Walnut Creek Boat Accident Lawyer
California has miles and miles of coastline. So, boating is a very popular activity. However, offshore conditions, liek weather and currents, are much more difficult to predict than conditions on a lake or river. So, boating in California is also a very dangerous activity. No one can control boating conditions. But if negligence, or a lack of care, substantially contributed to an accident, compensation might be available.
The experienced Walnut Creek boat accident lawyers at Venardi Zurada routinely handle these matters throughout the Bay Area. So, we are familiar with all the court rules. That includes the unwritten rules. Because of this familiarity, when we go to battle for you, we focus exclusively on the case itself. That laser-like focus helps us obtain results which exceed our clients’ expectations.
Types of Boat Accidents
One of the reasons there are so many boat accidents is that these incidents basically combine the two most common causes of Emergency Room visits in California: vehicle collisions and falls.
California has one of the most relaxed boater qualification rules in the country. Many operators don’t need a Boater Card. Even if they have one, a Boater Card requires little or no onboard experience. Mostly, the qualifications can be completed online. Furthermore, anyone who rents a watercraft doesn’t need a Boater Card, regardless of age or experience.
Many inexperienced operators assume driving a boat is a lot like driving a car. After all, boats and cars are both motor vehicles. Additionally, they both have steering wheels and other similar operating equipment.
But boating is nothing like driving. Boats don’t have axles or brakes. So, they are difficult to control and stop, especially if the water is choppy. Furthermore, boats don’t have tires. Boats do not grip the water the same way a car grips the road.
Making matters worse, many boaters are impaired. Alcohol impairment is quite common. Furthermore, many boaters are distracted. They multitask between driving and non-driving tasks when they operate watercraft. More on that below.
The boat-car distinction also comes into play during pre-use inspections. Most people know what to look for when they conduct safety inspections on their cars and trucks. But most people have no idea if a boat is mechanically sound or not.
Falls are very common as well, especially on pitching and rolling decks which are probably wet and slippery. Although boat operators usually double as party hosts, it could be several minutes before someone realizes there’s a man overboard. Those several minutes could lead to tragedy.
Your Claim for Damages
After such an incident, a Walnut Creek boat accident lawyer can normally obtain compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Negligence claims typically start with a demand letter. Once medical treatment is at least substantially complete, an attorney demands an amount of money in exchange for a liability waiver. If there is no dispute as to legal fault for the accident, the claim often settles at this point. However, insurance company defenses, such as comparative fault, usually come into play. If there is any question about liability, most insurance companies use this possibility as an excuse to stall.
So, largely to put pressure on the insurance company, most attorneys file legal paperwork. That filing usually triggers a mandatory mediation requirement. During mediation, a neutral third party works with both sides and tries to engineer a settlement. If both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.
Count on an Experienced Alameda County Attorney
Injury victims are normally entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced boat accident lawyer in Walnut Creek, contact Venardi Zurada, LLP. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.