At a time when boating is at an all-time high, fatal boating accidents serve as harsh reminders of the importance of education and safety. If you were in an accident, an experienced boating accident attorney in Florida can help.
According to the United States Coast Guard, 5,438 boating accidents were reported in 2011. These accidents were the cause of 3,474 injuries, 710 fatalities and over $43 million in property damage.
At the time of most serious boating accidents, drivers are either not paying attention, drinking, acting recklessly, operating at dangerous speeds, and/or they are inexperienced boaters. Alcohol use was cited as the leading cause of fatal boating accidents with 20% fatalities. Sadly, this lack of safety results in tragic consequences for innocent people.
When boat operators don’t pay attention, they put everyone at risk. Boat operators have as many things to distract them as vehicle drivers, if not more.
In a small space, like a human-made lake, boaters have to mind their vessel. They also have to be on the lookout for others on the water.
There are natural factors to consider, as well, such as the weather. The water can be unpredictable, changing based on the wind or storms. Boat operators must remain vigilant the whole time they are on the water.
Even a moment of inattention could cause a Florida boat accident.
As boating is a leisurely activity, boaters are less likely to take it as seriously as driving.
As noted above, boating under the influence of alcohol accounts for the most fatal boating accident injuries. Boating under the influence is not only unsafe, it is also unlawful. In Florida, the legal blood alcohol limit for boaters over 21 years of age is 0.08 percent. The same legal limit applies to driving of a vehicle.
On the water, ingesting alcohol can be even more unsafe than on land. Boating requires clear decision-making and reflexes. Boaters under the influence may be more likely to make poor decisions. Alcohol affects all the body’s major systems, like eyesight and coordination.
Boaters under the influencer are also more likely to become exhausted. They are dealing with the noise of the boat, the weather, and the passengers.
Speeding on the water can lead to collisions with another boat or with something else in the water. It can also lower the amount of response time the boat operator has to deal with any issues that may arise.
Inexperienced boaters won’t have the time on the water they need to make the best decisions they can. Often, inexperienced boaters don’t have the judgment required to handle boating. In many cases, they aren’t fully aware of the laws and rules of boating. They may not know what to do if an emergency strikes.
Boat operators can act recklessly or careless for any number of reasons. They may be trying to show off to passengers onboard. They may be arrogant about their skills and judgment. Carelessness occurs when the boater doesn’t act reasonably. Regardless of the reason, boaters acting recklessly are more likely to cause accidents.
Most people who file a boating accident claim bring it under negligence theories. Often, the boat owner or operator is the defendant. There may be other defendants, as well, in rare circumstances. An experienced Florida boating accident lawyer from our law firm can help you with this.
To win a boat accident claim for negligence, you must prove:
You getting hurt doesn’t necessarily mean that someone was negligent. Florida courts assess negligence based on a standard of reasonable care. In other words, courts will look to what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.
Determining negligence in a boating accident lawsuit involves an assessment of what type of accident occurred. For example, did the boat hit another boat, or a rock, or a big wave?
It also involves consideration of the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as (but not limited to):
Because of the complexity of a negligence claim in a boating accident, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced boating accident attorney in Pensacola right away. Our law firm offers free consultations.
If you were the victim in a boat accident, we have a whole team of experienced Pensacola boating accident attorneys who are ready to fight aggressively to help you get the compensation you deserve. And while some boating accident attorneys in Florida simply pursue the insurance company, our team works to ensure that you receive all the money you may be entitled to, including Social Security Disability. For a free consultation with a boating accident attorney in Florida, please call. If you prefer, you may complete the requested information on our contact form and a representative from our office will be in contact with you shortly.