Boat Accident

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.

What Types of Boating Accidents Lead to Lawsuits?

by Staff Blogger | July 13th, 2020

For many Californians, the best way to enjoy the great outdoors is on a boat, whether the vessel of choice is a sprawling, plush yacht or a humble, one-person kayak. There’s no shortage of boating options in California, but each comes with its own set of risks. After a boating accident, you might wonder how you can get compensation for the costs of the injuries you suffered. Filing a lawsuit can help get you payment from the at-fault party’s insurance company, but since boating accidents take many forms, the type of lawsuit you file depends on the specifics of the incident. Let’s review some of the most common types of boat accidents that lead to lawsuits.

Boating Accidents Caused by Other Boat Operators

Think of boating accidents caused by other boat operators the same way you’d think about car accidents. Any boat operator who is intoxicated, reckless, distracted, or improperly trained can be held liable if they cause someone else harm. Just as in car accidents, you file a personal injury claim after a boat accident for the costs you face because of the boat operator’s negligence. Typically, the operator’s insurance company will cover your accident-related expenses, though don’t be surprised if the insurer offers you less than you deserve or denies your claim. If that happens, contact an attorney immediately for help.

Boating Accidents Caused by Defective Parts

Defective boats or boat parts can cause serious and potentially fatal injuries. If you’re injured by a faulty part, you can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the boat or the boat part. The manufacturer has a legal responsibility to pay for damages caused by its defective parts, though manufacturers often deny liability (just remember the last time you tried to get something repaired or replaced under warranty, and you’ll have an idea of how hard this is!). Your attorney will be able to fight for a settlement on your behalf or, if needed, make your case in court.

Boating Accidents When You’re A Passenger

If you’re injured on someone else’s boat, many parties potentially bear legal responsibility for your injuries. If the accident is caused by the boat’s operator, they can be held liable for the costs you face. Or, if the accident is caused by a third party, you can file a lawsuit against them to recover your damages. Speaking to a lawyer can help sort out who might ultimately be responsible and how to get the money you need to pay your medical bills.

Cruise Ship Injuries or Illnesses

Boat-related lawsuits often stem from injuries and illnesses suffered on cruise ships. If you’re hurt on a cruise, you could file a claim against the company offering that cruise. These injuries often resemble premises liability claims in that you sue the company for injuries you sustained on their property. However, cruise ship lawsuits are often more complex than typical premises liability claims. In many cases, the companies that operate cruise ships aren’t located in the U.S., and injuries on these ships usually happen offshore. Yet another factor impacting your legal options is the fact that you likely consented to the cruise’s terms and conditions when you purchased your tickets. These contracts often contain language that constrains your ability to take legal action. If you’re injured on a cruise ship, an attorney who has experience with maritime law will help you determine the best path toward compensation.

Work-Related Boating Injuries

If someone who works on a boat is injured, they typically have rights to seek compensation. This is often accomplished through the Jones Act, a century-old regulation that provides injured maritime workers with a pathway to compensation, similar to a workers’ compensation program.

Why File a Boat Accident Lawsuit?

People file boating-related personal injury lawsuits to recover the costs of their injuries. This includes the direct medical costs (ambulatory care, initial treatment, hospitalization, ongoing care, etc.), lost income due to time missed at work or diminished work capacity, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. If someone causes damage to your boat in an accident, you can seek to recover those costs, too.

How to Find Out If You Have a Lawsuit

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, you might not be sure whether you have a viable legal claim on your hands. The best way to determine whether you should move forward with a case (and who can be held legally responsible for your injuries) is to contact a boat accident attorney. When you suffer a costly injury that wasn’t your fault, the chances are good you’ll have legal options available to get compensation for the injury-related costs you’ve encountered.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Learn More

Berg Injury Lawyers offers free consultations for many types of accident and injury claims, and we can help you determine whether your injury might warrant a lawsuit. Contact our California boat accident attorneys anytime for a free case evaluation.

