Boating is popular throughout California. Many people enjoy a variety of boating and water activities on our state’s lakes, rivers, and oceans. Unfortunately, a boating accident can result in traumatic injuries and life-threatening conditions. For some individuals, a boating accident could result in life-altering disabilities. If you are injured in a boating accident, there are several things you should do after the accident, including contacting a Los Angeles boating accident attorney as soon as possible.
Seven Steps to Take After a California Boating Accident
1. Account for Everyone
First, account for everyone on board at the time of the accident. If someone fell overboard, begin an immediate search. Determine who needs immediate medical attention. Make sure that everyone else is secure and safe. If the boat is going down, ensure everyone has a life jacket, float, or other devices. Deploy rafts and assist people aboard.
2. Notify Emergency Officials
At the same time that others are checking on individuals, someone needs to notify emergency officials immediately. Send out a distress signal, contact the Coast Guard, and call 911. Every boat owner should have detailed, written instructions for requesting emergency assistance in the event of a boating accident or injury.
3. Gather Information About the Boating Accident
Once the boat is secure and everyone is stable, begin gathering information about the accident. Steps that can be helpful include:
- Take pictures of the boat, any other vessels, and the area.
- Ask for the names and contact information of all passengers on the boat and any eyewitnesses.
- Note the identification number and registration information for all vessels involved in the accident.
- Make notes about what you remember regarding what happened before, during, and after the boating accident.
- Ask owners for the names of the insurance companies and insurance policy numbers for all vessels involved in the boating accident.
- Make notes about the various emergency agencies that responded to the accident or provided emergency assistance to the passengers.
Gathering information immediately after the boating accident can help you later when you are ready to file an injury claim related to the accident.
4. Seek Medical Assistance
Once you are ashore, see a doctor immediately. Even if you believe you are not seriously injured, it is best to be checked by a physician. You cannot be certain of the extent of your injuries until a physician examines. If you develop any symptoms in the days or weeks after a boating accident, return to the doctor. Delays in medical care are often used by insurance companies to deny injury claims.
5. Avoid Discussing Claims with Insurance Adjusters
An insurance adjuster may ask you to provide a written or recorded statement. You are not required to provide a statement without counsel. Anything you say could be misconstrued or twisted to support the insurance company or the other party. It is best to seek legal counsel before discussing your claim with an insurance company.
6. Document Damages
Keep copies of all documents for your accident files. Write down all expenses and financial losses related to the accident, including medical bills, lost wages, travel expenses, and help with household chores. You may also want to make notes regarding your recovering, including daily pain levels, how your injuries impact your daily activities, and the impact on your quality of life.
7. Call a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
As soon as possible, contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys to discuss your case. Our attorneys provide free consultations for accident victims. Learn about your legal rights, the steps to avoid, the steps to take, and your options for seeking compensation for your injuries from a trusted boating accident lawyer.