This Labor Day weekend, a tragic crash claimed the life of Michael Harris, the son of former San Francisco 49ers CEO Peter Harris. Harris was killed in a boat collision off Santa Catalina Island in southern California.

Harris, who was 26 years old, was with his girlfriend and three others on a dinghy sailboat. The dinghy was approximately a quarter mile from Casino Point when it was struck by a speeding boat. Witnesses heard somebody screaming for help around 1 a.m. Harris’ girlfriend and two other friends were injured and flown to the hospital. Two suffered minor injuries and the third is recovering from a head wound. Another friend was reported missing, and has not yet been found. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Coast Guard performed a diving search and a sonar search. They finally suspended their efforts at 7 p.m. the following day.

The other boat involved in the collision was carrying two passengers. The cause of the crash is unknown. Authorities say that it is too soon to conclude that drugs or alcohol were involved, or if the boats were speeding.

Boating is a wonderful hobby and a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of California. However, boat drivers and passengers who are not careful may find that their trip has turned into a nightmare, either because of their negligence or because of the negligence of someone else on the water.

Boat drivers have a duty to both passengers and other boaters to drive the boat in a safe manner. A reckless or negligent driver may not only be facing criminal charges, he or she can also be personally sued for negligence. There are a number of common causes of boat collisions, including the use of alcohol or drugs, speeding, driver inattention, failing to maintain a lookout, and bad behavior by a passenger. These actions can lead to boat collisions, fires, and passengers falling overboard.

Many boating mishaps are caused by alcohol use. While it can be very tempting to enjoy a few drinks while in the sun on the boat, boaters should not succumb to temptation. Drinking can be dangerous for not only the driver, but also for passengers. Drinking while boating increases the risk of a boating collision, as well as the risk of drowning.  Statistics from the Coast Guard show that boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.10 are over 10 times as likely to be killed in a boating accident as those who haven’t been drinking.

Those who are injured while boating may be able to seek compensation for their injuries. If you were injured because of another party’s negligence, you may be able to sue the owner of the boat, the operator of the boat, or another responsible party. If the boat accident was caused by problems with the boat’s structure, such as its mechanics or hull, the boat’s manufacturer or seller may be legally responsible. You may be able to seek damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

Call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney, if you have been injured in an accident involving a boat. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that an individual or a business that has caused serious injuries in a boating accident should be held liable for damages.

Call Liberty Law today at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000 to learn more about your legal rights or to schedule your free consultation. At Liberty Law, you pay no fees until we obtain a recovery for you. We work with clients throughout the San Francisco-Oakland area, including Fairfield, Hayward, Tracy, San Jose, Sacramento, Berkeley, and throughout northern California. Call us to learn more about how we can help.

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