Winter Boat Accident? Get the Compensation You Deserve.

by Staff Blogger | December 16th, 2019

As Northern Californians, we’re lucky to avoid the harsh winters that other parts of the country experience every year. We’re also only a short drive away from warm temperatures in the Southern part of the state, which means boating season can last all year long. At Berg Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to help people who are injured in boat accidents get the compensation they deserve, no matter what time of year their accidents occur. We know that boat accidents can happen on days when the water is crowded in the middle of summer, and also during the slow parts of the year when the ocean, lakes, and rivers are calm. Accidents don’t abide by a schedule, and they don’t discriminate when it comes to time, place, or location. Simply put—if you’ve been hurt in a boat accident, you need experienced legal representation on your side, and our California boat accident lawyers are here to help. We know that you may have suffered serious injuries that result in expensive medical bills, and you may be too hurt to go back to work. It’s important to have a law firm on your side that cares about your recovery and that knows how to maximize your chances of getting compensation. When you contact us about your boat accident injury, we’ll collect evidence to determine who was at fault and that proves your injuries were caused by the accident itself. Then, we’ll find out how much money you’re owed and negotiate with the insurance company to get you paid. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Summer May Be Over, But Boat Accidents Can Still Occur

by Staff Blogger | September 23rd, 2019

Summer may have officially drawn to a close, but the weather remains beautiful and perfect for boating in the Bay Area. Spending a day on the water can be fun and relaxing, but it can also be dangerous if the person driving the boat you’re on, or other boaters, are negligent. Everything from boating under the influence to speeding to allowing too many people on board the vessel can all be considered dangerous and negligent behavior. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California boat accident attorneys are here to help people after they’ve been injured in boat accidents that weren’t their fault. The injuries associated with boat accidents can be severe, and may require extensive medical care. Affording medical bills can be a challenge, especially when accident victims’ injuries put them out of work for long periods of time. That’s why we do everything in our power to help victims recover maximum compensation. If you or someone you love was injured in a boat accident, we’ll investigate what happened find out which parties are responsible. Then, we’ll build a strong claim that the insurance company can’t ignore. In addition to providing evidence that shows you weren’t at fault, we’ll present them with a demand for full compensation for things like your current and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Don’t trust just any law firm with your boat accident claim. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Boat Accident?

by Staff Blogger | July 22nd, 2019

Although the Bay Area typically avoids the extreme heat that summer brings to other parts of California and the U.S., spending the day on the water is still a great way to cool off when temperatures rise. However, boating often involves alcohol and distractions—both of which can lead to serious accidents. If you or someone you love was recently hurt in a boating accident, you may have suffered serious, disabling injuries that require medical attention. That means big emergency room bills that you might not be able to afford. As with most types of accidents, you may be eligible to file a compensation claim against the person or party who caused the boat accident, but determining who is liable can be difficult. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California boat accident attorneys know which parties are often responsible for boat accidents, including:
  • Boat operators—Boat operators can cause accidents when they’re impaired, distracted, or reckless.
  • Boat passengers—Passengers can contribute to or cause accidents when they distract boat drivers or prevent them from safely operating their vessels.
  • Boat owners—Boat owners are responsible for keeping their vessels maintained and sea-worthy. When they fail to do so, serious accidents can occur.
  • Other boaters—If you were injured in a collision with another boat, the other boat operator may be held responsible for your injuries if their negligence caused the accident.
Getting compensation after a boat accident requires experience and knowledge of boating laws, and we have both. Call today for a free consultation.

Be Safe on Your Boat This Summer

by Staff Blogger | May 6th, 2019

We’re only a few weeks away from Memorial Day weekend, which marks the unofficial start of summer. And with plenty of warm weather and sunshine on the way, boating season will be in full swing. If you’re planning on taking your boat out on the water in the coming weeks and months, it’s important to stay cautious to protect yourself, your passengers, and other people enjoying California’s oceans, rivers, and lakes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before your first summer boat outing:
  • Make sure your boat is equipped with required safety gear—You should have one life jacket per passenger for every trip. You should also have multiple flotation devices that can be thrown into the water to retrieve passengers who fall overboard.
  • Don’t drink and boat—Many people who would never get behind the wheels of their vehicles after drinking will combine alcohol with boating. Driving a boat while impaired is just as dangerous as driving a car, truck, or SUV. If you’re going to consume alcohol, stay on land or appoint a designated driver for your boat.
  • Turn on your lights—The Bay Area is notorious for fog, and it can roll in and out at a moment’s notice. Visibility is key for boating safety, and that means making sure your lights are on when you’re out on the water.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we’re here to help anyone who gets injured this summer in a boating accident that wasn’t their fault. Call our California boat accident attorneys today for a free consultation.

