When May a Boating Rental Company Be Held Liable for an Accident in California?

With California’s beautiful weather, many residents and tourists enjoy boating on the water. However, owning a boat can be a financial and maintenance hassle, so people often rent boats. While this can be a convenient option, boating rental companies may neglect their duty of care to hire licensed staff, maintain their vehicles, and warn patrons about potential dangers, causing serious accidents and injuries. In these cases, you may file a claim against the boating rental company and hold them liable for their carelessness.

Boating accident claims involving rental companies can be complicated, but with our experienced lawyers at Callahan & Blaine by your side, you can have a stress-free experience. We handle every aspect of your claim with the utmost care and attention so you can focus on recovery. Our robust team of 29 lawyers takes a personalized approach, considering your unique needs and circumstances to develop a strategy that gives you the best chance of securing justice and holding the rental company accountable.

When Could a Boating Rental Company Be Responsible for a California Accident?

Boating accidents often happen quickly, and with many factors that contribute to maintaining boat safety, it can be challenging to know who is responsible for the crash. Our Callahan & Blaine conduct a thorough investigation, gathering evidence and considering every detail to identify a liable party, which may be the boating rental company. 

Even if you signed a waiver before renting the boat, the rental company may still be held liable in the following situations:

Failure to Warn

While any potential risks and dangers may be present in the waiver, you should still be verbally warned of hazardous conditions, such as injury risk, storms, and rough waters. If the rental company staff fail to inform you of anything that could make the boat unsafe and you suffer injuries, they may be liable for the damages that result. 

Improperly Licensed Staff

As of January 1st, 2024, anyone 60 years or younger must carry a Boater Card, which indicates they have completed the necessary training. By 2025, all persons will need a Boater Card regardless of age. If the boating rental company hires staff who do not have a Boater Card, they may be responsible for injuries that occur in a boating accident. 

Poor Maintenance

Boating rental companies are responsible for maintaining their vessels and ensuring each boat meets state regulations and carries the proper equipment, which includes the following:

  • Lifejackets or personal floatation devices for every passenger
  • An easy-to-reach Type IV device designed for throwing for each passenger
  • Whistle or other sound-producing device
  • Navigational lights
  • Coast-guard approved fire extinguisher
  • Adequate muffler
  • Current registration

If the boating rental company fails to regularly inspect their boats or ensure they meet all California state requirements, they may be held accountable for the accident and resulting damages.

Ineligible Patrons

Before allowing patrons to ride or operate a boat, boating rental companies should ensure they are eligible. A patron may not be eligible in the following cases:

  • They are visibly intoxicated or impaired.
  • They are not 16 years of age or older and in possession of their California Boater Card if operating a vessel powered by a motor of 15 horsepower or more.
  • They have too many passengers for the boat they rented.

Neglecting the responsibility to ensure patrons are eligible to ride in the boat could be a reason to hold a boating rental company liable for an accident.

Learn More About Your California Boat Accident Claim With the Knowledgeable Lawyers at Callahan & Blaine

When a boating rental company fails to uphold their duty of care and causes injuries, you may be frustrated but unsure how to seek the justice you deserve. Our dedicated lawyers at Callahan & Blaine can help determine if you have a case and your legal options to secure maximum compensation for your losses.

With a 40-year legacy and 29-lawyer team, we have secured multi-million dollar settlements for our California clients, including the largest personal injury settlement in U.S. history, worth $50 million. Our trial lawyers have at least eight years of experience, giving us the knowledge and skills to fiercely advocate for your rights. To learn more about your rights after a boating accident, call us at (714) 241-4444 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.