Boating is a great outdoor activity for all ages, and San Jose is an ideal spot for water sports of all kinds. However, accidents do happen, and the experience can be both painful and traumatic. Boating accidents can lead to injuries similar to a car accident but are further complicated because victims may then be adrift in the water as they await emergency services.
Places like Anderson Reservoir, Coyote Lake, Calero Reservoir, Lake Don Pedro, the Delta, Lake Tahoe, and Lake Berryessa are popular destinations for recreational boating activities including fishing, water skiing, canoeing, jet ski riding, sailing, and kayaking. In addition, San Jose is near San Francisco Bay, which provides access to the vast Pacific Ocean.
There are many rules and regulations that apply to boating, whether in the ocean or an inland waterway. You need a license for operating any boat with a motor exceeding 15 horsepower, including personal watercraft (PWC), and the same BAC laws apply for operating a boat as when driving a car — .08 for adults over the age of 21.
Following these rules is an essential part of a safe and enjoyable experience on the water, but the unfortunate reality is that many people ignore these rules and put themselves and others at risk of a boat accident.
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a boating accident near San Jose, the San Francisco Bay Area, or in Northern California, contact our law firm as soon as possible to connect with an experienced attorney and discuss your legal options for seeking compensation.
Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP for a Free Consultation About Your Boat Accident Today
Our law firm offers a free consultation with an experienced San Jose boat accident lawyer where you can discuss the specifics of your situation and get advice about your rights and options under California law.
Personal injury cases can be complicated, and while it may seem that filing a claim with an insurance company is as simple as connecting with the adjuster, the reality is much different. Insurance companies focus on settling claims against their policyholders as quickly and cheaply as possible, and your personal injury claim will likely be no different.
Working with an experienced legal team is the best way to fight for the compensation that you are rightfully owed while taking time to focus on getting the medical care you deserve and working towards recovery.
Read more below about boat accidents, and contact us to speak with a member of our team. Once you are working with a boat accident lawyer in San Jose, we will make sure that the at-fault party is held liable and that you won’t end up footing the bill for someone else’s negligence.
Determining Liability After a Boat Accident
The first step in any personal injury claim is establishing liability by determining who — or what — caused the accident. Common causes of boating accidents include things like operator distraction, intoxicated boat operators, excessive speed, inexperience, or equipment failures that may be the result of manufacturing or workmanship issues or the owner’s failure to properly maintain a safe vessel.
Of course, these are only a few of the many different ways that a boating accident may happen, but most boating accidents are caused by at least one party.
California, like most states, uses a rule known as Comparative Negligence, which allows victims to assume partial fault while still being entitled to compensation. For example, if a boater is 20% responsible for a crash, then their final settlement or award will be reduced by 20%.
This rule ensures that victims are not barred from compensation if they are partially responsible, but the insurance company will use this rule to their advantage to reduce their liability and the amount they need to pay. Your lawyer will fight to ensure that you do not take on any more fault than is accurate.
Once your San Jose boat accident lawyer can clearly show that there is an at-fault party responsible for your boat accident, they will move forward with your claim.
How Much Is Your Boating Accident Worth?
One of the central matters of boating accidents is the question of damages — how much is a victim owed after suffering a serious injury in a boat accident? The damages your attorney will seek are known as “compensatory damages,” meaning that they are intended to compensate you for measurable losses — financial and otherwise. These damages are divided into two distinct areas.
Economic damages are the basis of a personal injury case and apply to any impact that has a measurable dollar value. These include things like property damage costs, medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of products or services that a victim needs to help them continue to live a normal life.
Things like burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, or propeller injuries will all have long-term impacts on a victim’s financial stability, all of which a personal injury lawyer in San Jose will be able to project as they seek compensation.
Non-economic damages apply to anything that does not have a set dollar value, including things like the pain and suffering associated with serious injuries, the emotional trauma of such an experience, and the diminished quality of life that a victim may suffer following a boating accident injury.
If it seems like it’s complicated to assign a dollar value to something like pain and suffering, it’s because it is — but your attorney, with years of experience, will have a breadth of tools at their disposal to fairly and accurately quantify these damages and fight for the money you deserve.