Fort Lauderdale Boat Accident Attorney
South Florida is a popular boating destination, and it’s becoming even more popular. In fact, South Florida experienced a 10% increase in boat registrations in 2017. As more people are owning boats, there are more accidents on the water.
If you’re involved in a boating accident, you could suffer from serious injuries. While car accidents only involve state and federal laws, boating accidents are more complex. There are federal, state, and international maritime laws to consider. Filing a claim against a negligent boat captain can be a challenge, and you need an experienced Fort Lauderdale boat accident attorney to handle the situation. Here at Friedland and Associates, we can take on your case with confidence.
Your Rights After the Accident
The operator of a boat is responsible for operating their vessel in a safe manner. When they behave recklessly or negligently, they put everyone else on the water at risk. Their breach of duty means you may be able to hold them accountable for their actions. Whether you were a passenger of the vessel or were on another boat, you have two ways of handling the accident.
You can file an insurance claim against the driver and you can receive money for your injuries. Some people hesitate to do so because they are friends with the driver. However, a claim shouldn’t affect their finances. Instead, it will affect their insurance company. They are the ones responsible for paying for your damages.
Another option is to file a civil lawsuit against a negligent party. This could be the boat operator or someone else. For instance, a boat manufacturer may have made an unsafe vessel. Similarly, a boat mechanic could have ignored a serious problem. If their negligence contributed to the accident, they could be liable for the damage through a civil lawsuit. You may be eligible to receive money for your pain, medical expenses, and missed wages.
When Do You Have a Claim?
All of the following circumstances could result in a successful claim:
- Driver of the vessel was careless
- Vessel had maintenance issues
- Driver was boating under the influence
- Owner of the vessel didn’t have the proper safety equipment onboard
- Driver didn’t follow federal or state boating laws
However, you need to be able to demonstrate negligence. Your attorney can collect the proof and represent you during negotiations or in a courtroom.
Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents happen for many reasons. However, they are usually caused by inexperience, carelessness, or recklessness. All of the following are common examples of boating accidents in Fort Lauderdale.
Just as driving a car at a high speed is dangerous, driving a boat at a high speed comes with many risks. One of the biggest dangers is hitting a wave or wake while speeding. In some cases, the impact could cause a passenger to fall or be thrown overboard.
Boating in Bad Weather
Before heading out on the boat, the driver should check the weather. If they knowingly drive into bad weather, they put their passengers at risk. Choppy waters and high winds can send passengers off the boat and into the water. Although the weather is partially to blame, the operator shares some of the responsibility.
Failure to Have Safety Equipment
According to boating laws, all vessels should be equipped with certain safety equipment. If an accident happens and the vessel does not have safety equipment, an injury can occur. Whether or not the driver was responsible for the initial accident, they are responsible for not having equipment that could remedy the situation.
Failure to Know Local Boating Laws
In Florida, there is no such thing as a boating license. However, operators of vessels are required to know the local boating laws. This doesn’t stop people from driving without knowledge of the laws. And sadly, this can result in an accident.
One of the most serious incidents caused by a lack of boating knowledge is a collision with another vessel. If a driver does not understand the right of way, they could hit another boat. The damage can be serious and may result in a fatality.
Boating Under the Influence
In Florida, boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. The police have a right to request that a driver takes a sobriety test. If a driver fails to take the test, they could lose their right to boat or drive another vehicle. The legal limit for boating is the same as driving: .08. An operator who is over the limit faces jail time and fines.
If a boater is under the age of 21, their legal limit is .02. If they register anything more than that, they can face charges.
Regardless of the operator’s age, drinking and boating is a dangerous combination. An operator could make a bad decision and cause an accident. Their vision suffers, as does their ability to make smart choices.
What Should You Do After a Boating Accident?
The actions you take after your boating accident can affect both your health and your chance at compensation. Immediately after the accident, you should seek medical attention. Be sure to mention any discomfort to your doctor.
Additionally, you should contact an attorney. They can inform you of the steps you need to take to receive compensation. After learning about your accident, they can also advise you on your chances of a successful claim. While you recover from your injuries, they can handle the paperwork and negotiations.
The sooner you start taking legal action, the sooner you can resolve your case. With the money you receive from a lawsuit or an insurance payout, you may be able to move on with your life. Your boating accident does not need to destroy your future.
Working with a Fort Lauderdale Boat Accident Attorney
In 2013, Broward County ranked as one of the top ten counties with the most reportable accidents per 100 registered vessels. Many boaters have been the victim of reckless and negligent driving. For some, the injuries left them with permanent disabilities.
If you were involved in an accident on the water and have injuries, contact us at Friedland and Associates. We want you to get the compensation you deserve.