Boating accidents can present challenges to a victim who is making a claim for compensation. State, federal and maritime laws cover boating accidents depending on the location of the boat when the accident occurs. Your purpose on the boat, driver, passenger, or employee can also have an effect on the type of claim you make for your injuries.
Boat owners and operators have a responsibility to the passengers on the vessel to operate the boat safely and legally. This includes making sure that there is enough safety equipment on board for all passengers and not operating the vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents can happen for a wide variety of reasons; however, it has been our experience that there are some reasons that are more common than others that cause boating accidents to occur.
- Impact with another vehicle or fixed object due to navigation errors
- Propeller accidents
- Hitting a wave at an excessive speed
- Operating at excessive speeds causing loss of control
- Continuing to operate in bad weather conditions
- Exceeding passenger limit on vessel
- Failing to abide by water traffic laws and regulations
- Not carrying the right type or enough safety equipment
- Operating under the influence
It is against the law in Florida to operate a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI laws do apply to anyone operating a watercraft, and you can be required to take a sobriety test if you are suspected of operating a boat under the influence.
State laws say that a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is considered intoxicated. Under state law, an operator of a boat who is found intoxicated will face the same charges and penalties as those of a vehicle that operates on the roadways. This includes the loss of driving privileges for their cars.
In addition to being charged with a DUI, a boat operator can also face charges for reckless operation of a watercraft. Under Federal and Florida state laws, it is a first-class misdemeanor to operate a watercraft in a reckless way that places life or property in danger of harm.
Florida has implemented stricter boating laws in recent years because of the significant number of boating accidents that occur in the state each year. Sadly, many people continue to operate watercraft in a negligent manner. If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is important to contact a boating accident attorney about your rights to file a claim for compensation.
Filing A Claim For Compensation
If you were a guest on a boat and were injured, you will have the right to seek compensation for any injuries you received while you were on the boat. Operators of a vessel that were injured but did not own the vessel may also be able to seek compensation if they were harmed due to the negligent actions of the owner.
When you have been injured in a boating accident, it is important to take the following steps to help build your claim for compensation.
- Make sure an accident report is filed
- Take pictures of the scene if possible
- Gather witness information if possible
- Get immediate medical care
- Avoid posting information on social media about accident or injury details
- Contact a boating accident attorney
If you were an employee that was injured while on a boat, you have different rights to claim compensation. Workers compensation laws for those who work on a boat fall under the Longshore or Jones Act laws for compensation. Our law firm has the ability to represent clients with claims under Maritime Law.
Types of Compensation Available For Boating Accidents
You may be entitled to several kinds of compensation for your injuries in a boating accident. Your attorney will discuss with you in-depth the types of compensation available to you based on the facts of your case. Your compensation package may include one or more of the following types of compensation:
- Medical Bills
All of the medical bills, both current and in the future associated with the boating accident, will be covered in your compensation package. If you need long-term care due to the type of injuries you received, your attorney will make sure that these costs are included in your claim.
All lost wages that are a result of your injury will be included in your compensation. If you lost other employer-paid benefits or bonuses because of your absence from work, your attorney might also seek recovery for these losses. If you cannot return to work because of your injury, or you can only return at a lesser capacity, your attorney will seek compensation for all future earnings that you will lose as a result of your injury.
- Additional Expenses
If you have had to make adjustments to your home or vehicle to accommodate your injury, you may be entitled to claim these expenses. Other expenses, such as the cost for travel to and from medical care, over-the-counter supplies required by your doctor, or similar expenses may also be included in your compensation.
- Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering compensation is unique to each case. Your attorney will discuss with you how this portion of compensation is calculated and what you should expect based on your case. You may also be entitled to additional forms of compensation. All of this information will be discussed with you in detail during one of your meetings with your attorney.
Contact a Boating Accident Attorney For Help
Boating accidents occur at an alarming rate in Florida. Florida continues to lead the nation for the highest amount of accidents in a boat in the country. Sadly, Florida also leads the nation with the highest amount of injuries and deaths associated with these accidents as well.
If you have been injured while you were on a boat, it is crucial that you speak to a boating accident attorney about your right to receive compensation. Many different laws apply to these types of accidents, so it is important to contact a law firm with the knowledge you need to manage one of these cases.
There is no reason to delay. Contact South Florida’s most trusted boating accident attorney today.