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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

What To Do After You Get Into A Colorado River Boating Accident?



Boating Accidents On the Colorado River

The Colorado River is the longest inland waterway in the western United States. The Colorado River begins in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. At the River's headwater, the Continental Divide forms the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean watersheds of North America. The Colorado River flows through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. It is a common vacation destination for all those who love recreational water sports, myself included. 

But what happends when you're having fun on a boat with your friends and family and something goes seriously wrong? You've just gotten into a boating accident on the Colorado River. Now what do you do?


Find Out What Law Applies To Your Recreational Boating Accident

If you are involved in a serious boating accident on the Colorado River, it is important to understand what set of rules or laws apply to your boating accident. State Law is very different from Federal Maritime law. Many times, figuring out which law applies to your case determines whether you win or lose your recreational boating case.

If a boating accident occurs on the navigable waters of the United States, then most likely federal maritime law will apply. In this article we discuss the history behind the Colorado River being a navigable waterway and why that is important to you.

Whether a boating accident is covered by federal maritime law depends, in part, upon whether it occurred on the navigable waters of the United States. Generally, navigable waters are waters which are capable (or in some instances, formerly capable) of navigation to the open ocean or from one State to another State.


Sometimes Understanding The Past Helps You Understand The Future

In the historic 1931 United States Supreme Court case, Arizona v. California, the State of Arizona sued in order to try and stop the building of the Hoover Dam. In ruling against Arizona, the Supreme Court based its holding, in part, over the navigability of the Colorado River. The United States Supreme Court took judicial notice that large parts of the Colorado River were formerly navigable. The Court held navigability extended as far north as the mouth of the Virgin River at Black Canyon.

This is important because commercial disuse that results from changed geographical conditions and a Congressional failure to deal with them, does not amount to an abandonment of a navigable River or prohibit future exertion of federal control. The Court found that the main obstacles to navigation on the Colorado River was the accumulation of silt coming from the upper reaches of the River system, and the irregularity in the flow due to periods of low water. This is still true, 80 years later.

Before the railroads, the lower Colorado River from the sea to Laughlin, Nevada was an important means of transportation via large steamers. Most of the rest of the Colorado River (and reservoirs), excluding the rapids in the canyons, are currently navigable by River craft and power boats. Even today there is commercial vessel activity on many parts of the Colorado River.


Why Is This Important To Me?

In many, if not most, instances injured boaters and families of boaters killed in recreational boating accidents on the Colorado River will prefer maritime law to apply rather than State law. However, in some instances - such as when you are facing a Limitation of Liability action - it may be to your advantage to have State law apply rather than Maritime law. Either way, you and more importantly - your Colorado River Boating Accident Attorney - need to know and understand whether your case falls under Federal Maritime law and State law.

In general, Courts have upheld admiralty jurisdiction for boating accidents on Lake Mead (Nevada / Arizona) , Lake Powell (Utah/ Arizona) , and the Colorado River from Lake Mead to Laughlin, Lake Mojave, Lake Havasu, the Parker Strip, and Yuma.


Offering Folks Peace of Mind

When you are seriously injured in a Colorado River boating accident, you need to know your attorneys are doing everything they possibly can to get you the best medical treatment and current benefits. You need to know that your legal rights are being vigorously protected. You need to sleep at night knowing you have the best lawyer for your case. We can give you that kind of peace of mind. What lawyer you select makes all the difference in whether you prevail in your Maritime injury case. We have been helping Maritime Claimants and their families since the 1980's. We put the client first. Always.


Best Colorado River Boating Accident Lawyer

We have the highest Avvo.com rating of any Colorado River Boating Lawyer and Colorado River Maritime Lawyer. We understand that you and your family's future can be riding on the outcome of your Colorado River boating accident case. We fight hard to protect your rights to maximum financial compensation and needed health care.

Call us at
619-234-2833 or toll free at 866-705-4617



Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. 

William Turley
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”

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