Everyone knows that car accidents occur, but most people do not realize the dangers posed by boats and watercraft.
Florida and most other states have no requirement that adults have a license or even demonstrate prior boating experience before operating most vessels, unlike a car. Recreational boats are not required to be inspected on a regular basis. And a poorly maintained boat or an inexperienced or inattentive operator can cause severe injuries for boaters and swimmers.
In a boating accident, you or a loved one could suffer a traumatic brain injury, a back injury, spinal cord injury, or other catastrophic injury. As a result, you could have significant medical expenses and be unable to work following a boating accident. Your remedy if you are injured in Florida, and most other states, is a civil lawsuit for damages.
It’s no secret; Floridians love the water and boating. Our beautiful state has access to the Atlantic Ocean, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, and numerous rivers and lakes. Countless motorboats, sailboats, jet skis, personal watercraft, kayaks, and yachts cruise the Miami, South Florida, and coastal Florida waters every day—many of which are operated and occupied by tourists and other visitors to our state, who often have little or no prior boating experience. This blend of a lack of familiarity with boating and the risks involved, leisure time activities including drinking alcohol, and unfamiliar inland and offshore waters can make for a dangerous and sometimes deadly combination.
Florida leads the nation in registered vessels with slightly under one million, a large number of which reside in Miami and South Florida. According to the 2018 Boating Accident Statistical Report, compiled by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement, there were 628 reportable boating accidents in Florida in 2018. A reportable boating or watercraft accident includes the death or disappearance of a person, injuries requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, $2,000 in property damage, or total loss of a vessel. Collision was the leading type of accident, and in 2018 alone, 56 of Florida’s reportable accidents were fatal, with 32% of those accidents being attributed to falls overboard and even more being attributed to the leading cause of death in fatal boating accidents: drowning. Alcohol or drug use was reported to have played a role in 19% of boating fatalities.
As you can see, a simple day on the water in Florida can be more dangerous than you think. If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, our network of experienced Miami attorneys can help you get justice.
Boating Accident Cases – What You Need to Know
Pursuing a boating accident claim is not the same as an auto accident claim. Boating accident cases can be very complex, especially in Miami and South Florida. Local, state, federal, and international maritime regulations impose requirements on the operation of a boat and can impact your claim if you are injured. In addition, maritime law often governs potential claims occurring on Florida’s waterways. Many maritime claims have to be filed in federal court under what is known as admiralty jurisdiction and have special statutes of limitation. Because of this, you need an attorney with the experience and understanding of maritime law to pursue your claim. Our attorneys understand the ins and outs of maritime law and have decades of experience in the field. We can navigate these confusing seas for you and help you get compensation after an accident.
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