If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed in a boating accident, contact GJEL for a FREE case review. Our boat accident lawyer team is committed to helping families and we will do everything possible to hold wrongdoers responsible.

GJEL handles serious injury and wrongful death cases from boating accidents throughout California.

$13,600,000 Trial for wrongful death boating accident View Case

Talk to a California Boat Accident Lawyer – You May Be Entitled to Compensation for:

  • Lost wages from injuries or death
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Funeral expenses
  • & more

We will fight for you at no out-of-pocket cost to you. You won’t pay unless and until we win your case. Contact a boat accident lawyer at GJEL today to find out if you have a case.

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GJEL Is An Award-Winning Personal Injury Law Firm

GJEL is one of California’s highest-rated boat accident law firms and we have recovered over $950 Million dollars for our clients while maintaining a 99% success rate. We specialize in helping victims who have been seriously injured or killed in boating and watercraft accidents throughout California.

At GJEL we give every case the personal attention it deserves. We are boat accident experts

What You Should Do After A Boat Accident

At the Scene

Contact the nearest Coast Guard or state marine police station to file a report of the incident. Get names, contact information, and insurance information from any other boaters involved, and take photos of the accident scene. These reports and photos will preserve information and help with any subsequent settlement or litigation.

After a boat accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if the injury appears minor, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Injuries may not become apparent until days or even weeks after an accident.

After the Accident

If you have been involved in a boating accident, you will need to consult a boat injury lawyer who will be able to advise you on the best course of action. You should also gather as much documentation as you can on your injuries and related expenses.

Be careful what you say to other third parties. Insurance adjusters and attorneys have a vested interest in minimizing your damages and paying as little as possible on your claim. It is best to let an experienced attorney handle their questions and requests.

Types of Cases We Handle

At GJEL, we handle all types of boating accidents. Here are a few of the more common accidents we see:

– Boating accidents at work-related functions
– Charter Boat and SCUBA Accidents
– Boat Fires
– Slip and Falls

While some boats may seem safer than others, a cabin cruiser is just as susceptible to an accident as a sailboat. This is because the weather on the water can be unpredictable.

If you were injured on a boat you should talk to an attorney right away.

Boating Injury Lawyers at GJEL are standing by ready to help in your time of need!

California Boating Accidents Are Common

Whether you are enjoying time on a privately owned boat, riding a personal watercraft such as a jet ski, or taking a ferry to work you are at risk for serious boating injuries.

While boating can be a fun activity, sometimes accidents happen.

Although boat operators and owners have a duty to exercise the highest degree of care in order to prevent injuries to others, injuries still frequently occur as the result of negligence or carelessness.

Some of the most common boat accidents are the following:

  • Slip and fall due to a wet surface
  • Multiple boat collisions
  • Boat sinking or tipping
  • Boat fires
  • Falling off a boat
  • Death

Many accidents that take place on watercraft are the result of a reckless or inexperienced operator or some type of boat malfunction.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, contact GJEL Boat Accident Attorneys today for a free case review. We have recovered over $10 million dollars for clients who have been seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of a boat operator or owner.

Top Causes of Boat Accidents in California

In 2021, there were 593 reported boating accidents in California, resulting in 256 injuries and 44 fatalities. Here are some of the most common reasons for boating accidents.


Over one-third of all boating accidents involve a boat driver who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. California has strict BUI (boating under the influence) laws, but they are often ignored. A boat accident attorney can get you the compensation you deserve for injuries caused by intoxicated boaters.

Unsafe Speed

Boating too fast for water conditions can lead to serious boat accidents. Other boats can be overturned in wakes caused by a reckless boater, or passengers can be injured when a boat slams into submerged rocks at high speeds or is unable to stop before hitting another watercraft.

Careless and Reckless Operation of a Boat

Many injuries happen due to operator negligence. Recreational boats are required to carry fire extinguishers and life vests and to have horns and visual signals. Captains must watch for other boats and swimmers in the water. A boat accident attorney can help you hold negligent owners responsible for their carelessness.

Inexperienced Boat Driver

Boat operators must understand the water rules. They must be able to handle emergency situations and they must know how to drive and steer a boat. Without that knowledge, an inexperienced boater becomes a hazard to passengers and to other boaters. Operator inexperience is the third leading cause of boat accidents.

