California Boat Accident Lawyer

The state of California has a vast array of water resources available for recreational activities. With access to the ocean, rivers, and lakes, boating is one of the favorite pastimes of Californians and tourists alike. However, boating comes with risks.

Much like with car accidents, the impact from a boating accident can be devastating or even deadly, not to mention the potential for drowning after a collision on the water.

The injuries suffered by victims of boat accidents in California can have a lasting impact and result in mountains of medical bills, time away from work, and other consequences.

At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we understand how traumatic boating accidents can be. Our California boat accident lawyers represent boat operators, vessel owners, crew members, and passengers involved in accidents with watercraft.

We serve victims who have suffered an injury and families of those who lost their loved ones due to the negligence of others.

Our team has more than 75 years of combined legal experience and has earned national recognition for our commitment to excellence and integrity.

Discuss your options for financial recovery by scheduling a free case review with our lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Complete our contact form or call today to get started.

<video playsinline="" controls="" class="video"><source src="" type="video/mp4"></video>

Why Choose Our California Boat Accident Lawyers?

Choosing a boat accident attorney from Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos ensures you receive dedicated and experienced legal representation. Our team understands personal injury and maritime law, offering comprehensive knowledge of boat accidents and resulting injuries.

With a track record of successful cases, our attorneys prioritize your interests, working diligently to secure fair compensation. Trust our team to navigate the complexities of your boat accident claim and advocate for your rights.

Types of Boat Accident Claims We Handle

AV Martindale Hubbell

Each year, there are between 500 and 700 reported boating accidents across California. In a recent year, people reported 593 boating-related accidents to state authorities.

Under the state law, a reportable boating accident is the one that results in:

  • The disappearance or death of a person
  • The injury that requires medical attention beyond first aid
  • Property damage over $500. 

The term “boat accident” applies to any situation in which vessels capsize or sink, anyone falls overboard, watercraft collide with other vessels or fixed structures, there is fire on the vessel or explosion, or anyone onboard the boat disappears.

At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we handle all types of boating accidents, including those caused by:

  1. Negligence. A boat operator is negligent when they fail to act with reasonable care. Common examples of negligence in boat accidents include operating the vessel at a high speed, hitting a big wave, navigating in adverse weather, failing to maintain a proper lookout, and others. 
  2. Boating under the influence. In California, it is illegal to operate a vessel when the blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above 0.08 percent. Intoxicated boat operators have impaired judgment and slower reactions, both of which can contribute to preventable accidents. 
  3. Reckless operation. A boater is reckless when they operate a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of others. All boat operators have a legal duty to follow all applicable navigation rules and operate their vessels reasonably and prudently. 

Every year, the United States Coast Guard ranks the operator’s inexperience, operator’s lack of attention, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure as the most common contributing factors in boat accidents.

Our lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos know all too well the trauma a boat accident can cause. That is why we are dedicated to helping injured victims and family members of those killed in boating accidents to make sense of their situation and work tirelessly to get them the relief they need to move forward.

Vessels in California on Which Accidents Occur

California Boat Accident Lawyer

A day on the water can instantly turn into a disaster and change your life forever. At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we represent injured victims and their families after boating accidents on any type of vessel.

Some of the common types of vessels involved in boat accidents in California include:

  • Personal watercraft (PWC)
  • Motorboats
  • Sailboats 
  • Yachts
  • Jet skis
  • Cabin cruisers
  • Cruise ships
  • Pontoon boats
  • Inflatable boats
  • Party boats
  • Charter boats
  • Fishing boats
  • Kayaks
  • Canoes
  • Rafts 

Whether you are a vessel operator, passenger, or maritime worker, you can seek financial compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered because of someone else’s fault. You can also recover damages if your loved one lost his or her life in a boating accident. Speak with our California boat accident lawyers to discuss your specific situation and discuss your legal options for compensation.

Proving Fault After a Boat Accident

While you may be entitled to compensation following a boat accident, you must prove another party’s fault to recover damages. Most legal claims arising from boating accidents are based on negligence.

Proving negligence comes down to establishing:

  1. The other party owed you or the victim (if your loved one died) a duty of care; 
  2. That party failed to fulfill the duty of care owed to you/victim; 
  3. The failure to fulfill the duty caused the accident; and
  4. You/the victim suffered damages because of the party’s conduct. 

Example. In the case of a boating accident in which you suffered an injury as a passenger, you might pursue a personal injury claim against the boat operator that hit the boat you were on.

You can establish the first element (duty of care) because boaters owe a duty of care to other boat operators and their passengers.

You can establish the second element (breach of duty) by proving that the boater was not paying attention to their surroundings, the third element (causation) because their conduct caused the accident, and the fourth element (damages) because you hit your head and suffered a traumatic brain injury that requires ongoing medical treatment (medical expenses) and had to miss work (lost income). 

Liable Parties in Boat Accidents

California Boat Accident Lawyers

Every case is unique, so the parties found liable may differ from one accident to another.

