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Watercraft Accident Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Watercraft Accident

Boating can be a fun way to spend your time, relaxing out on the beautiful sea near Fort Lauderdale. However, this magical adventure can become a nightmare when you are involved in a boating accident. That’s when you need to get a Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer. A specialized boating accident lawyer can be the best tool on your side in your boating accident lawsuit, helping you get the best outcomes possible for the case. Reading on, you can learn all about these types of boat accident cases as well as just how important a boating accident lawyer can be for your case.

Common Boating Accidents

What actually qualifies as a boating accident? There are plenty of different watercraft that can be considered parts of boating accidents, including:

  • Cruise ships
  • Yachts
  • Motorboats
  • Fishing vessels
  • Sailboats
  • Kayaks
  • Personal watercrafts
  • Tugboats
  • Inflatable boats

If you were involved in an accident with any of these watercraft, your accident can be considered a boating accident.

Common Causes for Fort Lauderdale Boating Accidents

There’s bound to be a boating accident at some point, especially with so many different vessels in the water. But what actually causes these types of accidents? In this section, you can get a closer look at some of the most common causes of boating accidents.

Alcohol

Alcohol is arguably the most common cause of boating accidents. If a recreational boater drinks while in control of their water vessel, this can significantly increase the risk of an accident just as it would when a driver drinks and drives. They can get into a collision with land or another boat, creating an accident where someone can potentially get very seriously injured.

Distracted Boaters

Distracted drivers are as much of a problem for boats as it is for cars. If the person who is driving the boat isn’t properly paying attention to what they are doing, they may not see obstacles before it’s too late. This leads to an accident with either another vessel or object.

Inexperienced Boaters

Some people make the mistake of thinking that driving a boat is easier than it actually is. Matters can be made even worse when you consider that Florida has some of the most lax regulations when it comes to driving a boat. In fact, anyone who is 14 years of age or older can drive a boat. Anyone over the age of 25 can drive a boat without having to take any boater education course. While it’s advised to stay within these regulations, a lot of people without the proper experience get behind the wheel of the boat without any knowledge on how to do it. Without the proper experience, the driver can lose control of the boat and this leads to a boat accident.

Speeding

In many cases, a boater will lose control of the boat because they were driving it way too fast or they were speeding and hit a wave, leading to the boat being flipped over. Speeding and losing control of the boat can lead to the boat crashing into another vessel or even structures like a bridge. Typically speaking, the faster that you are driving in the boat, the more serious the injuries are. Speeding can potentially lead to very severe consequences.

Bad Weather

Boating in bad weather is never a good idea. If you see ominous skies, it’s best to avoid going out on the water. Unfortunately, some people ignore the signs in the sky and decide to go out for a boat ride anyway. This is especially dangerous when the boat driver doesn’t have any experience driving a boat.

Boat Has Mechanical Defects

No matter how experienced a boat driver is, sometimes there are mechanical defects that impact the safety of the boat ride. Even if every precaution has been taken, mechanical defects can still lead to issues. Mechanical defects can lead to things like the engine catching on fire, creating emotional distress for the driver and passengers, and potentially lead to serious accidents.

How to Stay Safe While Boating

There is always a risk when it comes to boating. Even if you are 100% perfect and not doing anything wrong, you can potentially end up in a serious situation due to someone else’s negligence or some mechanical defect in the boat. However, there are some things that you will be able to do in order to keep yourself and your family safe while on the boat and reduce the risk of injuries. These important steps to stay safe while boating includes:

  • Never drink while driving the boat. This is not only illegal to operate your boat while drunk but it can also put yourself and your passengers in danger. Always avoid drinking and boating.
  • Be sure to always wear your life jacket, even if you think that you’re a strong swimmer who doesn’t need one. It’s also important to ensure that every other passenger is wearing one as well. Anything can happen and a lifejacket can be essential in reducing the risk of drowning, especially when someone is knocked unconscious.
  • It’s a good idea to take a boating safety course and constantly review these materials at least once a season.
  • Be sure to study up on the various rules for boating and make sure that you follow them. This way if there is an accident, you can prove that you did your due diligence and did not breach your duty of care to the other drivers on the water.
  • Make sure that you watch the weather before you take the boat out. You want to make sure that there are no expected storms coming that can put you in danger while you are out on the water. If the sky looks ominous, it’s best to plan your boating adventure for another day.
  • Before going out on the water in your boat, make sure that it has all of the necessary safety equipment. This includes flares, boat lights, life jackets, and a fire extinguisher. This is because you want to make sure that you have all of the safety things that you need in case there was a serious accident. It’s always important to be prepared in case something happens.
  • Be sure that you know exactly what to do in case of an emergency. This is important because you want to make sure that if something happens, you know exactly what to do.

Other Things to Know About Fort Lauderdale Boating Accident Cases

There are some things that you should be aware of about boating accident cases. This section will take a closer look at boating accidents to determine how these cases typically work.

If you were injured on a boat, you need to prove that the other party was negligent in order to recover damages. Just because you were injured in a boating accident, that doesn’t mean that there was negligence. They must have been negligent, which means that they failed to take reasonable care when driving the boat. There are different situations that need to be looked at here:

  • Your boat hits another vessel
  • Your boat hits the wake of another boat
  • Your boat hits a wave
  • The boat hits a submerged obstacle

Here is a look at these different situations.