Boat Passenger Carelessness or Recklessness

While boating accidents are most frequently caused by operator error, passengers can also be found guilty of reckless, criminal, or negligent behavior. A passenger who assaults another passenger or interferes with the boat’s operation can be held liable for their actions should they lead to injuries or accidents.

Bad Weather

When you are out on the water, the weather can be unpredictable. Operators need to stay alert for weather changes and pay attention to forecasts and Coast Guard warnings of dangerous weather. conditions. If they do not, they put their craft and passengers at serious risk of injury or death.

Boat Accident Statistics Across the US

A man enjoying a boat ride in a California lake

There are approximately 13 million boats and watercrafts registered in the U.S., many of which should be equipped with Coast Guard-approved safety devices, such as:

  • Personal floatation devices of varying sizes for adults and children
  • Sound-producing devices, such as a horn, whistle, or bell
  • Working radio to make distress calls in the event of an emergency
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Visual distress signals such as lights or orange flags
  • Ventilation on gasoline-powered boats

These and other safety devices are important for boaters of all ages and skill levels because they may save lives by preventing accidents and serious injuries. Unfortunately, 800 people are killed and over 8,000 people suffer injuries due to involvement in boating accidents every year.

Types of Damage in a Boat Accident Lawsuit

Boating accidents can be traumatic, life-changing events. If you were involved in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence or misbehavior, you are eligible for compensation for your losses. Here are some of the damages that you can claim in a boat accident lawsuit.

Costs of Past and Future Medical Treatment

Slips and falls, near-drowning, propeller wounds, or other injuries from a boating accident can lead to high medical bills and ongoing medical expenses. If your boat accident attorney can prove in a lawsuit that the other party or parties were totally at fault in the incident, you can expect full compensation for any past or future medical treatment needed for your injuries. This includes not only doctor and hospital expenses but also rehabilitation, therapy, and necessary medical devices.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

Boating accidents can leave you with chronic pain and mental trauma. If the injuries you sustained were severe and caused you to experience extreme pain and emotional suffering, or if you lost a loved one due to a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced boat accident lawyer can ensure that you are made whole for grief, anxiety, and sleepless nights caused by someone else’s carelessness.

Lost Wages

A boating accident may leave you unable to work for a lengthy period or leave you unable to perform your previous job. If you lose wages or your ability to work is impacted as a result of a negligent boater, you deserve to be compensated for your financial losses, lost benefits, missed promotions, and other damages to your earning potential. A skilled boating accident attorney can tally your wage losses and build a strong case for your lost wage claims.

Damage to Property

If your boat is damaged in a boating accident where the other party was at fault, you are entitled to compensation for the fair market value of your boat or for the cost of any necessary repairs. You may also raise a claim for personal property that was damaged, lost, or destroyed in the boating accident. Your boat accident lawyer can help you tally up your property losses and file reimbursement claims with the proper people.

Talk to a Boat Accident Attorney at GJEL

We invite you to call 1-855-508-9565 or email lawfirm@gjel.com to speak with an experienced boating accident attorney at GJEL if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident. We provide free consultations, and we’re paid only when we win your claim. You’ll pay no fees if we don’t obtain a verdict or settlement for you.

Please visit the Contact Us page to find our local office nearest you. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

If you or someone you know was injured in a boat accident, contact GJEL today for a no-obligation free case review at (925) 471-8225.



