Boating can be a rewarding activity, but it can also come with risks. Boating accidents often result in drowning and other serious injuries. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported about 500 boating fatalities in 2017, resulting in an average of 166 deaths per month. If you were in such an accident, you might be eligible for compensation. However, getting full compensation for your injuries and damages can be complex.
Why Hire a Boca Raton Boating Accident Lawyer?
If you or your loved one has been injured in a boating accident, it's crucial to seek legal counsel from a Boca Raton boating accident lawyer to discover whether you're entitled to compensation. A lawyer can help you understand the boating regulations and guide you on the next course of action to take.
Thankfully, the laws today help protect accident victims from big insurance companies looking to defend the criminal behavior of others. If you've been hurt in a boating accident, enlist a Boca Raton personal injury lawyer who can:
- Answer all your questions to ensure you understand the legal process
- Investigate the necessary proof to back up your claim
- Hire other experts, such as an accident reconstructionist and doctors, to prove your claim
- Defend you against other parties claiming you were at fault
- Negotiate a fair settlement for your claim
Types of Boating Accidents
With the number of boats on the waterways increasing every year, it's not surprising that boating accidents are also becoming more common. There are many types of boating accidents, including:
Collision With Another Vessel
This is one of the most common types of accidents on the water. These accidents can happen due to negligent operation of the boat, careless captains or passengers on the boat, or various other reasons.
Collision With a Fixed Object
A collision with a fixed object can happen due to many different factors, including reckless boat operation and intoxication.
Groundings can occur when a boat hits an obstruction in the water, like rocks or sandbars. These accidents are often caused by the captain's lack of experience or carelessness because boats don't have brakes, so they cannot stop and turn on a dime like cars.
Flooding or Swamping
Any boat taking on water is at risk of sinking, which can cause severe injuries to anyone on board, especially if the boat is far from shore. Flooding and swamping may be due to bad weather or rough seas, but it could also be due to equipment failure, which can be avoided through proper maintenance.
These accidents happen due to bad weather, improper boat operation, or even the intoxication of those on board. When a fall overboard occurs, the boat captain must be aware of where its occupants are to rescue them quickly. Delayed attention can lead to drowning and hypothermia.
Causes of Boating Crashes
Boating crashes can have serious consequences, especially when they involve personal watercraft. Florida has the highest number of boating accidents in the country, accounting for nearly one-third of all boating accidents. Boating accidents can happen for several different reasons, including:
- Weather conditions: Bad weather can make it difficult for the captain to see ahead and cause other problems with the vessel.
- Equipment Failure: If the boat malfunctions or breaks down, it can lead to an accident.
- Lack of Training: Inexperienced boaters may not know how to operate their boats safely and adequately.
- Speeding: Operating the boat at high speeds can make it harder to maintain control of the vessel, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Alcohol Uses: Intoxication is among the leading causes of recreational boating fatalities in Boca Raton, Florida.
- Inattention or Lack of Caution: Neglecting to pay attention or acting carelessly as a captain or a passenger can lead to an accident.
Proving Liability in Boating Accidents
The vast majority of boating accidents occur due to one or more boats operating their watercraft recklessly. In some cases, the accident may be due to a manufacturer's error, creating a product liability suit. To prove liability in a boating accident case, you must demonstrate that the at-fault party acted recklessly or was negligent in operating their watercraft. Negligence can include actions such as:
- Drunk driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Boating without appropriate certification
- Boating without proper safety equipment on-board, like life jackets or flares
Florida Boating Regulations
Every state has its laws and regulations regarding boats and watercraft. You must be aware of your state's boating regulations to avoid getting injured or arrested. Here are some Florida boating regulations that you should be mindful of:
- Statute 327.32: a vessel is considered a "dangerous" instrumentality in the state of Florida; this means that if you harm another individual with your boat, you'll be held accountable for their injuries instead of the boat owner because boats are inherently dangerous and must be operated with caution and care.
- Statute 327.34: It's unlawful to operate a vessel when you have a physical or mental disability that prevents the safe operation of the boat.
- Statute 327.395: the operator of a vessel must have taken and passed an approved boating safety course and have proof of successful completion on board.
- Statute 327.39: one person must be at least 14 years old, possess a Florida Boating Safety Education I.D., and be in charge of operating the vessel while underway.
- Statute 327.33(1)(c): operators may not drive faster than "reasonable or prudent" while operating their boats; they are also required to avoid causing waves if possible.
Contact the Dolman Law Group
Boating accident claims and lawsuits help victims recover the damages they need to be made whole again. Anybody can find themselves involved in a boating accident, and if you are, you should contact the Dolman Law Group immediately for responsive legal assistance. Contact us today for your free and no-obligation initial consultation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
301 Yamato Road, Suite 1240
Boca Raton, Florida 33431