Liability in California Boating Accidents

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Liability in California Boating Accidents

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Posted By DAM Firm | May 2 2024 | California Laws, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

Boating activities are popular in California, both along the coast and throughout the lakes and rivers our beautiful state offers. However, boating accidents can occur and lead to severe injuries and even death.

Unfortunately, determining liability after a boating accident can be incredibly challenging. This poses a problem to injury victims and families of those who lose their lives in these incidents as they seek to recover compensation for their losses.

Liability in California Boating Accidents

Possible Liable Parties After a Boating Accident

There may be various parties who could be held liable for a boating accident. Sometimes, more than one party may hold some responsibility for the incident. Some of the most common liable parties after a boating accident occurs in Orange County include:

  • The boat owner. Often held responsible due to negligence in operating the vessel or failing to maintain proper safety equipment and protocols. This responsibility hinges on the owner’s duty to ensure the boat is safe for use.
  • Owner(s) of another boat involved. If the accident involves multiple boats, the other boat’s owner can also be liable, especially if their negligence or improper handling contributed to the incident.
  • Recreational company owners. Companies offering recreational boating activities must provide safe, well-maintained equipment and properly trained staff. Their failure to meet these requirements can make them liable for accidents.
  • Government entities. Responsible for maintaining navigational aids and ensuring waterway safety, government entities may be liable if an accident is due to their failure to keep waterways safe or adequately marked.
  • Maintenance companies. If a boat accident was due to improper maintenance or repair, the company tasked with these services might be liable for negligence.
  • Private property owners. If an accident occurs near private docks or other waterway obstructions that are poorly maintained or improperly marked, the property owner could be held accountable.

This is not a list of all potentially liable parties. After a boat accident occurs, an investigation could uncover several parties involved in the incident that you may not have expected. Additionally, there may be separate insurance policies (sometimes more than one) available for each liable party to draw on, potentially opening more compensation opportunities for victims. 

How is Liability Determined After a Boating Accident in Orange County?

Determining liability after a boating accident can be incredibly challenging, particularly if there is more than one possible liable party. Once insurance carriers get involved, not to mention legal teams for other parties, the process can become even more complex. We strongly encourage Orange County boating accident victims to reach out to an attorney who can help them immediately.

The process of determining liability begins right away with an investigation into the incident. There may be a range of evidence available soon after the incident occurs, possibly even from the incident seen itself. This can include photographs, video surveillance footage, police or accident reports, and statements from eyewitnesses.

In the days and weeks following a boating accident, additional types of evidence may be needed to prove what happened. This can include maintenance records for the boat, the process of any criminal charges or citations related to the incident, additional surveillance footage from nearby cameras, company training records, and more.

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