  • The Largest Class Action Lawsuits & Settlements
    It has been a big year for class action lawsuits. Most recently, thousands of Toyota drivers have sued the Japanese auto giant for injuries and loss of investment resulting from unintended acceleration, and victims of the BP Gulf oil spill disaster are lining up to take on the British oil conglomerate in court. Both of those budding class action battles pale in comparison to the legal storm about to engulf WalMart, which is being sued for gender discrimination by more than a million women in potentially the largest class action suit ever. To put this in perspective, we decided to round up a list of other massive class action titans over the past two decades.
  • Best Personal Injury Law Firms in The Bay Area
    At GJEL Accident Attorneys we’ve been serving the California community for over 40 years. During that time we’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredible law firms in the bay area. It’s one of the reasons we’ve consistently been recognized as top rated personal injury lawyers by organizations such as Best Lawyers, Newsweek, & US News & World Report. Finding a GOOD personal injury attorney can be difficult these days as there are many firms that take cases and try to settle them quickly. Law firms focused on this approach typically don’t have your best interest in mind. That’s why we compiled this list of the best personal injury law firms in the San Francisco bay area. The list of attorneys below was compiled by the staff at GJEL and includes attorneys who have met our requirements for being the best of the best including: ✅ Strong results. Each of these firms on our list consistently deliver strong results for their clients. ✅ They will fight for you (and what’s right). All of these lawyers put their clients first. They want to see justice and care about delivering exceptional results. ✅ True Personal Injury Experts. Everyone on this list specializes in personal injury cases. It’s their bread and butter and they really help deliver results for their clients. ✅ Friendly. Each of these attorneys are friendly, easy to work with, and will help you reach the outcome you desire. If you’re looking for the best personal injury attorney San Francisco, look no further than GJEL Accident Attorneys. The Top-Rated Personal Injury Attorneys in the Bay Area How to Find The Best Bay Area Personal Injury Law Firm If you’re interested in doing your own research on how to find the best personal injury law firm we recommend checking out our full article on that here. But here are a few steps to get you started in the right direction. Honorable Mentions Here are some other honorable mentions from Yelp for the best accident attorneys. Gomerman Bourn & Associates The Law Collective RMD Law If you’re not sure where to turn, contact GJEL Accident Attorneys with offices from Gilroy to San Jose for a free case review today. We were recently recognized by the San Francisco Examiner as one of the best law firms in the bay area. Check out the article here. Click here to read about the best personal injury attorney in California rated by LA Weekly.
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This post of the 10 biggest personal injury settlements ever gives you an idea of what kind of outcomes are possible with the right legal representation on your side. GJEL Accident Attorneys has recovered over $950,000,000 for our clients injured in accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to someone eles’s negligece call GJEL For a Free Case Evaluation.  Here are the Largest Personal Injury Awards &  Settlements in US History 1. $206 Billion Dollars for The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement It is standard knowledge today that tobacco kills, but even 25 years ago, the effects of smoking were still relatively unknown—or, at least, the big tobacco companies did a really good job of hiding them. That is, until 1998, when 46 states rallied together against America’s four largest tobacco companies to recover the costs of caring for lifelong smokers. The suits also sought punitive damages for Big Tobacco’s deliberate misleading advertising and unethical business practices. The nation was on the edge of its seat waiting for a verdict. Would the jury side with Big Tobacco and say that smokers knew what dangers they were getting into by lighting up, or would it side with the smokers and the states caring for them? Ultimately, the jury had a heart, and it went on to punish Big Tobacco by handing down a final judgement of over $206 billion to be paid over the course of 25 years. The settlement was meant to help hospitals care for ill smokers, and some money even went to the development of an anti-smoking organization. 2. $150 Billion For The Family of Robert Middleton In 1998, eight-year-old Robert Middleton was sexually assaulted, doused in gasoline, and lit on fire by then 13-year-old Don Collins. Middleton received burns over 99 percent of his body. The story shocked the world, but the tragic tale was far from over. Twelve years later, in 2010, Middleton died of skin cancer. Robert’s family pointed the finger at Collins, claiming the burns caused the cancer. Though Collins’s attorney did everything in his power to convince the jury that Collins’s misbehavior had nothing to do with Robert’s death, the jury did not buy it. Collins was sentenced as an adult and charged with the wrongful death of Robert Middleton. Robert’s family was awarded $150 billion in punitive damages. 3. $20 Billion for the BP Oil Spill Although direct injuries were not the most sizeable line item in this settlement there were injuries related to this spill in addition to the unprecedented environmental damage. 4. $4.9 Billion For The Anderson Family From General Motors In 1993, a Chevy Malibu containing six of the Anderson family members was hit by a drunk driver. The impact from the car accident caused the fuel tank to catch fire and explode. All six members of the family, including four children, were severely burnt. The family pursued compensatory damages from General Motors, but the company fought back. The case went to trial, and the family was awarded $4.9 billion—$107.6 million of which was for compensatory damages and $4.8 billion of which was for punitive damages. GM, of course, appealed, and the Superior Court Judge ended up reducing the settlement amount to $1.2 billion. 5. Gas Station Manager Awarded $60 Million After Suffering Brain Injuries Caused by Derailed Train In 1997, a derailed train went careening into a trackside gas station. Donald French, the gas station manager, was in his office at the time and likely never expected in his wildest dreams that a wayward train would disrupt his day. Yet, that is precisely what happened, and though he lived, he did suffer a traumatic brain injury. He was awarded $46 million in damages and another $14 million in interest, making for a grand total of $60 million. 6. Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp Blamed for Malfunctioning Seatbelt: $32.5 Million In 1996, Mark Force was hit head on by another vehicle. He was wearing his seatbelt, but instead of locking up and keeping him safe, his seatbelt malfunctioned, and Force was thrown out the windshield on impact. