What Kinds of Damages Can I Sue for in a Boating Accident?

by Staff Blogger | January 1st, 2024

California’s sparkling waterways are a boater’s paradise, attracting thousands each year to enjoy the sun, sea, and the thrill of the waves. But the boating season hasn’t all been smooth sailing in recent years.

In 2022, 4,040 reported boating accidents across the country resulted in 636 deaths, 2,222 injuries, and about $63 million in property damage. These numbers highlight the risks that come with the joys of boating.

Suing for damages after a boating accident can help you pay for related losses like wages or medical bills. Learn what damages you can sue for and how a California boat accident attorney can protect your rights and maximize compensation after a collision.

Common Types of Damages in Boating Accidents

After a boating accident, you can claim several types of damages in an accident claim or lawsuit against the liable party. This includes the following types of economic and non-economic types:

Economic Damages

Economic damages in boating accidents primarily cover quantifiable financial losses, including: 

  • Medical expenses for immediate and long-term care resulting from the accident, like surgery, physical therapy, medical supplies, and medications
  • Property damages to help repair or replace your boat and other personal belongings damaged in the incident
  • Lost wages to compensate you for the income you miss out on while recovering

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages refer to the intangible psychological and emotional consequences of your injuries and how they impact your life. Though they are harder to quantify, your attorney can calculate non-economic damages based on the severity and permanence of your injury.

Some non-economic damages you may be able to sue for include:

  • Pain and suffering: This compensation acknowledges the physical discomfort and ongoing pain you endure, which often extends beyond the accident’s immediate aftermath.
  • Emotional distress: This compensation recognizes the psychological toll of your boating accident experience, including conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: This compensation is for the diminished ability to engage in hobbies, activities, or the general enjoyment of life that was possible before the accident.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant for particularly reckless behavior and deter similar conduct in the future. However, punitive damages only apply when a defendant’s actions cross into willful, malicious, or fraudulent territory.

For instance, you may receive punitive damages if the boating accident was caused by someone operating the vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They could also apply if the operator engaged in illegal or extremely reckless behavior.

What Kind of Documentation Do I Need?

To effectively pursue a claim for damages following a boating accident, you must have proper documentation. Your attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you gather the following evidence to substantiate your claim:

  • Medical bills and records: These are fundamental in substantiating claims for medical expenses. Detailed and accurate records of hospital visits, treatments, prescriptions, and other medical-related costs provide a clear picture of the financial impact of your injuries.
  • Proof of income: You will need documentation such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employment letters for lost wage claims. They help establish your income and the amount lost due to the accident.
  • Property damage estimates: Assessing and documenting property damage involves gathering repair estimates, replacement costs, and evidence of the damaged property’s value. This could include photographs of the damage, repair bills, and valuation statements.
  • Medical expert testimony: To demonstrate the extent of your pain and suffering, your attorney may obtain expert testimony from medical professionals. This can provide an authoritative perspective on your injuries and their impact on your life.
  • Psychological evaluations: If you’re claiming emotional distress, evaluations by psychologists or psychiatrists may help substantiate these claims. These professionals can attest to the mental and emotional impact of the accident.
  • Personal diaries or journals: Keeping a diary or journal documenting your daily struggles, pain levels, emotional state, and lifestyle changes can provide a personal perspective on how the accident has affected your life. Your attorneys can use this type of documentation to illustrate non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.

Get Legal Help After a Boating Accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident, we can help you understand your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Our legal team is dedicated to providing personalized and effective legal representation to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation and take the first step toward securing your legal rights and peace of mind after a boating collision.