When you go on a boat, the last thing you’re expecting is to get into an accident. After an accident, you may have minor to severe injuries and have to re-learn how to perform certain actions depending on the severity of your injuries. In addition to any injuries, you may be in a stressful financial situation due to medical and other bills piling up.
If you were injured on your boat or another person’s boat, you might be able to receive compensation for your injuries. A Florida boating accident attorney can help you file a claim or lawsuit and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our lawyers are dedicated to helping you recover financially so that you can get back on your feet.
What Are the Most Common Injuries from Boating Accidents?
Boating collisions can result in minor to severe injuries. Some of the most common injuries from boating accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Limb amputations
- Spinal cord injuries
If you don’t see your injury listed above, there’s no need to worry. We cover a wide range of injuries that result from boating accidents. A Florida boating accident injury lawyer can review your injury and tell you if you have a valid case.
For a free legal consultation, call (239) 334-3933
The Amount of Time You Have to File a Boating Injury Claim in Florida
In Florida, the statute of limitations (Fla. Stat. § 95.11) states that from the day of your boating injury, you have four years to file a claim. It’s best to file soon after your accident occurs to maximize your chances of getting the highest settlement. By filing early, you also show that your intentions are genuine and the evidence from your accident will be at its most accurate.
Florida also follows the admiralty law, which is also known as maritime law. Admiralty law states that if an accident occurs in navigable waters, you will have three years to file a claim for your boating accident. Your lawyer can help you decide whether the admiralty law applies to your case.
The only way to know exactly how much time you have to file and which statute of limitations applies to your case is to meet with a Florida boating accident lawyer. We can help you file a claim and build a strong case.
Who Can I Hold Accountable for My Boating Accident Injury?
An accident on the water can be a traumatizing experience. When you get into an accident on a vessel, there are a few parties that you can hold accountable for their negligent actions. These parties can include:
The Driver of the Vessel
The driver of the boat is responsible for the safety of their passengers and other boats in the water. If the boat driver was acting in a negligent manner, they could be liable for the accident. Negligent actions can include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not adjusting their driving to the water and weather conditions
- Failing to have the proper license to drive the boat
Drinking is a common activity for people on boats to engage in, but it’s unsafe when you’re the driver. Some people may think that drinking and operating a boat is safer than if it were a car. However, it could be even more dangerous because you have the added risk of falling overboard and drowning, in addition to crashing into another vessel.
The Boat Owner
The person who owns the boat is responsible for keeping the boat up to date on maintenance and ensuring that the vessel is safe. When the boat owner does not take a duty of care and doesn’t try to prevent injuries while you are on their boat, it is defined as negligence.
Some of the most common issues that occur with vessels that aren’t up to date on maintenance include shifting issues, weak anchor rope, an overheated engine, and an engine that won’t start. All these issues could be fixed with a regular boat check-up. If the owner of the vessel knew about the issue but failed to fix it, they are negligent in their actions.
The Boat’s Manufacturer
The company that makes the boat that you were injured on could also be liable for your injuries. It may only take one defective part to cause a boating crash. The best way to prove a faulty part is to order an inspection of the boat.
If the mechanic inspecting the boat finds that there is a defective part or that a part was not installed properly, you may be able to hold the boat manufacturer accountable for your injuries. If the company knowingly sold boats with a defective part and didn’t issue a recall to let buyers know, they may be considered to be grossly negligent.
Passengers on the Boat
Passengers can also be liable for a boat accident if they are acting in a negligent manner. People on the boat who don’t follow safety rules and engage in dangerous acts are not only a risk to the other people on the boat but also to other vessels in the water.
Even if passengers are not in control of the boat, their behaviors may distract the driver and cause them to crash into rocks or another boat. If a passenger’s reckless behavior led to your injuries, you may have grounds for a claim against them.
Another Vessel in the Waters
Other people who are driving boats or other water vehicles can also be responsible for your injuries. Whenever someone operates a vehicle in the water, they owe a duty of care to other people in the water.
A duty of care means that you have a responsibility to take others’ safety into account and take reasonable measures to avoid any injuries. When other drivers of vessels don’t adopt a duty of care toward others, accidents occur.
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What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Boating Injury?
Boating accident victims should understand that the failure to observe local, state, and federal regulations typically amounts to negligence under the law. This is why you can pursue damages from someone who contributed to your boat accident.
But you can also be negligent and share fault for your boating injuries. However, even if your own negligence contributed to the accident, an experienced Florida boat accident lawyer can help you pursue partial compensation from other individuals who were also negligent.
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Possible Damages You Can Recover for Your Boating Injury
Along with severe injuries, boating accidents can bring significant expenses. Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to recover damages for things such as:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of guidance
- Physical therapy
Our Florida boating accident attorneys can help you file a claim and identify the damages you are eligible for. Our lawyers work hard to make sure that we find even the hidden damages that negligent parties don’t want you to know about.
If negotiations fall through with the insurance company and a settlement cannot be reached, we can move to a boating accident lawsuit and fight for your rights in court.
How Florida Is Trying to Keep Boaters Safe
Reports show the sad truth is that boaters frequently flout the laws designed to protect them, fail to wear safety equipment like life jackets, and don’t follow regulations designed to protect them. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2021 Florida boating accident statistical report states that:
- There were 20,846 boating violation citations in 2021.
- The majority of accidents occurred as a result of a collision with another vessel.
- Most accidents occur because of inattentive drivers.
These statistics are just a few facts about the dozens of boating crashes that occur each year in Florida. The facts mentioned above illustrate the dangers of being on a boat where people do not take safety precautions.
Find a Florida Boating Accident Injury Lawyer Near You
When accidents happen on a boat, they can be tragic because of their severity. But we’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your boating accident injuries. And we can fiel a boat accident lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
Our attorneys at Viles & Beckman have more than four decades of combined experience, using our vast knowledge of intricate state and federal boating regulations to represent victims of boating accidents. You can contact us online or give us a call to start your free case review today.
Call or text (239) 334-3933 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form