San Francisco, CA asked in Personal Injury for California

Q: I was in a boat fire and suffered 3&4th degree burns on my hands and face. How do I file a claim for damages?

My friend & I were in a boat fire and suffered 3&4 the degree burns over large amounts of our bodies. We were hospitalized for over a month while intubated coma. How do I file a claim for damages?

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6 Lawyer Answers
George Aldrich
George Aldrich
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Woodland Hills, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for the question. The short answer is to contact the owner of the boat, or the responsible party for the accident and get their insurance information. Once you have that you can call and file a claim directly with the insurance carrier. Be prepared to discuss the cause of the fire, and if the insured person is responsible for the fire. The insurance company will work on the claim only based on the negligence of the insured person.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Answered
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It almost never makes sense for an injured person in California to handle their own personal injury claim. The more serious the claim, the less sense it makes. Insurance companies can and do take advantage of unrepresented people, and injured people who have lawyers tend to get much more compensation, even after attorney fees. Almost all personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, and take cases on "contingency", meaning they don't get paid until you do. Do not discuss your case with anyone until you have consulted with an attorney, and certainly don't give a statement to an insurance investigator or adjuster.

William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It's unclear who you want to sue: The captain, the manufacturer, a mechanic, etc. Regardless, you need an attorney. The attorney will identify the responsible parties, if any, and will know how to make the claims on your behalf. Hopefully, the manner of ignition is known and the boat has been fully inspected. If possible, the boat should be kept in its original condition while the claim is pending. Your attorney will also know all of this. Consultations are free, so don't be shy.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Answered
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You get an attorney and let him figure it out.

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: much more info needed.

1st retain a personal injury lawyer in your area.

s/he will contact the ins co for the boat and file a claim and then a lawsuit against the person who was negligent (if that was the case)

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Very sorry to hear about your injury, burns are very painful. Based on the responses from the other attorneys, we all agree that we do not want to add to your pain, which you certainly will if you try to represent yourself. You need an attorney and will most likely qualify to get a good one to represent you on a contingent fee. Just an example, is this a case arising under Federal Admiralty law? Depends on the nature of the vessel and where the fire took place, it could be more than the run of the mill Auto Accident with severe injuries. (and you prompted a lot of responses because what you suffered falls into the category of "severe injury.") Your post comes from SF, which has a lot of Admiralty Attorneys (they also handle non Admiralty cases on boats or aircraft) because of the big shipping interests there. Suggest you start looking for one right away. Statutes of limitation can be different, and SHORT if you have Federal law. Best of luck to you, if you want to contact me, I would be pleased to assist you to pursue your claim.

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