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result. Force did not just sue the negligent driver—he also went on to sue Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. for damages caused by the malfunctioning safety restraint. The jury sided with Mark and awarded him $32.5 million in damages. 7. Gloria Aguilar Awarded $27.5 Million After Losing Her Leg in a Bus Accident In 2005, Gloria Aguilar was just two blocks from her apartment in New York City when a transit bus ran over her while it was turning a corner. As a result of the accident, Aguilar lost her left leg. After seven agonizing weeks at trial, the jury handed down a verdict that had Gloria and her family in tears: She was to walk away with $27.5 million in compensatory damages. The verdict came four years after the devastating accident occurred. 8. Medical Malpractice in London Results in a $25.5 Million Verdict When Maisha Najeeb was just 10 years old, she…
  • 2023 GJEL Law Scholarship Winner
    GJEL Accident Attorneys is proud to announce Janiyah Williams as the winner of the 2023 GJEL Law Student Scholarship. Law school is expensive, and the attorneys at GJEL understand the financial burdens law students face when working toward their degrees. In support of those efforts, GJEL is pleased to award $2,000 scholarships annually to deserving students. This annual scholarship recognizes outstanding law students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and a commitment to the principles of justice and law. Scholarship Eligibility To be eligible for this award, the student must be enrolled in an accredited United States Law School by Fall 2023. Students must provide a copy of a valid school-issued ID or an acceptance letter at the time of their submission to prove enrollment. Winners will be selected based on the following criteria from the attorneys at GJEL. Read Dayana’s full essay below: In Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise,” she says “Leaving behind nights of terror and fearI rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise.” These poignant words have resonated with me since I read them for the first time, but they became my motto during my undergraduate years. My dream is to be an attorney who advocates for those who have been improperly treated in our justice system. But, my journey to achieving that dream has not always been a smooth road. During the second semester of my sophomore year, my life was great. I adjusted to my college environment and finally felt like I belonged on campus. I was hired as a Residential Advisor in my favorite residence hall on campus. I was happy: I was connecting with my residents, spending time with my friends, and maintaining my grades and Dean’s List standing. My life was full of adventure and excitement, and I was enjoying my college experience. Then, the first COVID-19 outbreak began, and I found out I was pregnant. My world was turned completely upside down, and every ounce of confidence and security that I had in my future plans was ripped away from me. My classes transitioned to a virtual format, the residence halls were closed, and I was isolated from all of my friends. Like many others across the world, I was left with nothing but the haze of confusion and vulnerability. But that haze was thicker for me because I was expecting. Pregnancy is traditionally depicted as a beautiful time in a woman’s life: she is surrounded by love, and her aura is radiant and exudes happiness. By all means, not all pregnancies are like this, but I always imagined mine would be. But it wasn’t. It was filled with loneliness, fear, and worry about my future as well as my unborn child’s. Not only did I not want her to be born in the chaos of the pandemic, but I also didn’t want her to be born into a world in which her mother did not know how to properly care for her. I felt inadequate due to my age and worried that I would be unable to rise to the occasion and give her everything that she deserved. For months, I was drowning in my own thoughts and fears. I felt like I was stuck in a paradox because even though I felt vulnerable, my growing baby reaffirmed my drive to continuously work toward my professional goals. Reflecting on that time now, I can say that my strength truly manifested because I had a reason to persevere and keep rising beyond my fears and doubts. I knew I had to prepare for motherhood, but I also knew in order to be the best mother to my child, I had to embody the values that I planned on instilling in her: I had to be strong, I couldn’t give up on myself, I had to keep rising. I successfully finished my spring semester and then began my internship. I interned with the Dean of Students Office at my university and worked on updating our Title IX policy and website. I initially associated Title IX with sexual misconduct, but after learning the broad range of protections that Title IX provides beyond sexual misconduct, I sought to bring change to my campus community by creating a more inclusive atmosphere, specifically for pregnant and parenting students. I updated our entire Title IX website and created several new resource pages, including a page for pregnant and parenting students filled with campus, local, and federal resources. Pregnancy can be difficult at any stage in one’s life, but it can be especially difficult when simultaneously navigating through college. I wanted other young parents to know that there are resources available, so I took it upon myself to gather as much information and as many resources as I could to make the college experience easier for any young parents who come after me. It can be easy to give up on your dreams when becoming a parent. Our higher education system has been designed for childless students, and that was a fact that I began to learn all too well. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 52 percent of student parents leave college without completing their degree. When I revealed to my supervisor that I was pregnant, I lost my position as a residential advisor and was told that I would have to find off-campus housing. Navigating through finding housing, enrolling in courses that would not interfere with my doctor’s appointments, and researching adequate child care was a challenging process that made me question whether I could successfully be a mom and a full-time student. But my family and internship connected me with people who helped me every step of the way and guided me in the right direction. I completed my internship and gained a newfound hope and desire to help other young student-parents like myself. The enormous fear I had when first discovering that I was pregnant faded, and I began to believe that I was capable of being a new mom…
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  • 11 Common Christmas Holiday Injuries & Accidents (and how to avoid them)
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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can a Boat Accident Attorney Help Me?

