Experienced Attorneys Serving Boat Injury Clients All Throughout California
With more than 1000 miles of ocean and bayside coastline and navigable water, more than 2,500 lakes and reservoirs, California is home to nearly four million recreational boaters. With that many boaters of varying degrees of skill and experience, boating accidents are common and can cause catastrophic injury or death.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a boating accident, speak with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible. You or your loved one may be entitled to recover compensation for the pain, suffering, and lost wages caused by a severe accident caused by the negligence of another. The lawyers at the Walkup Personal Injury firm have been prosecuting claims arising from boating tragedies for more than 50 years. Contact Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger today to schedule a free consultation. We have six decades of proven success, and we’re here to help.
Recent Boating Accident Statistics
Of the nearly 4500 boating mishaps that occur every year in the U.S., about 475 happen in California, with an average of 40 fatalities statewide each year.
Many Types of Serious Accident Can Happen While Aboard a Boat:
- Collisions are the most common “first event” in boating disasters, causing 55% of accidents, 53% of injuries, and 21% of fatalities. Most crashes are with another vessel, but collisions with stationary objects in the water, such as piers, docks, and rocks, can also be devastating.
- Falling overboard is responsible for more boating deaths than collisions and is the number one cause of boating fatality.
- Drowning – Seventy-five percent of deadly boating accidents are due to drowning. Of those boaters who drowned, 85% were not wearing a Personal Floatation
- Device (lifejacket). Three-quarters of boaters who drowned were aboard small vessels (under 21 feet in length).
- Capsizing, sinking, grounding, or flooding/swamping are common
- Slips and falls on deck round out the remainder of the top 5 marine injury causes.
Carelessness and Negligence Are the Primary Marine Injury Causes
Factors within the operator’s control cause most watercraft accidents and are, therefore, preventable.
Operator error causes more than 50% of injury-producing accidents annually across the U.S.
- Operator inattention and distracted driving is a leading cause of boating accidents.
- Inexperience or lack of sufficient safety training – is a close second – with nearly three-quarters of boating fatalities happening on vessels where the operator had not received adequate safety instruction.
- Excessive speed / Recklessness – Although it’s thrilling to go fast, excessive speed increases the risk and severity of an accident and reduces the time you have to react to unexpected circumstances.
- Alcohol Drug and Impairment – Half of all boating accidents are related to drug or alcohol use. One-third of boating accident deaths are alcohol-related, and alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in over 15% of boating fatalities.
- Improper lookout – Boat operators are required by law to have a designated lookout to spot hazards.
Other leading causes of boating accidents:
- Equipment or machinery failure – Machinery can fail due to a design or manufacturing defect that is the fault of the company that produced it.
- Failure to comply with laws – It is crucial to understand and obey the rules of the waterway. Navigation rules violations contributed to half of all boating accidents in 2022, 60% of injuries, and 35% of deaths.
Motorboat and Jet Ski Accidents
Open motorboats are the most common type of vessel involved in accidents (47%), followed by personal watercraft (jet skis, 18%) and cabin motorboats (14%). Open= motorboats are associated with nearly half of all boating fatalities.
Common injuries include:
- Back/neck/spinal cord damage
- Concussion / Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Drowning / Death
Why You Need a California Boating Accident Attorney
It can be challenging to determine liability for injuries sustained aboard a ship. The Walkup Melodia team is experienced in investigating and prosecuting maritime injury and death claims.
Our team will conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of your case: Did the owner/operator of the boat exercise a reasonable duty of care in maintaining and operating the craft? Was the driver of another watercraft at fault for a collision? Did a manufacturing or design defect cause equipment to fail? Did the waterway present hazardous conditions that the local government or water authority should have addressed?
When you’ve been injured in a watercraft accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s crucial to speak with a skilled accident lawyer immediately. An accident claim can provide the financial resources you need to pay for medical expenses and lost income, as well as provide pain and suffering compensation. The skilled and compassionate marine injury lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger are dedicated to fighting for fair compensation. We want to hear your story. Call us today.
Fighting for Justice — Conception Boat Fire
The Walkup firm has a proven track record of success investigating and prosecuting maritime injury cases. We have represented both injury victims and wrongful death heirs. Currently, we represent five families suing for wrongful death in the tragic Conception Boat Fire, which killed 34 people (33 passengers and one deckhand) aboard a dive boat south of Santa Barbara in 2019. While numerous civil suits are still pending, on November 6, 2023, the Conception’s Captain, Jerry Boylan, was found guilty of criminal negligence (seaman’s manslaughter) following a 10-day trial in Los Angeles.