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.



  • How to Support an Accident Victim: Tips for Friends and Family
    Accidents can happen to anyone, at any time, and they can be devastating. It is crucial to first assess the accident scene and ensure safety before providing help. Whether it’s a car accident, a motorcycle accident, or other personal injury, the victim can suffer physical, emotional, and financial injuries. During such a difficult time, friends and family members can be a great source of support for the accident victim. In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to best support an accident victim and help them on the road to recovery. 1. Be There for Them One of the most important things you can do for an accident victim is to simply be there for them. This means physically being present, listening to them, and showing them that you care. Whether it’s through phone calls, visits, or text messages, make sure they know that you are available to help and support them. Additionally, providing comfort and reassurance to the accident victim is crucial until emergency services arrive. 2. Help with Practical Matters Accident victims may struggle with day-to-day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and running errands. Offer to help with these practical matters so that the victim can focus on their recovery. This can be especially helpful if the victim lives alone or if their family members are unable to help. When assisting, handle the victim carefully to avoid causing further injury. Offer Emotional Support to Car Accident Victims Accidents can be traumatic experiences, and victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, or other emotional issues. Be there to listen and offer emotional support. Encourage the victim to talk about their feelings and offer reassurance and positivity. Help with Medical Appointments and Treatments Accident victims may have to attend numerous medical appointments, including physical therapy and follow-up visits. Offer to drive the victim to these appointments or accompany them to provide support. This can help ease the burden of managing medical appointments, especially if the victim is in pain or struggling to get around. Primary care physicians play a crucial role in the recovery journey of car accident victims by providing comprehensive care coordination, advocating for their needs, and collaborating with legal experts to ensure they receive the necessary support, medical care, and documentation for their well-being. 5. Provide Financial Assistance Accidents can be costly, and the victim may face significant medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. If you are able, offer financial assistance to help ease the burden. This could include helping with bills, offering to pay for prescriptions, or helping the victim apply for financial assistance. Additionally, working with the insurance company can be crucial in handling legal matters and ensuring the victim receives appropriate compensation. 6. Avoid Judgment and Blame Accidents can be stressful and emotional for everyone involved. However, it’s important to avoid judgment or blame. Instead, focus on being supportive and understanding. Remember that the victim is already dealing with a lot, and criticism or blame can make things worse. 7. Help with Rehabilitation If the accident victim requires rehabilitation or physical therapy, offer to help with exercises or accompany them to appointments. Encourage them to stay positive and keep up with their rehabilitation plan. Additionally, it is crucial to provide immediate first aid if the victim faces life-threatening injuries before professional help arrives. 8. Offer Practical Assistance Accident victims may need practical assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, or grooming. Offer to help with these tasks if the victim needs assistance, but be respectful of their privacy and independence. 9. Help with Legal Matters If the accident victim needs legal assistance, offer to help with research or provide referrals to experienced attorneys. Legal matters can be complex and overwhelming, and having a knowledgeable and supportive friend or family member can be very helpful. Additionally, it is crucial to collaborate with emergency personnel and legal professionals to ensure the best care for the victim. 10. Be Patient Recovery from an accident can be a long and difficult process, and it’s important to be patient. Offer support and encouragement, but avoid pressuring the victim to recover quickly. Remember that recovery is a personal journey, and everyone heals at their own pace. 11. Offer Distractions During recovery, the victim may feel isolated or bored. Offer distractions such as books, movies, or games to keep them occupied and help take their mind off their injuries. 12. Help with Transportation If the victim is unable to drive, offer to provide transportation to appointments, social events, and doctors appointments. Before providing transportation assistance, it is crucial to assess the accident scene for immediate danger, such as the risk of fire or explosion. 13. Respect Their Boundaries While it’s important to be there for the accident victim, it’s also important to respect their boundaries. Some people may want space or time alone to process their thoughts and feelings. Others may have specific needs or preferences for how they like to receive support. Be open and respectful of the victim’s needs and preferences. 14. Stay Positive and Supportive Recovery from an accident can be a long and difficult journey, and it’s important to stay positive and supportive. Offer encouragement and remind the victim of their progress and achievements. Celebrate small victories along the way and help the victim stay focused on their goals. 15. Keep in Touch After the initial shock of the accident wears off, it’s easy for friends and family members to drift away. However, it’s important to stay in touch and continue to offer support throughout the recovery process. This can include phone calls, text messages, or visits. In conclusion, accidents can be traumatic experiences, and it’s important for friends and family members to provide support and encouragement to the victim. By offering practical assistance, emotional support, and patience, you can help the victim on the road to recovery. Remember to respect their boundaries, stay positive, and stay in touch throughout the recovery process. Frequently Asked Questions Accident victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress…
  • The Most Dangerous Days to Drive: Top 10 Riskiest Times on the Road
    Apr 12, 2023 Driving is an essential part of our everyday lives, but with it comes the inherent risk of car accidents. While accidents can occur at any time, certain days and conditions pose a higher risk than others. The most dangerous day of the year to drive varies depending on various factors such as holidays, weather conditions, and increased traffic. According to statistics, dangerous holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Labor Day tend to have higher accident rates. The holiday season, including holidays like Thanksgiving and Veterans Day, also sees an increased risk of car accidents due to factors like drunk driving and heavier traffic. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 most dangerous days to drive and provide insights to help you stay safe on the road. 1. New Year’s Day New Year’s Day is considered one of the most dangerous days to drive due to an increase in drunk driving incidents following New Year’s Eve celebrations. With more impaired drivers on the road, the risk of accidents rises significantly. Staying Safe on New Year’s Day: 2. Thanksgiving The holiday season, including Thanksgiving, is a time for family gatherings and celebrations, which often involve long-distance travel. With more people on the road and the potential for adverse weather conditions, the risk of accidents increases during this period. Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Driving: 3. Memorial Day Weekend Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and many people take advantage of the long weekend for road trips and vacations. Labor Day weekend is another holiday period with similar risks, known for a high number of fatal crashes and increased risk of alcohol-impaired driving. This leads to an increase in traffic and a higher likelihood of accidents. Staying Safe During Memorial Day Weekend: 4. Fourth of July The Fourth of July, a prominent summer holiday, is a popular time for outdoor celebrations, barbecues, and fireworks displays. Unfortunately, it’s also a dangerous day for driving due to an increase in alcohol consumption, traffic congestion, and long-distance travelers. Tips for Safer Fourth of July Driving: 5. Black Friday Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is notorious for its shopping deals and massive crowds. With more people on the road heading to malls and shopping centers, the risk of accidents and traffic-related incidents rises. Staying Safe on Black Friday: 6. Friday Evenings Friday evenings are consistently risky for driving, as many people are eager to start their weekends and may be more prone to risky behavior or impaired driving. Tips for Safe Friday Evening Driving: 7. Summer Months The summer holiday months, particularly June through August, have higher accident rates due to increased travel, more teen drivers on the road, and a rise in construction projects. Staying Safe During the Summer Months: 8. Rainy Days Rainy weather can create hazardous driving conditions, such as reduced visibility, slippery roads, and hydroplaning. Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain: Avoid sudden braking or sharp turns to prevent hydroplaning 9. School Days School days, particularly during morning and afternoon hours, pose unique risks due to an increase in traffic, school buses, and young pedestrians. Staying Safe on School Days: 10. Daylight Saving Time Changes The days following the beginning and end of Daylight Saving Time can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to drowsy driving, which increases the risk of accidents. Tips for Safe Driving During Daylight Saving Time Changes: In conclusion, being aware of the most dangerous days to drive and taking extra precautions during these times can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. Stay alert, plan ahead, and drive defensively to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. If you were injured in an accident contact our San Francisco car accident lawyers for a free case review today. Last updated 4/14/2023 by Andy Gillin
  • If my child is injured, how do funds get handled?
    Protecting Your Child’s Future: How Injury Compensation is Held in California (GJEL Accident Attorneys) Ensuring Your Child’s Recovery is Secure & Well-Managed. Blocked Accounts, Special Needs Trusts & More Explained. Free Consultation: Get the Right Guidance for Your Child’s Case. Read the full article for a California personal injury attorney’s in-depth explanation of how injury compensation for minor children is handled in California. Learn about blocked accounts, special needs trusts, and how GJEL Accident Attorneys can help protect your child’s future. When your minor child is injured due to the negligent actions of another, you may feel outraged, heartbroken, and extremely worried about what your child’s future may hold. Further, you may be thinking about filing a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf, but may have questions regarding what will happen to the money your child recovers based on the fact that they are a minor. This process is often referred to as a child injury settlement, which requires court approval and may involve establishing blocked accounts to ensure the funds are used appropriately. It is important to note that if the child is the victim in a personal injury case, then most of the funds recovered (with some exceptions, as will be discussed in more detail below) belong to the child. If you are pursuing a personal injury case to recover compensation for your minor child, consider the following — What Happens to My Child’s Settlement Money? A very common question is, “If my child is injured, how do the funds get handled when we make a recovery?” And the answer in California is almost always the same: the child’s settlement money will probably go into what is called a “blocked account” after a judge approves the settlement. Whenever a minor is involved in a case, we go to court and we get a judge to approve the settlement – this is called a minor’s compromise. As a general rule, the judge will order that funds are put into a separate blocked account for the child and no one can touch it without court approval. However, a blocked account is not the only way that funds can be stored that are recovered for a minor child in a personal injury settlement. In fact, the state of California provides a number of options for the safekeeping of a child’s money. What Is a Blocked Account? A blocked account is very simple, and is often selected because it is the easiest to establish, and the most straightforward to manage. A blocked account is just a bank account into which a minor’s settlement money is distributed, and, as stated above, cannot be accessed by the parents (or anyone else), or by the child until the child is 18. While blocked accounts may be easy to establish, they yield very low returns, and because they provide the minor with full access to the money upon turning 18, parents may not want money stored in this account type. Parents are often worried that their 18-year-old will squander the thousands of dollars kept in the account, having not yet developed the financial responsibility to manage such a sum of money. While funds are blocked, it is important to note that during the time that the funds go in and the time the child turns 18, the parents can always ask us to petition the court in order to take some of the funds out for special educational needs of the child, or medical needs, or anything of that nature. And we do that at no charge whatsoever until the child turns 18. Alternatives to a Blocked Account There are some alternatives to a blocked account, although ultimately how the child’s funds are stored is the decision of the court. One option is a single-premium deferred annuity. Essentially, funds are made in a single, lump sum payment to the single-premium deferred annuity, and in exchange, the beneficiary receives a guaranteed stream of income for the remainder of their life. Annuities are also beneficial because interest growth is compounded, and there is no tax until withdrawal. Another alternative is a structured settlement, which can be used to manage a child’s funds through periodic payments. This method ensures financial stability and protection for the minor by using a trust or annuity to pay out the settlement over time, with agreed percentages and dates for accessing the settlement fund. Another option for storing a child’s funds is a special needs trust. A special needs trust may be a wise idea when the injury sustained by the child has resulted in a disability, and because of this disability, the child will be able to qualify for public resources (such as Social Security benefits, Medicare, etc.). If the child were to be given full access to the money in a blocked account, these funds would disqualify them from government benefits that they otherwise would be eligible for. By placing funds in a special needs trust, funds can be managed by the trustee to purchase things that the child/adult needs, while also not affecting their eligibility for benefits. If a settlement is for less than $5,000, then the money will probably just be distributed to the parents for the parents to hold for the child until the child is 18. Do Parents Receive Any Part of a Settlement in a Child’s Personal Injury Claim? A common misconception is that all funds received in a settlement belong to the injured child and therefore cannot be used by the parents. However, this is not true; while noneconomic damages, such as the value of the child’s pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, etc. certainly do belong to the child, as may some economic damages, such as the value of the child’s future lost wages, a large portion of economic damages may also belong to parents. For example, if parents have already paid hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical bills, or will pay medical bills up until the period of time that the child turns…
  • Basketball named the most dangerous sport in America
    Following the return of spring sports schedules across the US, a national spike in sports-related injuries is inevitable. So, as Americans around the country take to basketball courts, football pitches and baseball fields, we wanted to make sure people are aware of the potential dangers associated with playing some of the nation’s favorite sports – and what they can do to protect themselves against the most common sporting injuries. After extensive research, our team has found that Basketball is the most dangerous sport in the US, with 2,823 injuries sustained in 2021 – 64% more than American Football. Basketball is also the fourth leading cause of injury for both pick-up and organized community sports, resulting in more than 200,000 basketball-related injuries annually requiring emergency room treatment. The study follows the opening of the 2022 NBA finals, taking place from the 2nd to the 19th June, which has seen a number of key players unable to take part due to injury. We analysed 2021 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)¹ to raise awareness of the risks associated with the country’s most popular sports. In 2021, approximately 57.5 million viewers in the United States watched digital live sports content at least once per month², making sports one of the most watched broadcasts in the country. This year’s NBA playoff viewership is at the highest level in nearly a decade3, however, the most watched sports league is the NFL, with the 2021 regular season averaging at 17.1 million viewers4. The top five most dangerous sports in 2021, and the number of injuries that landed Americans in the Emergency Room, are: Basketball – 2,823 American Football – 1,719 Soccer – 1,289 Baseball – 347 Boxing – 247 According to live sports injury data on ESPN5, despite the NFL having five times as many injured players as the NBA, only 1% of NFL injuries have resulted in the player having a long-standing injury, compared to 82% of NBA players. Our research found that ankles were the most commonly injured body part for basketball players, making up 28% of all recorded injuries that led to hospital visits in 2021. The NBA also lists the ankle as the most frequently injured joint, with over 1,800 game-related ankle injuries compromising 14.7% of all injuries in an average year6. For football, the knee was the most frequently hurt body part according to E.R records from 2021. Interestingly, the most common major knee injury to occur in football is a rupture of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)⁷. Famously, legendary quarterback Tom Brady tore his ACL after being struck directly in the knee⁸ during the opening game 2008 NFL season, with the injury forcing him to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. Our sports injury team also reviewed the most common type of injury sustained in each sport – and the amount of settlement money Americans could potentially claim if they were to sustain these common injuries. Sprains and strains were found to be the top injuries for the three most dangerous sports in the US, making up almost two fifths (37%) of all basketball injuries, compared to 29% for soccer and 26% for American football. Ligament pain was listed as the top injury in 23% of cases for both basketball and soccer, and 21% for American Football, making it the second most common sport-related injury in the country. We can reveal that such sprains and strains can lead to a settlement of up to $50k, while ligament pain can result in a payment of up to $25k, both depending on the severity of the injury. So what is the most dangerous team sport? Basketball Treating sports-related ankle injuries In reference to ankle injuries being the most common amongst basketball players, we have devised a step-by-step guide on how to successfully treat a similar injury, with professional advice from UCSF Health. ‘Step 1: RICE ‘RICE stands for rest, ice, compression (with an elastic ankle wrap) and elevation (toes above the nose). For significantly swollen ankles or if limping persists for more than three days, you should see a doctor. ‘Step 2: Rehabilitation: ‘To prevent permanent damage to the ankle, take steps to achieve better range of motion (flexibility), balance and strength. Many of these exercises can be done at home. ‘Range of motion exercise – Place one foot on a stairway step. Allow the back heel to stretch downward over the edge of the step. Hold each foot in this position for 30 seconds. ‘Balance restoration exercise – Stand on one leg with your eyes closed. Gradually build up to standing 30 seconds on each leg. Repeat three times. ‘Strength exercise – Lie on your side on the sofa, with the upper leg hanging over the edge. Place the top of your foot through the handles of a plastic shopping bag filled with one to two pounds of weight (one or two cans of soup). Slowly lift your toes toward the ceiling and hold for three seconds. Repeat 10 times. ‘Step 3: Supportive devices: ‘When back to playing sports, previously injured athletes should probably wear an ankle brace, no matter how much they have rehabilitated their ankle or how good their sneakers. An injured ankle will never have the same support again, so a brace should be considered. Using ankle braces can help prevent further injury and provide additional support during recovery. ‘Step 4: If pain continues: ‘For ankle pain and significant instability that persists despite adequate rehabilitation or physical therapy, you should see a doctor for further evaluation. You may have injured the cartilage or tendons in your ankle, which may require special testing.’ Andy Gillin, Managing Partner of GJEL, said: “With spring sports now fully underway, and summer not too far around the corner, we wanted to raise awareness of the common ailments and injuries associated with playing some of America’s most popular sports – and how much you could be owed if they occur to you. “I was surprised by the…
  • Mock Trial Objections
