Did Your Loved One Drown in a Boating Accident? You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If someone’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, you deserve compensation. Although no amount of money will bring them back, securing compensation through a lawsuit may give you some peace of mind. Call Case Barnett Law at 949-409-0055 to schedule your free consultation today. 

image of a boat in costa mesa

One of the saddest things about fatal boating accidents is that they typically occur when people are having fun with friends or family. In Southern California, boating is more than a popular pastime — it’s a way of life. Unfortunately, that means that Orange County has more than its fair share of drowning deaths

Although most people recognize cars as potentially dangerous, few people think about boats in the same way. However, boating accidents have the potential to be just as dangerous as cars — if not more dangerous. Think about it: At least people who are injured by motor vehicles remain on solid ground. Incapacitated boating accident victims can easily slip beneath the water’s surface and drown. 

Sometimes, fatal boating accidents are no one’s fault; a storm popped up and capsized the boat or a riptide pulled someone out to sea. However, many fatal boating accidents can be attributed to somebody’s negligent actions, and in these cases, their surviving family members can sue the at-fault party. Keep reading to learn who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit and how an experienced Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer can help. 

Losing a loved one does more than leave a hole in your heart; it can decimate every area of life. A breadwinner’s death can leave families financially devastated and unprepared to continue life as they knew it. If this is your situation, you may want to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit

What Causes Fatal Boating Accidents in Orange County? 

Drownings happen quickly, sometimes before anyone notices. This can make figuring out what caused the drowning difficult. Although many events can contribute to boat accident drownings, most of them involve the same handful of factors. 

Fatal Boating Accident Risk Factors

For many people, getting out on the water is the perfect occasion for a cold drink. However, just like drinking and driving don’t mix, neither does drinking and boating. According to a 2020 report issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is a major contributing factor in many boating accidents, as well as the primary factor in 23 percent of nationwide boating deaths.

Another major risk factor is failure to wear a life jacket. Many drowning victims know how to swim, but no one can swim unconscious. Personal floatation devices are especially important in bodies of water that can produce strong undercurrents. Even if it ruins your sun tan, wearing a lifejacket when you’re boating is always a good decision. 

Types of Boating Accidents

Several different types of boating accidents can precipitate a drowning death, but the following incidents are among the most common: 

  • Capsizing. Strong waves, powerful winds, and collisions can cause a boat to capsize, which can eject passengers into the water or trap them below deck. 
  • Crashing into a fixed object. In this Titanic scenario, a boat hits an object, causing major damage. These wrecks can be caused by negligent operating or by inability to see an object underwater.  
  • Colliding with another boat. When two boats collide, there’s a good chance that inattentiveness, faulty maintenance, or intoxication play a role.  
  • Falling overboard. This is one of the most common causes of boat-related drowning deaths, and it disproportionately affects people who are not wearing lifejackets. 
  • Jumping from the boat. Although it’s fun, jumping or diving into the water can result in drowning, especially among intoxicated people. 
  • Flooding. When water fills the boat as a result of a collision, everyone on board is at risk for drowning. Like every other scenario, the risk of drowning is higher for people who are intoxicated, can’t swim, or aren’t wearing a lifejacket. 

As you can see, many types of boat accidents can cause passengers to drown, and some of these accidents are no one’s fault. However, there are some situations in which a drowning would never have occurred if not for someone’s negligent actions.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Drowning

Before you can file a wrongful death lawsuit for your loved one’s drowning, you need to ask yourself an essential question: Is this tragedy the result of someone’s recklessness? If the answer is no, you probably aren’t eligible to file a claim. However, these accidents can be more complex than they initially appear, which is why it’s often a good idea to seek an attorney’s opinion. 

For example, suppose your brother jumped from the boat intoxicated, was knocked unconscious upon impact, and drowned. At first glance, it might seem like he was the only one responsible. However, after you get more information, you realize he was boating with his best friend’s family, and the dad was offering him beer after beer, even though he’s a minor. That changes the situation quite a bit, doesn’t it? 

Ultimately, wrongful death lawsuits are reserved for situations in which a loved one’s death was caused, completely or partially, by someone else’s negligence. If you’re unsure if your particular situation qualifies, talk to a trusted wrongful death attorney in Orange County. 

Case Barnett Law: Orange County’s Personal Injury Lawyers

Boating is an American pastime, but just like many of our favorite activities, it involves risk. Whenever someone takes their boat out on the water, there’s a possibility that they could drown. This loss of life is heart-wrenching no matter the circumstances, but it may be especially tragic when it is caused by negligence. 

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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