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Over 12.5 million boats and personal watercrafts are currently registered in the U.S. While the number of lakes, rivers and water ways has not increased, the number of water vehicles has increased by over 2 million since the late 1980s. At the same time, the number of watercraft operators that don’t know the laws has also increased, and many people are paying the price. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are over 8,000 boating accidents every year. These incidents leave over 800 people dead and more than 4,000 seriously injured.
On an annual basis, over 600 of these incidents are caused by equipment failure. However, most of these incidents are due to operator negligence such as inattention, careless or reckless operation, and unsafe speed. A common contributing factor is alcohol. The Coast Guard estimates that operators with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 are more than ten times as likely to be in an accident than those with a blood alcohol level of zero. Law enforcement also works hard to minimize boating accidents.
Sacramento is home to major rivers such as the Sacramento River and the American River. The Delta is an expansive area that connects these two substantive rivers with the San Jaoquin River. These rivers as well as Folsom Lake are extremely popular destinations for boaters. There is not much that compares to a relaxing day out on the water, but boating accidents are a reality that should not be overlooked.
If you have been in a boat accident, here are some things you need to know. Most of these circumstances require that you send a report to either the state agency regulating or the U.S. Coast Guard. In most states, you must file a report of the incident with the involved injuries that needed more than first aid, or if there was damage to any property above a certain amount, frequently $500. This is important. Failure to remain on the scene, provide aid, and report the incident in a timely manner is a crime. We also recommend that you report the incident to your insurance company. This is a requirement if a state or federal report was made.
Recreational boating accidents are governed by a number of city, county and/or state laws. Most operators have a legal obligation to operate their watercraft in a safe manner. If they don’t, there may be criminal charges, and those who were injured may be entitled to sue for damages. Owners also need to be careful about allowing others to drive their boat. No matter who is driving, if there is in an accident, the owner may be liable for the damages.
California has more boating accidents every year than all but one state (Florida). In fact, of all the accidents that have taken place in the U.S. since 2011, over 9% have been in California. This may not seem like a large number until deaths are factored in. Over 1 in 10 accidents are fatal. With almost 2000 accidents having occurred in the last 5 years, the number of deaths due to a boating accident in California has exceeded 220. Even one life lost is too much. That’s why Penney Law is dedicated to helping those in the Sacramento and Roseville area deal with times where a relaxing day on the boat turns into an emergency. All statistics were taken from the US Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics 2015 report.
If you have been injured in any kind of water vehicle crash that was someone else’s fault, you have the right to boat injury compensation for a wide range of things including:
In the extremely unfortunate event that a death has resulted from your event, you can file a wrongful death boat accident lawsuit with Sacramento personal injury lawyer Frank D. Penney. Contact Frank Penney Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation.