How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Boat Fire in California
On Monday, September 2, 2019, a dive boat carrying 39 people caught fire in the early morning hours off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California. 34 people died, and five crew members survived. It is hard to imagine the devastation that the surviving family members and loved ones of this tragedy are currently going through. Unfortunately, boating accidents happen more often than we would like to think here in California. If you have suffered a loss or an injury in a boat accident, our experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys want to help.
Boat Accident Fires and Negligence
When boating accidents result in death, surviving family members often have the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. There are an estimated 50 fatalities caused by boat accident injuries in our state every year. If surviving family members suspect that negligence played a role, they may be entitled to collect compensation for expenses in a wrongful death.
Navigating a boating accident wrongful death claim can be complicated. Therefore, arming yourself with some legal information may be helpful. Let’s start by taking a look at how the State of California defines wrongful death:
How California Defines Wrongful Death
California defines wrongful death as negligently or wrongfully ending the life of another person. Surviving family members and associates can file a civil lawsuit against the alleged defendant under this action. The state may pursue criminal charges independently, depending upon the nature of the case.
One of the reasons wrongful death suits are complicated is because the plaintiff needs to figure out how the accident happened in the first place. Continue reading to find out more about the common causes of boat fires, specifically.
Common Causes of Boat Fires
Boat fires or explosions may occur on any watercraft. No vessel is immune in spite of being surrounded by water. The most common causes of boat fires include:
- Crew and operator negligence
- Faulty electrical components and wiring
- Lightning and other ‘acts of god’
- Mishandling of hazardous materials and chemicals
It is reasonable to expect that commercial or privately-owned boats will not catch fire while passengers are aboard. Unfortunately, they do. Injured victims and family members of wrongful death victims may be eligible for compensation for damages resulting from any of the above-listed causes, depending upon the circumstances.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
California statutes provide that only designated people are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of decedent’s estate. Most commonly, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children lawfully bring a wrongful death claim against the accused parties.
If these survivors do not exist, then others may have the opportunity to file a claim. Financially independent associates may bring a lawsuit to court, including stepchildren and parents.
Discuss Your Options with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Los Angeles
The primary tenet of a wrongful death lawsuit after a boating fire is that the accusing party must prove negligence on behalf of the boat operator. You may want to consider discussing the details of your case with a licensed California attorney for help devising a solid case strategy that proves your allegations against the guilty parties.
Moreover, it can be reassuring to have a knowledgeable, confident, and experienced legal professional in your corner. It allows you to focus on healing, caring for your family, and honoring the life of your loved one.
Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Case Review with Deldar Legal
The team at Deldar Legal relentlessly pursues claims against parties who negligently caused the death of your family member. You can schedule a free case review with one of our experienced boat accident lawyers in Los Angeles, California today. Contact our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys by telephone at (844) 335-3271 or by sending us a message through our request form.
Posted in: Boat Accidents