Like others around the world, our San Francisco personal injury law firm team has been watching as the tragic story of the cruise ship disaster on the Italian coast unfolds. It seems that each day a new element emerges as the world attempts to understand both the accident and its aftermath. The actions of the ship’s captain both leading up to and following the moment the Concordia ran aground will be discussed and disputed for a long time to come. The reports thus far suggest far more than simple negligence on the captain’s behalf and serve as a reminder that operating errors can extend far beyond drivers of cars and SUVs.
We are proud to serve boating accident victims in San Francisco and throughout Northern California, regardless of whether their injuries occurred on a large cruise ship or a much smaller, personal boat. The California Department of Boating and Waterways, which compiles statistics on boating injuries in the state, found that in 2008 a total of 686 accidents led to 382 injuries, 48 deaths, and $5,899,184 in damages. This represented a significant decline from the prior year with 2007 containing 804 accidents, 482 injuries, 55 fatalities, and $10,643,800 in economic damages resulting from boating accidents. In both years, the largest share of accidents involved open motorboats. Other Department publications suggest that half of all fatal boating accidents involve intoxicated vessel operators.
Given the numerous coastal regions and other waterways in our state, it is not surprising that California has a fully developed system of laws and regulations governing boaters that is akin to the more commonly known rules of the roadways. The waterways laws include many specific procedural rules as well as general prohibitions against reckless or negligent vessel operation. California does not, however, require a license to operate a boat. The Department of Boating and Waterways does offer a number of safety education pamphlets, including a detailed correspondence home safety course that can result in reduced insurance premiums upon a boat owner’s successful completion of a safety test. In some cases, people who have been involved in a boating accident or who have been charged with a violation of a waterways law may be ordered by a judge to take part in this course.
Our hearts go out to those involved in the Italian cruise disaster, including passengers and those who lost loved ones. Thankfully, boating accidents on this scale are relatively rare. However, as the statistics above show, smaller scale waterways accidents impact many California residents every year. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, it is vital that you reach out to an experienced San Francisco boating injury lawyer. Gregory Brod and the Brod Law Firm team can help you to understand and navigate the legal system and receive compensation for your injuries from the parties at fault. As always, our office offers a free consultation to all prospective clients. Most of our San Francisco personal injury lawsuits are handled on a contingent fee basis so there is no charge unless you recover compensation for your injuries.