Boat Collides with Another Boat

When one boat collides with another boat, typically both boat operators will be determined to be partially responsible for the accident. This means that any passengers that were injured on the boat can sue both of the operators for compensation for their injuries. If an operator was injured, they could file a claim against the other operator in the case that they were less than 50% responsible for the accident. If a sailboat and a motorboat collide, the motorboat will be typically held responsible due to the safe boating practices, requiring motorboats to stay away from sailboats.

Boat Hits the Wake of Another Boat

As a boat hits a wake or wave, the impact can be enough to knock passengers down or even overboard. The legal liability in these types of cases isn’t always easy to see. There are different federal and state regulations and laws and safe boating practices, which require the operator of a boat to properly lookout for any potential hazards to keep themselves and their passengers safe. The liability in these cases can depend on things such as:

  • Speed of the boat
  • Wake size
  • Visibility
  • Boat traffic where the accident occurred
  • If the operator warned their passengers of the wake

There may be situations where the boat that created the wake may be responsible for damages because they were negligent, depending on the location and boat traffic where the accident took place. In cases of the accident occurring in an isolated area, the other operator won’t likely be at fault for the accident.

Hitting a Wave

When you hit a wave, the process is similar as it is when you hit a wake, with the exception of there’s no other boat that can be held liable for the accident.

Collision with Submerged Obstacle

In any weather situation, there is the potential for a boat to hit a submerged obstacle. The liability in these types of cases can depend on the situation. If the operator took all of the necessary precautions, such as moving slowly or using nautical charts, they won’t be found negligent in the accident. But if someone was driving in a reckless manner and this caused the crash, they will be found negligent.

Doesn’t Have Proper Safety Equipment on the Boat

There are laws that state that even the smallest boat should have important safety features including safety jackets. This is because while this won’t lead to the accident, should an accident happen not having these items can pose risks to the passengers. If someone gets injured due to a lack of proper safety equipment on the boat, then the boat operator could be held liable for any injuries.

Potential Compensation You May Be Entitled To

The person who was responsible for the boating accident will be responsible for the injuries and damages caused by the accident, especially when they acted negligently and this led to the boating accident. As a victim, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Some compensation that you may be entitled to includes:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Any out-of-pocket expenses for relevant damages or injuries
  • Current and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

You may also be entitled to receive punitive damages for your injuries, especially if the other party acted maliciously or with such a degree of recklessness. Getting punitive damages can be extremely difficult as this requires you to prove that the other party behaved in such an egregious manner, and this led to an accident.

Common Injuries from Boating Accidents

Fort Lauderdale boating accidents can lead to some pretty significant damages, which can be devastating for both the victims and their loved ones. Thousands of people are injured every year due to boating accidents and the injuries can range from minor to even fatal. There are a couple of ways where injuries can happen. One way is because the person falls overboard. Another way is if the boat collides with another vessel or other obstacle. The last way is that the boat can capsize.

Some common injuries that one can suffer from as a result of their boating accident includes:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Accidental amputations
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Serious soft tissue damage

There are other things that can happen, such as suffering from an anoxic brain injury which is caused when there is a lack of oxygen. This type of injury can lead to brain damage that is irreversible and will impact a person for the rest of their life.

Are Boat Accidents and Car Accidents Different?

There are some distinct differences to consider when talking about both of these options. While the basic principles of safety apply to both situations, there are different rules for both types of accidents. Things can get even more complicated depending on where the accident occurred, which means either state or maritime laws are applied to the accident.

This is why it’s important to not only get a lawyer that has experience dealing with these types of cases but also one that has experience in maritime law as well.

Proving Fault and Liability in Your Fort Lauderdale Boating Accident Case

The boat driver that acted in a negligent manner which led to your damages and injuries, is the one who is at fault for the accident. The problem with boating accidents is that while cars have traffic signals or signs, boats don’t. That can make it even more complicated to determine who was at fault for the boating accident. Your lawyer will perform an investigation to determine who was at fault.

Anyone who is operating a watercraft has specific obligations, such as:

  • Having regard for the other traffic of vessels in the sea
  • Operating the watercraft in a responsible manner
  • Following any posted restrictions
  • Not to endanger other people or property
  • Observing and practicing caution when a divers-down flag is out

In order to prove that there was negligence in a Fort Lauderdale boating accident, you need to prove that:

  • The other boater had a legal obligation to you, which means that there’s an obligation to operate their boat with care.
  • The other boat violated their legal duty through their own recklessness or carelessness.
  • This violation of their legal duty is what led to the accident.
  • You were injured as a result of the accident.

You must prove negligence if you are going to get the compensation that you deserve for your damages.

Why You Need a Fort Lauderdale Watercraft Accident Lawyer

It’s important that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible after your Fort Lauderdale boat accident. This is not only important because you can get your compensation sooner but it’s also important because there is a statute of limitations when it comes to these types of cases. You will generally only have 4 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for compensation.

A Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyer is essential in these cases because they understand the complicated aspects of these particularly difficult cases. They can take a look at your case to determine if you have a valid claim, then they will start working towards giving you the best possible outcomes for your case. They can also come up with calculations to determine a fair amount of compensation for your injuries. These calculations can be essential to make sure that you get the fair compensation that you are entitled to.

Conclusion

The Injury Firm is a leading team of Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers that can help in your Fort Lauderdale watercraft accident. We can help our clients with a wide variety of cases to ensure that they get the compensation that they are entitled to. We offer no obligation, free consultations because we want to help everyone who was injured in these cases. If you were injured in a Fort Lauderdale watercraft accident, contact us today to see how our team can help you with your case.

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The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

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