Boat Safety Checklist for Spring

by Staff Blogger | March 11th, 2019

Spring is here, and that means the return of boating season in Northern California. If you’re like most boaters, you’ve been itching to get back out on the water. But before you do, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for potential accidents and emergencies. Here are a few steps you should take to reduce your boating risks this spring:
  • Check your supply of life jackets—You should always have at least one life jacket for every person onboard your boat. Inspect life jackets already on your boat for signs of damage. Replace any that are frayed or damaged, as they may be less effective in the water.
  • Check your lights—If you take your boat out during times of limited visibility, such as at night, in the rain, or when it’s foggy, your lights may be the only way for other boaters to see you. Check your battery and your lights to ensure everything is in proper working condition.
  • Check your registration and boating license—Are you legally allowed to take your boat out on the water? If your boating license or your boat registration have expired, the answer may be no. Make sure those documents are up to date to avoid troubles when you launch your boat this spring.
The California boat accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help if you or someone you love gets injured in a boating accident this spring and throughout the year. Call us today for a free consultation.

Boating Season Isn’t Over, and We’re Still Here to Help

by Staff Blogger | September 5th, 2018

Labor Day has come and gone, and for many people, that spells the unofficial end of summer. But warm weather and pleasant boating days will remain in the Bay Area for many more weeks. If you’re planning on taking your boat out, it’s important to be cautious and prepared for emergencies. A few things you can do to reduce your risks on the water include:
  • Never operating your boat after drinking alcohol—Driving a boat while intoxicated is just as serious and dangerous as driving a vehicle while impaired. If you plan on drinking, appoint a designated driver for your boat or leave it at the dock.
  • Not heading out when visibility will be reduced—One component of safe boating is being able to see where you’re going. When visibility is reduced due to rain or fog, you’re more likely to be involved in a serious boating accident.
  • Stocking your boat with necessary safety equipment—By law, you’re required to have life jackets for every person onboard your boat. You should also have a throwable floatation device that can be used in the event of an emergency. A fire extinguisher, a distress flag, and a radio or cell phone are also essential to call for help if necessary.
Unfortunately, you can still be involved in a boating accident even when you take all the right precautions. If you or someone you love were hurt on the water due to someone else’s negligence, the California boat accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help. Call us today for a free consultation.

Stay Safe on Your Boat This Memorial Day Weekend

by Staff Blogger | May 21st, 2018

Memorial Day is Monday, May 28, and that means this upcoming weekend is one of the biggest boating weekends of the year. If you’re a boat owner, you may already have plans to spend the day on the water. But with so many other vessels around, it’s important to keep a few important safety tips in mind throughout the day, including:
  • Don’t operate your boat after consuming alcohol. Safe boating requires a sober mind and body. As with driving a vehicle, safely operating a boat and consuming alcohol just don’t mix. California’s legal limit for alcohol intoxication while operating a boat is 0.08 percent—the same as it is for driving a car, truck, or SUV.
  • Avoid distractions while your boat is in motion. Boating is a social activity, and it’s common for boat owners to have multiple passengers on their boats when they take them out into the water. But the more passengers you have, the greater your risk of being distracted. When you’re operating your boat, stay focused on where you’re going and getting there as safely as possible.
  • Stay home if the weather or water aren’t cooperating. Boating can be dangerous during inclement weather or in choppy and rough water. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and tide conditions before you head out on your boat, and if conditions look too rough, stay home—it could save your life.
If you or someone you love were injured in a boating accident, the California boat accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help. Call today for a free consultation.

Spring Boating Safety Checklist

by Staff Blogger | March 19th, 2018

Spring is here, and that means many boat owners in California will be taking their vessels out over the coming weeks and months. Whether you’re an avid boater or only hit the waters a few times per year, it’s important to remember that boating comes with many dangers and risks, especially when you don’t follow all of the necessary safety precautions. You can make your next day out on the water safer and more enjoyable for yourself, your family, and your friends by following these safety tips:
  • Stock up on life jackets. Life jackets can save lives in the event of an emergency, and it’s essential that you have at least one on board for every person on your boat. In addition, you’re also required to have a throwable floatation device if your boat is more than 16-feet in length.
  • Never operate a boat after consuming alcohol. Just as it’s important to abstain from drinking alcohol before driving a vehicle, it’s also vital that you avoid drinking before or during a boat outing when you’re behind the wheel.
  • Keep your eyes and mind on the water. Distraction isn’t just a problem when you’re driving on four wheels—it’s also a significant problem for boaters. Because boating is such a social activity, it’s easy for drivers to become distracted, but you should always keep your full and undivided attention on steering the boat safely.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California boat accident lawyers are here to help anyone who was hurt on a waterway in the Bay Area due to another person’s negligence. Call today for a free consultation.