A boat accident lawyer can help you determine the parties responsible for the accident. They gather medical records, accident reports, and other evidence supporting your claim. Then, they will negotiate with insurance carriers to win a just settlement for your injuries, or litigate your case in court should that prove necessary. Boat accident attorneys know the applicable statutes and can guide you through the legal maze until your case is settled.

Who’s Responsible for Boat Accidents in California?

The party or parties who caused the boating accident can be held liable for damages based on the degree to which their negligence or inaction contributed to the accident. Multiple people may be responsible for a boat accident, and each may owe you compensation for your pain and suffering. Your GJEL boat accident attorney has experience in these claims and can hold these entities responsible for your pain and suffering due to a watercraft accident.

Is there a Statute of Limitations on Boat Accident Lawsuits?

How long can you wait to file a lawsuit? California has a strict two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. If your accident happened in navigable waters (waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or that are or have been used to transport interstate or foreign commerce), it is subject to Admiralty law and has a three-year limit. A boating accident attorney can help determine which statute applies to your case.

How Often Does a Boat Accident Happen in the US?

There are approximately 13 million recreational boats and watercraft (boats used primarily for leisure purposes) registered in the United States. In 2021, 658 people died as a result of boating accidents and 2,641 people were injured. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should contact a boat accident lawyer with experience in these types of claims.

What Makes Boat Accidents so Dangerous?

Boat accidents are especially dangerous because emergency medical assistance is not readily available on the water. If the boat operator is injured or incapacitated, there may not be anyone else on board who can summon help or drive the boat to shore. Boating accidents are serious and if you’ve been hurt in a boating accident you should consult a boating accident injury lawyer who knows how to secure your rights and see that you are properly compensated.

Can I Claim for My Injuries if I Was Drunk as a Passenger on the Boat?

Many recreational boat rides and boating accidents involve alcohol. You still have the right to file a boat injury claim if you were drinking so long as you were not the primary cause of the accident or injury. But your drunkenness may lead to a court finding you partially liable for your injuries and reducing your compensation. A boat injury attorney will be able to assess your situation and determine whether or not you have a viable compensation claim.

Recent Accidents

September 2019: Santa Cruz California