    Jul 30, 2019 What is The Purpose of an Objection in a Mock Trial? Making clear, powerful objections before a judge is one of the most important skills necessary to a strong attorney, whether he or she is arguing before the Supreme Court or a Mock Trial judge. In mock trial, witnesses are only allowed to testify to official records contained in the case packet, and they cannot testify to material facts that are not included in the packet. Below is a list of suggestions to help make objections cogent, substantive, and commanding in any courtroom. Mock Trial Objections as to form of the question. Leading – suggests the answer. Leading questions are not allowed during direct examination. Compound – multiple questions as opposed to one. Narrative – too general, asks the witness to tell a story. Argumentative – challenging, arguing, badgering the witness. Asked and Answered – question has already been asked. Vague and Ambiguous – question is not clear or understandable. Non-responsive – witness doesn’t answer the question. Generally, form objections can be cured by re-phrasing the question. Most judges don’t like form objections, since they are viewed as “technical.” Limit the use of these objections, and use them tactically. If they are used blatantly or repeatedly, it will disrupt the flow of an examination. Objections to substance and personal knowledge. Relevance – not related to the disputed issue in the case. Foundation – attorney must establish necessary information before the witness can testify. Example: the witness was in a position to see or hear what is being asked. Called “laying a foundation.” Objections can be made to improper testimony if the foundation is not properly laid. Personal Knowledge – witness must have personal knowledge of what he or she is testifying about. Objections can be made if a witness lacks personal knowledge of the events they are testifying about. Character evidence – witness cannot testify about someone’s character unless it is at issue in the case. Honesty and credibility is always at issue with any witness. In criminal trials, defense can introduce evidence of the ‘good character’ of the defendant, and ‘bad character’ of an important prosecution witness. Once the defendant puts character at issue, prosecution can respond with evidence of bad character. Opinion Testimony of Lay Witness – generally, lay witnesses cannot give opinion testimony unless it is rationally based on the witnesses’ perception, or helpful to understanding the witness’s testimony. Lay witness opinions are limited to those based on their observations and perceptions. Inferences and subjective statements. Exceptions: speed, mental and emotional states, sobriety, sanity, identity of voice or handwriting. Expert Witness or Opinion Testimony – experts can give opinions, unlike lay witnesses, but they must have the requisite qualifications and their opinions must be based on the evidence experts in that field generally rely on. In a criminal case, an expert can’t give an opinion as to whether a defendant did or did not have the requisite mental state in issue. Hearsay – out of court statement admitted for the truth of the matter asserted. First question: is statement being offered for the truth? If statement is being offered to show statement was made or heard, or to show subsequent actions of listener, it is not being offered for the truth, and not hearsay. Numerous exceptions to the hearsay rule; admission against interest of party (usually any statement of the defendant, excited utterance, state of mind of declarant, declaration against interest (puts declarant at risk for criminal or civil liability), business or official records, past recollection recorded (e.g. written witness statement), reputation of person character in community, dying declaration, co-conspirator statements. Creating a material fact (specific to mock trial) – witness creates a material fact not included in the official record. Defined by mock trial rules: “a fact that tends to prove a pivotal point in the case.” Making the Objection Stand and say, for example, “Objection your honor that question lacks foundation. May I be heard?” If the court allows, explain your issue. Always ask to be heard before explaining or rebutting. Always address the judge, not the other lawyer. If you’ve already made the point or are at a loss of words, say “Submitted, your honor.” “Sustained” means an objection is granted; “Over-ruled” means not granted. Don’t thank the judge for ruling in your favor. Just move on. If your objection is sustained (granted), and the witness has already answered or partly answered, “Move to strike that portion of improper testimony that is objectionable.” Make a timely objection as soon as a question is asked and before the witness starts talking (if possible). Judges rule differently. Some are sticklers about certain types of evidence; others let everything in. Pay attention to gauge how the judge is responding to objections. If certain objections aren’t working, don’t keep making them. Alternatively, if the judge is granting, keep objecting. Multiple Objections in a Mock Trial and Cross Examination There can be more than one objection. If so, make both at same time: “Objection your Honor, hearsay and relevance. May I be heard?” “Objection your honor that question lacks foundation and is leading. May I be heard?” Objections can also be made during cross examination, such as objections to leading questions, hearsay, or the creation of a material fact. Remember: Evidence must always be relevant. So just because the question gets around the hearsay rule (for example), the evidence still be relevant (e.g. question calls for the state of mind of a witness; therefore it meets the ‘state of mind’ hearsay exception. However, in a criminal trial normally only the defendant’s state of mind is relevant. Even though the evidence satisfies the hearsay rule, it is still irrelevant and inadmissible. Here is a list of common mock trial objections: Objection, hearsay: This objection is raised when a witness is testifying about something they heard someone else say, rather than something they personally saw or experienced. Objection, leading: This objection is raised when a lawyer asks a…
  • Top 10 Powerful Legal Documentary Films
