What to Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Boat Fire in California
On Monday, September 2, 2019, a passenger-boarded dive boat carrying 39 people caught fire in the early morning hours off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California. Thirty-four people died, and five crew members survived.
It’s a tragedy like this that our boat accident lawyers in Los Angeles can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for surviving family and crew members in the aftermath.
Boat Accident Fires and Negligence
While accidents like this are uncommon, it gives rise to the consideration 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 negligence played a role, a wrongful death claim is likely to ensue.
Navigating this type of case is complex. Therefore, arming yourself with 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 due to the nature of proving how the accident happened in the first place. Continue reading to find out more about the common causes of boat fire incidences.
Common Causes of Boat Fires
Boat fires or explosions may occur in several ways 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’s reasonable to expect that commercial or privately-owned boats won’t catch fire while passengers are aboard. Unfortunately, they do. Injury victims and wrongful death survivors may be eligible for compensation for any of the above-listed reasons 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 the preceding list of survivors do not exist, then others 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 feel reassuring to have a knowledgeable, confident, and experienced legal professional in your corner. It allows you to focus on mending the broken pieces of your heart while 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 negligent 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, CA today. Contact our office by telephone at (844) 335-3271 or by sending us a message through our request form.