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Long Beach Boat Accident Lawyers

Californians Love Being on the Water

Recreational boating is one of the most popular and enjoyable activities across the country and is enjoyed in California year-round. The number of people taking to the water has increased by 20% in the last decade alone. In fact, there are close to 12 million boats and personal watercraft currently registered in the United States and over 1 million in California alone—more than any other state.

sailboat on the water

Unfortunately, with such a high number of boats and boating activity in California, that means there is also a high number of boat accidents that cause serious injuries and deaths each year. In 2020 there were 5,265 boat accidents, resulting in 767 boating fatalities.

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Long Beach, the first thing you’ll want to do is to try and hold the right parties accountable. It’s important that you speak with an experienced Long Beach personal injury attorney who can guide you towards the best possible legal outcome. Contact Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 to get started.

Proving Liability in a Long Beach Boat Accident

If you have been hurt in a boating accident, you should contact a Long Beach boat injury lawyer, as you may be entitled to file a claim for damages that you have sustained as a result of another boater's negligence. You must first prove three things:

  • The other boater was negligent;
  • Their negligence caused the accident;
  • You suffered damages as a result of their negligence.

Common Boat Accident Injuries

There are many serious and catastrophic injuries suffered by victims of boating accidents. Some of the most serious include:

Death. Every year, hundreds of people die in boating accidents. Most of these accidents are caused by careless or inexperienced boaters. Alcohol is also a significant factor in many accidents. Most accidents occur when the boat is overloaded, or the passengers are not wearing life jackets. Many accidents could be prevented if boaters followed the basic safety rules.

Traumatic Brain Injury. Boating accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can occur when the head is violently shaken, hit, or penetrated by an object. The severity of a TBI can range from a mild concussion to a severe, life-threatening injury. Mild TBI may result in a brief loss of consciousness, confusion, or headache. Moderate to severe TBI can cause extended periods of unconsciousness, coma, or amnesia. TBIs can also cause long-term problems with learning and memory, speech and language, mood and emotion, and physical function.

Head Trauma. Head trauma can range from a concussion to a traumatic brain injury. Concussions are the most common type of head injury and can cause symptoms like headache, dizziness, and nausea. More serious head injuries can cause bleeding and swelling of the brain and can be fatal.

Paraplegia and Quadriplegia. Several different types of boating accidents can lead to paraplegia or quadriplegia. One of the most common is a collision between two boats which can cause severe spinal cord damage to their occupants. Another type of accident that can lead to paralysis is capsizing, which can throw the ship's occupants onto the hard surface of the water and cause serious injuries. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are severe conditions that can significantly impact a person's quality of life.

Broken Bones and Fractures. These injuries can happen if someone falls overboard and is hit by the boat or propeller or if the ship crashes with another object, such as another boat, a dock, or a wave. In these cases, the impact can cause people to be thrown from the boat or to hit their head or body on something hard, resulting in broken bones or fractures.

Coma. The most common cause of coma is severe head trauma, which can happen when the head strikes the water or part of the boat. Sometimes, the head may hit a hard object on the boat, such as the deck, mast, or hull. This can cause the brain to swell and bleed, leading to coma. Treatment for coma typically requires hospitalization and intensive medical care.

Near Drowning. Near Drowning is a serious condition caused when a person is unable to breath for a prolonged period of time. Symptoms include coughing, vomiting, confusion, and seizures. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

Common Types of Boating Accidents

Many boating accidents can occur, ranging from minor collisions to significant disasters. Some of the most common types of accidents include:

  • Collisions between two boats
  • Hitting a submerged object
  • Capsizing or sinking
  • Flooding or swamping
  • Explosions or fires
  • People falling overboard

Each of these accidents can have serious consequences, so it is vital to be aware of the risks and take steps to avoid them. Typically, they occur in:

Jet Ski Accidents. Thousands of jet ski accidents result in serious injuries or even death every year. Most jet ski accidents are caused by operator error, such as speeding, not paying attention to other boats or swimmers in the area, or operating the jet ski recklessly or carelessly. Alcohol is also a factor in many jet ski accidents, so it's important always to stay sober when using a jet ski.

Yacht Accidents. There are many potential hazards when operating a yacht, and accidents can occur even when all safety precautions are taken. Common causes of yacht accidents include bad weather, mechanical failure, and human error.

Fishing Boat Accidents. Fishers are often working in dangerous conditions, and accidents can happen quickly. Fishing boats are sometimes not well-maintained, which can lead to accidents. Every year, fishing boats are involved in accidents that result in injuries and fatalities. In many cases, these accidents are caused by careless or inexperienced operators.

Pontoon Boats. Poorly maintained boats, lousy weather, and operator error are all potential causes of pontoon boat accidents. Most pontoon boats are less stable than other boats, making them more susceptible to capsizing in rough conditions. In addition, pontoon boats often have large numbers of people on board. If you are considering renting or buying a pontoon boat, check the boat's safety record and ensure the operator is experienced and qualified.

Party Boats. There have been a number of party boat accidents in recent years, and they have all been tragic. In most cases, the accidents have been caused by overcrowding and alcohol consumption. In some cases, the boats have been overloaded and have capsized. In other cases, people have fallen overboard and drowned.

Who Can be Held Liable for a Long Beach Boat Accident?

As with any serious or catastrophic accident, determining who is at fault can be challenging. In a Long Beach boating accident there are many possible parties who can be found liable, depending on the circumstances of the accident, including:

  • Distracted boat operators
  • Intoxicated boat operators
  • The boat manufacturer or designer
  • Negligent boat captains or boat staff

Every situation is unique and after every accident, it is vital to have evidence to support your claim. Consider anyone who may have witnessed the accident or the events leading up to the accident and make sure to get their information. Take photos, if possible, once medical attention has been administered. The more evidence and information you provide your attorney, the better the outcome of the case will be.

File a California Personal Injury Claim

After a boating accident, it is important to seek out a qualified lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Boating accidents can be complex, and an experienced lawyer will be able to help you understand the applicable laws and regulations, as well as any potential claims you may have against the other party involved. In addition, a lawyer can help you gather evidence and witnesses, and will represent you in court if necessary.

Filing a claim against a negligent boater is far more complicated than most personal injury claims. Your case may come under the jurisdiction of Admiralty law or Maritime law, rather than State law. Make sure you consult with a Long Beach boat accident attorney who is experienced in admiralty and maritime law before you proceed with your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help maximize the amount of your financial recovery for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 for a free consultation today and get the representation you deserve.

Additional Information

"Joseph, Thank you for your assistance. Your understanding compassion & incredible expertise are admired & appreciated. I will be referring any of my clients who require legal help to you."
- M.D.