Tragedy struck amid the friendly waters of San Francisco Bay late Wednesday night. One person died and another was injured when the 42-foot-long Catalina sailboat named “Bella” collided with a channel marker buoy with such force that the mast snapped off. Authorities are still investigating what exactly caused the boat to crash, but it seems like a personal injury and wrongful death case will likely ensue.
The family of deceased Yong Sun, 39, of Burlingame are likely to have a multitude of questions surrounding the incident. In situations like is, it extremely important to obtain support of a quality personal injury attorney team.
The fact that the death occurred during an annual Sequoia Yacht Club sponsored “Beer Can” race, immediately raises eyebrows that alcohol might be involved. While the captain of the “Bella” passed a field sobriety test once on shore, a competent personal injury attorney will dig deeper to determine if alcohol was at all involved in the crash.
Further, since it has been determined that weather conditions were not a factor in the accident, there are many other variables that could determine culpability. For instance, if the captain was not fully capable of piloting a ship or did not obtain the proper instruction on how to protect the lives of his passengers, his ignorance could have caused the crash. An experienced personal injury attorney would leave no stone unturned in a boating accident case as there are so many variables that could be at play.
The manufacturer of the boat could also be at fault as the mast needs to be one of the most structurally sound parts of the boat. If, however, the captain had neglected regular maintenance and it was determined that this neglect caused the mast to snap, then the captain would again be liable.
While vessel captains have many of the same responsibilities as motorists on land, there are also many heightened guidelines. For instance, while the safety features on a car come standard, boat captains are required to maintain fully functioning emergency equipment such as life jackets (PFDs), fire extinguisher(s), visual distress signals, a first-aid kit, and a bilge pump. Further, a captain must discuss with his passengers on the location of this emergency equipment and how to use it should he be incapacitated.
One look at the Coast Guard’s 200+ page “Nautical Rules of the Road,” shows how complicated boating regulations are. Further, it is extremely unlikely that many boaters have read or even know of this voluminous rule book.
All this considered, we cannot stress enough on how much victims of boating accidents can benefit from the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a boating accident, please do not hesitate to contact Cohn & Swartzon, P.C..
At Cohn & Swartzon we are dedicated to helping you obtain just compensation for these losses and to aiding you in ensuring that these costs do not impose an unsustainable financial burden on you or your family. Contact our office for a free consultation today.