However, the following parties are commonly responsible for boating accidents: 

  • The boat operator. The person operating the vessel at the time of the boating accident may be liable for the accident and any resulting losses suffered by others due to the operator’s failure to operate the boat responsibly and reasonably. 
  • The boat owner. Boat owners are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their vessels. As such, the owner may be liable for a boating accident if they failed to maintain the vessel in safe condition, failed to provide safety equipment, or loaned the vessel to someone they knew was not qualified to operate it.
  • The boat manufacturer. When a boating accident results from defects or faulty parts in the vessel, victims can pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the boat or its parts. 
  • The company or individual leasing the boat. Individuals and entities who lease vessels in exchange for money are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their boats. You can hold them liable for accidents that result from their failure to properly maintain their vessels in good condition and make repairs when necessary.
  • Passengers. Some boat accidents may occur when passengers onboard behave in a negligent or reckless manner. When an accident directly results from a passenger’s negligence, recklessness, or disregard of safety protocols, the passenger can be responsible for any harm caused by their conduct. 

Boating accidents can be complex, so it takes the trained eyes of our California boat accident attorneys to determine how the accident occurred and what party should be liable for the damages suffered by the victims.

Types of Boat Accident Injuries

The types and severity of injuries sustained by operators and passengers in boat accidents vary greatly and depend on the accident's circumstances. The injuries you suffer will have a major impact on the value of your claim for compensation because, as a rule of thumb, the more serious the injury, the higher the compensation amount.

Among some of the most common types of injuries suffered by victims of boating accidents are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Scrapes and bruises
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Internal organ damage
  • Loss of limb
  • Paralysis 

Boat accidents can result in debilitating injuries, near-fatal drownings, and death. A U.S. Coast Guard report showed that boat accidents across the country caused 636 deaths, more than 2,200 injuries, and about $63 million in property damage in just one year. Common factors involved in fatal boating accidents are hazardous waters, alcohol and drug use, weather conditions, and the boater’s lack of experience. 

What Compensation Is Available if I’m a Victim of a Boat Accident? 

Recovering from injuries sustained in a boating accident may cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills, significant pain and suffering, mental trauma, and inability to work and pay for your treatment or even the basic life necessities. Fortunately, you can seek compensation for everything you endured and all your losses by pursuing a claim against the liable party(s).

While every boat accident is unique, your compensation may result in payments to cover your:

  • Medical bills, including doctor appointments, hospitalization costs, surgery, therapy, rehabilitation, medication, and others; 
  • Lost income and diminished earning capacity during the time you miss work while undergoing treatment and potentially in the future; 
  • Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages that are not easy to quantify in monetary terms; 
  • Property damage if your vessel or any personal property (e.g., phone) was damaged or destroyed in the accident; and
  • Other expenses associated with the accident, including transportation, personal care, and more. 

Obtaining fair compensation for the costs and losses incurred after a boat accident can be a lengthy and complicated process that requires legal assistance.

Our California boat accident lawyer at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can identify recoverable damages in your case, calculate your losses, and pursue the compensation you deserve through all available sources, including filing an insurance claim or suing the at-fault party.

How Can a California Boat Accident Lawyer Help Me? 

If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a boating accident, do not try to navigate the legal system on your own. The last thing you want is to deal with mountains of paperwork, preparing documents, and other daunting legalities of the claims process.

When you hire a lawyer, they will handle all legal aspects of your claim while you can focus on taking care of yourself.

Some of the ways a lawyer can help include:

  • Providing sound legal advice to help you make informed decisions
  • Investigating the accident to determine how the accident occurred
  • Identifying the liable party(s)
  • Collecting evidence to bolster your claim for compensation
  • Helping you prove the liable party’s fault
  • Calculating how much your claim is worth
  • Pursuing a claim for compensation on your behalf
  • Handling negotiations with all other parties involved, including insurance companies
  • Taking your case to court if necessary

Our legal team at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos has extensive experience in handling boating accidents and maritime claims throughout California. We have the experience and resources to tackle the most complex cases and can explain the laws, statutes, and regulations applicable to your claim.

Get the Help You Need from a California Boat Accident Lawyer at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos

At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, our ultimate goal is to help injured victims and their families in California fight for the justice they deserve and restore their lives.

Working with a lawyer can save you from the hassle and stress of dealing with legal issues. We understand how traumatic boating accidents can be and are committing to helping our clients assert the right to recover fair and full compensation for their injuries and losses.

California Boat Accident Attorney, Chantel L. Fitting
Chantel L. Fitting, California Boat Accident Lawyer

Our California boat accident lawyers have a proven track record of success in obtaining favorable results for our clients. With more than 75 years of combined experience, we have recovered millions of dollars for victims of boating accidents and their families.

Contact our personal injury attorney in California to get the personalized attention and compassionate legal service you need. Request your free case evaluation by completing this form or calling (650) 345-8484.

Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP

Address: 411 Borel Ave. #405,
San Mateo, CA 94402

Phone: (650) 419-0473
Fax: (650) 345-9875