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Watercraft Personal injury Attorneys

Watercraft Accident Lawyer

When partaking in watersports or even just taking a boat out on the water for the day, we think of the exhilarating fun, the time with family, and all the good parts of the experience. Unfortunately, not everybody gets to enjoy their experience fully and some even walk away with an injury.

If you were injured on a personal watercraft, a boat, or any other type of vehicle on the water, you may be entitled to compensation if the accident wasn’t your fault. If somebody involved was negligent or didn’t adhere to the boating regulations, you need a watercraft accident lawyer to fight your corner.

Boating Regulations in Florida

In Florida, experiences on the water are important for a large portion of locals as well as many visiting tourists. In fact, activities on the water are so important to the local economy and consumers that boating regulations are much looser compared to other areas of the country. Although this will surprise some, Florida doesn’t have a minimum boating age requirement. What’s more, those over the age of 30 don’t need to have completed boating safety courses and they don’t need a license.

What does this mean? Well, boaters not only without a license but without adequate training. As you can imagine, this increases the risk of injury to people on those boats as well as to all other water users.

Despite the lack of boating regulations, all those on the water still need to adhere to Florida maritime laws. For example, this includes companies operating certain services on the water. This includes jet ski hire services, cruise ships, private boats, and more. Florida maritime laws govern activities on the water and help when a personal injury case is filed.

When an accident occurs on a public waterway, most Floridians are unaware that this is covered by federal admiralty jurisdiction. In other words, you need to consider Florida maritime laws as well as other standards when either claiming or filing a case. Compared to a car accident, for instance, the process is very different, and the value of a watercraft accident lawyer is even more important.

Common Boating Accidents in Florida

The water is a dangerous and unforgiving environment, but the sad fact is that the vast majority of accidents are still preventable (just as we see on the roads!). Right across the state, the most common cause of accidents is collisions with other water users. We mentioned the lack of experience and training, and this means that boat operators sometimes struggle to avoid one another. They use the water incorrectly, act recklessly, or are negligent.

Elsewhere, other common boating accidents include colliding with objects, falls on the vessel, flooding, explosions and fuel fires, wake damage, sinking, grounding, and capsizing.

Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs are still a big problem for the authorities in Florida. As well as passengers drinking and falling overboard, serious cases often involve boating operators who have consumed alcohol, drugs, or both. As soon as the operator consumes either, their judgment is impaired while decision-making is much slower.

Water sports accidents can also occur when guides and leaders lack experience or aren’t keeping a close enough eye on participants. Otherwise, participants take unnecessary risks or over-inflate their abilities. Water sports accidents can include jet skis, parasailing, kite surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, and others.

Locations

In terms of specific locations, most recreational boating injuries occur in bays and sounds. From here, other common culprits in order are the ocean and the Gulf, rivers and creeks, canals and cuts, and then inlets and passes. Interestingly, very few accidents occur in ponds and lakes, harbors and ports, and swamps.

Taking everything that we’ve learned into account, the most common type of accident is a collision between two boats on the bays and sounds.

We mentioned the types of boating accidents, and alcohol and drugs are still a big issue. However, a lack of attention and distractions are also problems for lawmakers. Most accidents take place while fishing or cruising, and this is because the operators aren’t concentrating as much on the water as they should. As many industry experts claim, this is an inevitable side effect of allowing people onto the water when they don’t have the training, experience, or any form of license.

Dealing with a Boating Accident

After experiencing a boating accident, the first step is always to assess the condition of all passengers and other parties. Has anybody fallen into the water after colliding with another vessel? Has somebody fallen and hit their head?

From here, you need to get treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the accident, the operator should either take you to shore or an emergency vessel will come to collect and treat you. Either way, treatment is essential because it helps with the recovery while also leaving a paperwork trail that the defense will struggle to overcome later.

With any recreational boating injuries, your health comes first so prioritize this before worrying about a potential claim or legal case. After treatment, you need to determine the cause of the accident. As we’ve discovered, this could be poor boat maintenance, recklessness, negligence, operating a boat while intoxicated, not obeying the Florida maritime laws, or not having the right safety equipment available for passengers.

Whether you have identified the cause or not, the next step is to contact the best boating accident attorney, and we believe The Injury Firm has the best boating accident attorneys and falls into this category.

Common Recreational Boating Injuries

Over the years, we’ve seen all sorts of injuries after a boating accident, so there are no hard and fast rules governing what you can and can’t claim for. While some experience burns, others break bones, endure lung infections after inhaling too much water, damage their head or spinal cord, or suffer serious cuts, bruises, and lacerations.

In our experience, TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) are the most serious injuries, and these occur after being thrown overboard, hitting one’s head during a capsizing, or another incident. Most people who go out on a boat don’t expect to go into the water, and this is a problem for those who aren’t strong swimmers.

Claiming Compensation

After a serious boating accident, you deserve compensation, especially when the accident wasn’t in your control and wasn’t your fault. While you might think that insurance companies are on the side of the victim, they actually have one priority - to reduce payments as much as possible. In other words, they will do everything possible to keep compensation to a minimum.

If a party failed to act responsibly, they are liable for the accident and, therefore, should compensate all those who suffered as a result. If they acted negligently or recklessly, this is who you need to launch a personal injury case against (with the help of the best boating accident attorney!).

When it comes to the compensation itself, the idea is to recover all damages. If there’s an expense that wouldn’t have arisen without the accident, you can claim it as part of a personal injury claim. This includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, loss of earning capacity, medication and rehabilitation, and more.

If the guilty party caused the accident on purpose and was out to intentionally harm others, this could lead to punitive damages in your case. Essentially, this is where the judge punishes the guilty party further and increases compensation to deter the person from doing something similar in the future.

maritime law concept document with gavelWorking with a Watercraft Accident Lawyer

Why work with a watercraft accident lawyer after a water sports accident? This is a great question, and even more important when you consider the number of people who forgo this support and make big mistakes with their case. Ultimately, the most likely outcome of ignoring a lawyer is that you won’t get the compensation you deserve. It won’t cover medical bills and other expenses, and your family is left out of pocket.

After an accident, it’s much better to focus on recovery while allowing a team of legal specialists to work on your lawsuit case. Not only does this help you, but it also ensures that you’re on the path to the best compensation package possible.

Of course, this applies to those who are claiming for themselves as well as those reading this after losing a loved one. If negligence or recklessness took your loved one, don’t walk away with less than your family deserves. Instead, contact The Injury Firm.

We will identify the liable parties (sometimes more than one), investigate the accident, reconstruct the accident, gather evidence, compile all paperwork, communicate with the pertinent insurance companies, interview witnesses, and contact medical experts and expert testimonies.

Only the best boating accident attorney will negotiate successfully or have the resources to take the case in front of a judge or jury. If it’s a wrongful death claim, we’ll push aggressively to recover funeral expenses, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and other damages. Call The Injury Firm to discuss your case with expert watercraft and boating attorneys: 954-951-0000.

PRIMARY OFFICE
The Injury Firm

1608 East Commercial Blvd. 
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000

 


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Disclaimer

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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