    Last updated: 07/31/2022 People who follow the news in the United States are not strangers to disturbing legal stories that often dominate the headlines. From the Casey Anthony trial, to the Scott Peterson verdict years before, and even the controversial O.J. Simpson murder case nearly 20 years ago, it’s often difficult to avoid the day’s most followed legal stories. But there are thousands of legal stories that go unnoticed each year by much of the general public, or are nearly forgotten years later, despite their significant implications on the criminal justice system. In the 10 following examples, documentary filmmakers have exposed and revitalized those stories to create powerful documentary films discussing a variety of troubling legal issues. We’ve compiled the trailers for the films Hot Coffee, Capturing the Friedmans, Deliver Us From Evil, and Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, along with short descriptions and reviews for all 10 films. Take a look, and let us know some of your favorite legal documentaries in the comments section, or on our Facebook page Hot Coffee aka The Famous Mcdonalds Lawsuit and Tort Reform Hot Coffee begins with the notorious Liebeck v. McDonald’s, in which 78 year-old Stella Liebeck won a $2.7 million verdict from the fast food mega-chain after it sold her scorching hot coffee which caused second and third-degree burns over much of her body. The lawsuit became the instant poster child for frivolous lawsuits and a centerpiece in the case for tort reform here in America. It was also the basis for the Seinfeld hot coffee lawsuit episode. Hot Coffee has earned glowing reviews in major national publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, but we’re going to focus on what law blogs have said about the Hot Coffee. The documentary emphasizes that the attorneys defending McDonald’s capitalized on the fact that the American public is dumb, writes Staci Zaretsky for legal tabloid Above the Law. The defense spun the story that Liebeck was trying to bilk McDonalds out of money she didn’t deserve, but Zaretsky describes the images of Liebeck’s injury as “one of the grossest, most disgusting things I’ve ever seen.” The film uses this as a launching pad to document the “evils” that the tort reform movement has perpetrated against countless other Americans. “I legitimately felt bad for these people,” writes Zaretsky, “Hot Coffee made me want to go out and protest and do community service.” While Hot Coffee is clearly a powerful legal documentary, it’s not free from criticism, writes Nick Farr for the Abnormal Use blog. After all, the film’s director Susan Saladoff is a trial lawyer herself, and has a clear interest in exposing the “evils” of the tort reform movement. “The larger the verdict for the plaintiff, the larger the payday for the trial lawyer,” writes Farr. “It is noble to stand up for those who may have been wronged, but don’t present yourself as a disinterested party and cloak yourself in the guise of pure altruism when doing it.” 2. Capturing the Friedmans Capturing the Friedmans essentially tells the story of a normal American family gone horribly wrong, and the legal battle that followed. The family became the center of a massive media firestorm after police began investigating Arnold Friedman for charges of child molestation after discovering a large collection of child pornography at his home in Great Neck, New York. After initially denying the charges, Arnold Friedman pleaded guilty to sodomy and sexual abuse. He died in prison in 2005, leaving a $250,000 life insurance policy to his son Jesse, who left prison in 2001 after serving 13 years for the same crimes as his father. Capturing the Friedmans won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Despite Friedman’s guilty plea, the film unearths mounting evidence that he may have been wrongly convicted, which led veteran film reviewer Roger Ebert to write that it offered “an instructive lesson about the elusiveness of facts” in the American legal system. But despite this evidence, director Andrew Jarecki has caught criticism for keeping his own view of the Friedman debacle out of the film. In fact, Friedman’s case was very similar to multiple 1980s sex abuse convictions that were later proven to be false. “These spectacular allegations have since been exposed as utterly false,” write lawyers Harvey Silvergate and Carl Takei for Slate Magazine. “The convictions lacked physical evidence and relied on children’s testimony obtained by discredited investigative techniques, highlighting significant flaws in the criminal procedure.” Jarecki seems to have gotten the message, and included additional evidence questioning the prosecution of Arnold and Jesse Friedman with the DVD release of the film. 3. Deliver Us From Evil Deliver Us From Evil provides a portrait of Catholic priest Oliver O’Grady, who was convicted of sexual assault, molesting, and raping more than two dozen children in Northern California in the 1980s and 1990s. O’Grady served seven years in prison for his crimes, but this 2006 award winning documentary film focuses on the Catholic Church’s policy of lying for priests in order to maintain a semblance of propriety. The film interviews victims of O’Grady’s abuse, and even the priest himself, who readily admits to being aroused by children and even declares callously “let bygones be bygones” of his crimes. The trailer shows a prominent church Cardinal responding to the question “he had sexual urges toward a nine year old, is that cause to remove him from ministry” with a simple “no.” The film also takes issue with the role of gender when it comes to the acceptability of child abuse in the church, suggesting that priests are less likely to condemn molestation when it happens to girls, rather than boys. The trailer poignantly concludes with an attorney asking a Church big wig “do you think if a child were raped, that would be something that you would forget?” The priest’s attorney objects to the seemingly obvious question and…

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