumstances that add to or detract from the value of a claim. If you have a viable claim and the court rules in your favor, you may qualify to receive thousands or millions. If you settle, you might choose to accept less than the full value of your claim. However, Gomez Trial Attorneys cannot guarantee any value for recovery.
When you consult an experienced boating accident lawyer from Gomez Trial Attorneys, we will evaluate your claim and determine your economic and non-economic losses to determine an accurate value. However, the other side will always think that our number is too high. We can give you a ballpark estimate of what you might expect, but there are still no guarantees. As a general rule, more severe injuries lead to greater losses and thus more compensation.
No—not when you hire us. Our San Diego boating accident lawyers offer free consultations and take new clients on a contingent fee basis. You can share your story, ask questions, and learn more about what is to come during an initial consultation. This also gives your potential lawyer a chance to review your claim and determine your eligibility to seek compensation for damages.
If the attorney you meet with recommends taking legal action, and you choose to retain that attorney, you will not have to pay out-of-pocket. A contingent fee agreement permits your lawyer to deduct attorney fees and other legal costs from any money that you receive for your injuries in the form of a settlement or court awarded damages. If there is no recovery, then you don’t owe any attorney fees.
If you suffered boating accident injuries in the San Diego area, the skilled legal team at Gomez Trial Attorneys can help you hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligence. Contact us today online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
Boating accidents are traumatic events that negatively impact multiple areas of victims’ lives. Recovering maximum compensation for your injuries can prove challenging because of how complex boating accident cases often are.
The legal team at Gomez Trial Attorneys has extensive experience representing clients in and around San Diego who have suffered severe injuries in boating accidents. You do not have to fight for compensation alone; let one of our skilled lawyers handle your case while you focus on healing and recovery.
Contact us online or by calling 866-TRIAL LAW (866 874-2552) for a free case evaluation to tell us your story, discuss your injuries, and determine your eligibility to pursue a claim.
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“This is the best law firm in San Diego for a reason. I was lucky to have my case picked up by the Gomez Trial Attorneys after I was struck by a car while crossing the street. This was an unexplainably painful time in my life, and, as a 22 year old college student, I did not know what to do. I met Max Halpern, who is the lawyer that represented my case, a week later. Even though I did not know at the time, I could not have been in better hands.
I kept on with my studies, daily life, and physical and mental recovery as Max silently worked hard at my case. All though out my experience, Max kept in constant contact, updating and informing me of everything I needed to know. then one day it was over and Max had won big.
I do not know if it is appropriate to share details of a settlement but I will say that this team took the ugliest, hardest, most painful experience of my life and turned it into something boundlessly positive.
I believe my life is better now for having been represented by Gomez Trial Attorneys and I will walk away from this chapter of my life forever grateful. These people are the living definition of excellence.”
Review by: Bubba E.
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