Florida Boating Accident Lawyers

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If you suffered injuries on a boat due to another person’s negligent actions, call the Florida personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. immediately to discuss your options for seeking compensation. You could hold the at-fault party liable for the accident. They should be the one to provide the money you need to cover your medical treatment and other expenses if they were entirely responsible for your injuries.

Boating is a popular activity in Florida. The weather is beautiful year-round, and there are plenty of fun things to do on the water. People take their boats out to fish, cruise around, or just relax in the sun. Although it’s an enjoyable experience, it can become dangerous.

You might think boats are relatively safe since there isn’t as much traffic on the water as on the road. However, accidents can still happen. In 2020, there were 836 boating accidents in Florida, a 16 percent increase from the previous year. The most common type of fatal boating accident since 2003 has been falling overboard, and 88 percent of people who drown aren’t wearing life jackets.

Even if you take the necessary safety precautions, you can encounter a reckless or inattentive operator. If someone isn’t focusing on navigating their boat around others, they could crash into another vessel or collide with the dock. Injuries and fatalities are common in boat accidents, especially when they involve high speeds.

Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. is ready to take on your case and help you hold the negligent party accountable for what they have done. Call us at 561.689.8180 right now for a free consultation with one of our Florida boating accident attorneys and learn more about what we can do for you.

Common Types of Accidents Involving Boats

Various factors can result in a boat accident. You probably picture two boats crashing into each other when you think of an accident on the water. While that does happen, many other scenarios can cause injuries and death that don’t involve a collision.

The most common types of boat accidents include:

  • Collisions with other boats
  • Collisions with docks and other stationary structures
  • Crashing into a swimmer, inner tube, or another floating object
  • Flooding
  • Fires or explosions from leaking fuel
  • Grounding
  • Capsizing
  • Striking objects underwater
  • Sinking
  • Falling overboard
  • Slip/trip and fall on the boat
  • Contact with the propeller

There is a false sense of safety for most people when they’re on the water. Unfortunately, that laid-back attitude can put everyone at risk of serious harm. The boat operator must obey all laws and carefully maneuver around other vessels and structures to avoid a crash. If they behave recklessly, they could become financially responsible for any injured victim’s medical bills and additional incurred costs.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Florida

Florida is the perfect place to enjoy a nice day on the water. The Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean provide excellent opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, jet-skiing, and tubing. Water sports are popular in the Sunshine State, and anywhere you go on the coast, you’re likely to see people hanging out on their boats with friends and family.

Operator inattention was the leading contributing factor of accidents involving boats throughout the United States in 2020. Some people think there isn’t much to look out for while navigating the waters, but obstacles can exist anywhere. Turning to look at passengers or becoming distracted by a cell phone can turn a fun day into a dangerous situation.

The most common causes of boating accidents are:

  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Speeding
  • Inadequate lookout
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Equipment failure
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Overcrowded boat
  • Violation of boat Navigation Rules
  • Hazardous waters
  • Lack of safety gear and devices

Boat accidents can happen any time of day. However, many occur at night when it’s harder to see where you’re going. If the operator doesn’t have lights for navigation or so others can see them, a collision is likely.

Common Injuries Sustained in Boat Accidents

Injuries range from minor to life-threatening. Sometimes, victims die in a collision with another vessel or accidental drowning. The most common injuries boating accidents cause include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Drowning
  • Accidental amputation
  • Electrocution
  • Burns from a fire or explosion
  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Back injury or spinal cord damage
  • Neck injuries
  • Sprained ankles and wrists
  • Torn ligaments or tendons
  • Pulled muscles
  • Cuts and bruises

Getting hurt in a boat accident is a traumatic experience. You could end up with severe injuries that lead to a physical disability. If you struggle with mobility issues, chronic pain, and other problems, you need ongoing treatment to manage these medical conditions. The costs you incur can reach thousands of dollars and put you into debt if you can’t afford to pay. You shouldn’t be responsible for any of these expenses if your actions didn’t contribute to the accident.

Compensation You Can Seek After a Boat Accident

The source of your compensation will depend on who was at fault for the accident. For example, if you were on a boat with someone who crashed into something, you could hold them liable if they behaved negligently. You could file a claim with their insurance company to compensate you for the losses you suffered.

However, boat insurance is not mandatory in Florida. That means you might have to file a lawsuit. Either way, the compensation you receive could cover a range of losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Damage to personal property
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement

You may also be entitled to punitive damages if you file a lawsuit. An award of this type punishes the at-fault party instead of compensating you for your losses. You must show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with intentional misconduct or gross negligence for a jury to provide this financial award.

Deadline to File a Lawsuit in Florida

If you choose to file a lawsuit after a boat accident, you must follow the statute of limitations. This is the timeframe required for initiating legal action against another person. Florida has a four-year statute of limitations. That means you have to file your lawsuit within four years of the accident if you want to pursue compensation.

This is a strict deadline enforced by the civil courts. If the statute passes and you try to file anyway, the judge will likely dismiss your case. The only exception that could delay the four-year timeframe is if you were under 18 years old or of unsound mind when the accident occurred. The clock would not begin to run until you turn 18 or gain mental competency. You could also pause the statute if the defendant temporarily leaves the state. Once they return, the clock would start again.

Steps You Should Take After a Boating Accident

There are critical steps you need to take if you’re involved in a boat accident. The operator is supposed to immediately notify one of these agencies:

  • County Sherriff
  • Police chief within the appropriate municipality
  • Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

You can request an ambulance to transport you to the hospital if you suffered an injury, or you can drive yourself if it is not too severe. After the initial evaluation, follow up with all recommended doctors. You should continue treating your injuries until you recover or your medical providers release you from their care.

Hire a Florida boating accident attorney as well. It can be a challenge to handle an insurance claim or lawsuit while attending doctor’s appointments. There is a lot involved in the process, and it can become overwhelming if you don’t have experience handling a case like this. Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. can take over and complete every step on your behalf so you can focus on healing.

It would also be helpful to maintain copies of all documents associated with the accident. That might include physician notes, medical bills, prescriptions, surgical reports, imaging test results, and other records. Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. can review everything you have to determine if we can use them as evidence in your case. The more evidence there is, the better our chance of holding the at-fault party liable.

Contact Us

Since 1978, the Florida boating accident attorneys of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. have helped victims recover from devastating accidents. We always fight for justice and seek the maximum compensation available. You can count on us to be your advocate and remain in your corner until the end.

We take cases on contingency, so you don’t face the burden of upfront fees or costs. We won’t expect payment of our legal fees unless we secure compensation for you. If we lose, you won’t owe us anything.me

Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. knows the uphill battle you face after a boat accident. It’s something that can upend your entire life and disrupt your daily routine. We aim to relieve the stress you feel so you can focus on healing and moving forward. You won’t have to deal with the insurance company, paperwork, or accident investigations. We can take care of everything for you.

Call Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. today at 561.689.8180 if you suffered injuries in a boating accident in Florida. We will be happy to meet with you for a free consultation to discuss the details and advise whether we can help.

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