Laguna Hills Boat Accident Lawyer 

Californians love their time on the water. Whether as a boater, swimmer, kayaker, or jet-skier, the surrounding lakes and ocean offer hours of aquatic entertainment. Unfortunately, the potential for injury is just as prominent. Collisions between boats and other watercraft can result in serious injuries or even death. In this case, it is essential to reach out to a Laguna Hills boat accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Many of the same rules that govern personal injuries due to car accidents translate to accidents on the water. These include accidents caused by drunk drivers and speeders. A Laguna Hills boat accident lawyer can represent individuals who have been injured while on the water, helping them to fight for the fair compensation that they deserve. Get in touch with a dedicated injury lawyer right away.

Applicable Local Laws

While California has enacted a number of laws that govern how and when a person may operate a boat, the legislature has remained silent on how people who have become injured in boating accidents can claim damages.

This is because boat accidents, like all other personal injury cases, are defined by the common law. The common law is created through a collection of court decisions that have accumulated over the years. A Laguna Hills boat accident lawyer will be well versed in these decisions and therefore better able to guide an individual through the process.

Because all courts are bound to follow the previous court’s rulings, an understanding of the law can be obtained through analysis of the court’s decisions. This collection of decisions is common law.

Proving Negligence

The common law provides a means by which people injured in accidents can claim damages against the at-fault person. This is known as negligence. Working with a Laguna Hills boat accident lawyer, there are five parts, or elements, of a negligence claims that a plaintiff must satisfy to win their case. These are:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Scope
  • Damages

Elements of a Negligence Claim

Consider the example of Boat A colliding with Boat B, after ignoring a speed limit buoy, and the driver of the latter suffers a broken leg. Below is an illustration of each of the five elements needed in order to prove negligence on the part of the former.

  • Duty- In certain situations, the law places a responsibility on a person to protect others. This is never automatic, but a person may voluntarily participate in an act that creates a duty. All operators of boats, whether sailboats or motorboats, have a duty to care for all other boaters, passengers, and swimmers. Therefore, the driver of Boat A has a duty to protect the driver of Boat B.
  • Breach – A breach of the duty of care occurs when a person with the duty takes an action that causes harm to a protected party. In this example, Boat A breached the duty of care towards Boat B by speeding. This clear violation of a regulation may qualify as negligence per se, meaning that the driver of Boat B was automatically negligent.
  • Causation – The plaintiff must be able to prove that but for the breach of the duty of care, the injuries would not have occurred. It is reasonable to say that if the collision has never happened, Boat B’s driver would not have a broken leg.
  • Scope – The injuries suffered must have been foreseeable from the facts of the case. Boating accidents can routinely result in broken bones, so this is not at issue here.
  • Damages – The plaintiff must have an actual physical injury to pursue a case. Other factors, such as lost wages or mental anguish, can certainly be added on, but are insufficient to stand alone. This element is satisfied through the broken leg.

Statute of Limitations for Claims

It appears that we have a solid negligence claim against the driver of Boat A. However, a case may still fail if boat accident attorneys in Laguna Hills do not satisfy the statute of limitations. This is a time limit imposed on all plaintiffs in civil cases. If they do not file their cases in court within the time limit, all recovery will be barred.

All actions for personal injury must be started within two years of the accident. Therefore, if the accident mentioned above happened three years ago, the plaintiff is out of luck.

How a Laguna Hills Boat Accident Attorney Can Help

Accidents that result from collisions on the water can cause serious injuries that have a lasting impact on a person’s life. On top of the medical bills that result from necessary treatment, the mental anguish and lost wages can be considerable. In addition, insurance companies tend to pressure individuals to sign statements or approve settlements for token sums.

It is important to not allow oneself to be pressured into an overly hasty decision. Rather, consult with a Laguna Hills boat accident lawyer, allowing them to deal with the insurance companies in order to focus on regaining lost health. By gathering the evidence, talking to witnesses, and forming detailed demand packages, most cases settle without going to court for fair compensation.

In the rare instance of a trial, a Laguna Hills boat accident lawyer will be well equipped to present the case to the jury. Contact today to begin working toward the best outcome possible.