Boating is a cherished pastime in the Sunshine State, but with Florida leading the nation in the number of registered recreational vessels, boating accidents are unfortunately not uncommon. If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident, you might be wondering, "How can a Florida boating accident lawyer help?"
Under Florida law, a boating accident is generally defined as an occurrence or event that involves a boat or other type of watercraft that results in damage to the vessel or its equipment, injury or loss of life to a person, or disappearance of a person under circumstances that indicate a possibility of injury or death.
There are various types of boating accidents, including but not limited to:
This is perhaps the most common type of boating accident and involves two vessels colliding with each other.
This refers to accidents where a boat collides with a stationary object, such as a dock, buoy, or underwater rocks.
This happens when a boat overturns in the water, potentially trapping passengers underneath or throwing them into the water.
Falling off a boat into the water can lead to drowning, especially if the person is not wearing a life jacket.
Fires on boats can lead to serious injuries, and in worst-case scenarios, loss of life. They can be caused by several factors, including faulty equipment or negligence.
This involves water entering the boat, leading to sinking or instability.
This includes accidents that happen during water sports activities, such as water skiing, tubing, or wakeboarding.
This refers to incidents where a vessel runs aground, potentially damaging the boat and injuring the people on board.
At Heintz Law Firm, our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers specializes in representing victims of boating accidents. We're here to guide you through the often complex legal process and ensure you secure the maximum compensation you're entitled to. Here's how we can assist.
One of the first things a boating accident lawyer can do is to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the accident. This involves gathering evidence, which may include photos from the scene, eyewitness testimonies, and official accident reports. Expert knowledge of maritime and state laws enables our attorneys to identify the critical aspects of the case that could determine its outcome.
Responsibility for a boating accident can rest on one or multiple parties, including the boat operator, owner, passengers, or even the manufacturer of a faulty boat part. Your lawyer will help to identify and hold the appropriate parties accountable.
Following a boating accident, you may be eligible for a range of damages, from medical expenses and lost wages to property damage and pain and suffering. An experienced boat accident lawyer understands the full scope of potential damages and will ensure all are considered when calculating your claim.
Negotiating with insurance companies can be a daunting and complex process. Insurers often try to minimize their payout by disputing the claim's value or even the claimant's right to compensation. A skilled boat accident attorney can advocate on your behalf, navigating these negotiations to reach a fair settlement.
If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can take the case to court. They will present your case, argue on your behalf, and strive to convince the judge or jury of your entitlement to damages.
Florida operates under a "pure comparative negligence" rule. This means that if you were partially at fault for the accident, your compensation could be reduced by an amount equivalent to your percentage of fault. A knowledgeable lawyer can advise on how this law might impact your case.
In Florida, you typically have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, exceptions may apply. Your lawyer will ensure that all legal actions are taken within the required deadlines.
The cost of hiring a boating accident injury lawyer varies depending on the personal injury lawyer and the complexity of the case. However, most personal injury attorneys, including those specializing in boat accident claims, operate on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee means that you, as the client, do not pay any upfront costs or hourly fees to the attorney. Instead, the attorney takes a percentage of any settlement or court award you receive.
Boating accidents can lead to a variety of injuries, depending on factors such as the speed of the boat at the time of the accident, the nature of the accident (collision, capsizing, etc.), and whether the individuals involved were wearing appropriate safety gear. Here are some of the most common types of boating injuries associated with boating accidents:
Tragically, one of the most common causes of death in boating accidents is drowning, often occurring when individuals are not wearing life jackets or are unable to reach safety in time.
Survivors of near-drowning accidents can suffer from brain damage due to lack of oxygen, which can lead to long-term effects such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and other permanent damage.
TBIs can be caused by a sudden impact on the head during a collision or fall, leading to concussions or more serious brain damage.
These can occur if an individual falls overboard and hits the water at a bad angle or if there is a collision. The impact can fracture, dislocate, or crush the vertebrae, leading to potential paralysis.
Collisions or falls on the boat can result in broken bones or fractures. Commonly affected areas include arms, legs, ribs, and collarbones.
If a fire or explosion occurs on the boat, individuals on board may suffer from burn injuries, ranging from minor to severe.
Shattered glass, flying debris, or damaged equipment can cause cuts and bruises. Deep lacerations can lead to significant blood loss.
This can occur if a person falls overboard into cold water and isn't promptly rescued. Hypothermia can lead to organ damage and other life-threatening conditions.
These can occur from slips and falls on deck, particularly in rough waters.
This can occur on boats with inboard engines, especially if passengers are in an enclosed space or near the exhaust vent.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may be eligible to claim compensation for various types of damages, depending on the specifics of your case. Here's an overview of the potential damages you might be able to pursue:
These damages cover the cost of any medical care related to your injury, both now and in the future. This can include ambulance fees, hospital bills, physical therapy, medication, and any necessary medical equipment.
If your injuries have caused you to miss work or reduced your ability to earn a living, you may be able to claim for lost wages. This can also include future earnings if you are unable to return to work or can only return to a lower-paying job.
This refers to the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident and the injuries sustained. Pain and suffering can be hard to quantify, but it is often calculated based on the severity and long-term impact of the injuries.
If your injuries prevent you from enjoying hobbies, recreational activities, or other life pleasures, you may be entitled to compensation for this loss.
If the boating accident resulted in damage to your personal property (such as your boat or other belongings), you can be compensated for the cost of repair or replacement.
Serious accidents can lead to emotional trauma such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Compensation can be claimed for the psychological impact of the accident.
If a loved one died as a result of a boating accident, surviving family members might be able to claim damages for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
These are less common but may be awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or malicious. The goal of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
Claiming compensation after a boating accident can be a complex process, especially given the challenge of calculating non-economic damages like pain and suffering. It's often in your best interest to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process and advocate for your rights.
At Heintz Law Firm, we're committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive legal support to boating accident victims. If you've been involved in a boating accident in Florida, contact us for a free consultation to learn about a personal injury claim. We're here to help you reclaim your life after a boating accident.
905 6th Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34205
2033 Main St, Ste 406
Sarasota, FL 34237