Free Consultation - Call Now: 

Boat Accident Lawyer Near Me

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident in Florida, you need a boat accident lawyer who is not only near you but also understands the intricacies of maritime law. At Heintz Law, we represent injured individuals in boating accidents, and we are committed to helping you seek the compensation you deserve. If you find yourself in need of a boat accident lawyer near me in Florida, look no further than Heintz Law.

Boat Accident Lawyer Near Me

Boat Accident Causes

Boating is a popular activity in Florida, known for its beautiful waterways and abundant recreational opportunities. However, the enjoyment of being on the water can quickly turn tragic when accidents occur. Understanding the common causes of boat accidents is essential for promoting safety and accountability on the water. At Heintz Law, we have extensive experience handling cases involving various causes of boat accidents, and we are dedicated to helping victims seek justice and compensation.

1. Operator Negligence

One of the leading causes of boat accidents is operator negligence. This can include:

  • Inattention: Boat operators failing to pay attention to their surroundings, including other boats, swimmers, and navigational hazards.
  • Inexperience: Operators who lack proper training or experience are more likely to make mistakes that can lead to accidents.
  • Speeding: Operating a boat at excessive speeds reduces the operator's ability to react to unexpected situations, increasing the risk of collisions and other accidents.
  • Failure to Follow Navigational Rules: Ignoring or misunderstanding navigational rules can result in dangerous situations and accidents.

2. Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failure can also be a significant cause of boat accidents. Common issues include:

  • Engine Failure: Sudden engine failure can leave a boat stranded or unable to maneuver, leading to collisions or grounding.
  • Steering Malfunctions: Problems with the steering mechanism can cause a loss of control, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Poor Maintenance: Inadequate maintenance of the boat and its components can lead to breakdowns and failures while on the water.

3. Weather Conditions

The weather plays a crucial role in boating safety. Adverse weather conditions can contribute to accidents by:

  • High Winds: Strong winds can make it difficult to control a boat, increasing the risk of capsizing or collisions.
  • Rough Seas: Choppy waters and large waves can make navigation challenging and increase the likelihood of accidents.
  • Poor Visibility: Fog, heavy rain, and other conditions that reduce visibility can make it difficult to see other boats, navigational aids, and hazards.

4. Alcohol and Drug Use

Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious and dangerous behavior that significantly increases the risk of accidents. Impaired judgment, slower reaction times, and reduced coordination are all effects of substance use that can lead to severe accidents on the water.

5. Operator Inattention and Distraction

Distractions are as dangerous on the water as they are on the road. Common distractions include:

  • Using Mobile Devices: Texting, calling, or using other mobile devices can divert the operator’s attention from their surroundings.
  • Passenger Distractions: Interacting with passengers, particularly in a crowded or lively boat, can take the operator's focus away from safe navigation.
  • Engaging in Other Activities: Activities such as fishing, eating, or adjusting equipment can also distract the operator from safely piloting the boat.

6. Inadequate Safety Equipment

Failing to have the proper safety equipment on board or not using it correctly can lead to accidents and exacerbate the severity of incidents. This includes:

  • Lack of Life Jackets: Not having enough life jackets or not wearing them can result in drownings during accidents.
  • Insufficient Signaling Devices: Flares, horns, and other signaling devices are essential for alerting others to distress or an emergency situation.
  • Faulty Navigation Lights: Proper lighting is crucial for visibility, especially at night or in low-visibility conditions.

7. Overloading the Boat

Exceeding the boat's capacity for passengers or weight can destabilize the vessel and increase the risk of capsizing or swamping. It's crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the maximum number of passengers and weight limits.

At Heintz Law, we understand that boat accidents can result from a variety of causes, often involving a combination of factors. Our experienced team is here to investigate the circumstances of your accident, determine liability, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident in the Bradenton-Sarasota area, contact us today for a free consultation.

Types of Boat Accidents

At Heintz Law, we are well-versed in handling a variety of boat accident cases. Understanding the different types of boat accidents can help you recognize potential hazards and seek appropriate legal assistance if you are involved in an incident.

Collisions with Other Boats

One of the most common types of boat accidents is a collision with another vessel. These accidents often result from operator negligence, such as failing to maintain a proper lookout, excessive speed, or misjudging distances. Collisions can cause significant injuries to passengers and extensive damage to both boats involved.

Grounding and Capsizing

Grounding occurs when a boat runs aground, hitting the bottom or an underwater obstruction. Capsizing, on the other hand, happens when a boat overturns in the water. Both grounding and capsizing can be caused by factors such as operator error, hazardous weather conditions, or mechanical failure. These accidents pose serious risks to the safety of those on board, including the danger of drowning.

Accidents Involving Personal Watercraft

Personal watercraft, such as jet skis, are popular for their speed and maneuverability. However, their small size and quick movements make them particularly susceptible to accidents. Common incidents include collisions with other vessels, fixed objects, or swimmers, often resulting from operator inexperience, recklessness, or failure to observe safety guidelines.

Docking and Marina Accidents

Accidents can occur while docking or maneuvering in marinas, where boats are in close proximity to one another and to structures. These accidents may involve hitting docks, pilings, or other boats. Causes often include misjudgment of distances, lack of control, or mechanical issues. Docking and marina accidents can lead to property damage and injuries to passengers or bystanders.

Falls Overboard

Falls overboard can happen due to sudden movements, slippery surfaces, or loss of balance. This type of accident is particularly dangerous, as it can result in drowning, especially if the individual is not wearing a life jacket. Rapid response and effective use of safety equipment are critical in preventing fatal outcomes.

Fires and Explosions

Boat fires and explosions, although less common, can have devastating consequences. These incidents may result from fuel leaks, electrical malfunctions, or improper storage of flammable materials. Fires and explosions can cause severe burns, respiratory injuries, and significant damage to the vessel.


Sinking can occur due to severe weather conditions, collisions, or structural failures. A sinking boat poses an immediate threat to the lives of those on board, making prompt action and effective use of life-saving equipment essential. The aftermath of such accidents often involves complex investigations to determine liability.

Wake Accidents

Wake accidents happen when the waves created by one boat's wake cause another vessel to lose control or collide with objects or other boats. These incidents can lead to injuries from falls or collisions and can damage smaller or less stable boats.

Water Sports Accidents

Involvement in water sports like water skiing, tubing, or wakeboarding can lead to accidents. Common causes include operator inexperience, failure to follow safety procedures, and inadequate supervision. These accidents can result in severe injuries to participants, such as fractures, head injuries, and lacerations.

Man Overboard Incidents

Man overboard incidents occur when a person falls off the boat into the water, often due to rough seas, sudden movements, or lack of proper restraints. Immediate rescue efforts are crucial to prevent drowning or hypothermia, particularly in colder waters.

At Heintz Law, we understand the complexities and unique aspects of various types of boat accidents. Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing comprehensive legal support to boat accident victims.

How a Boat Accident Lawyer Can Help

Whether you're dealing with physical injuries, emotional trauma, or financial burdens, our experienced boat accident lawyers are here to help you navigate the complexities of your case. Here’s how we can assist you:

Comprehensive Case Evaluation

Our legal team will start by providing a thorough evaluation of your case. We will review all aspects of the incident, including the accident report, witness statements, and any available evidence. This initial assessment allows us to determine the strength of your case and the best course of action.

Expert Investigation

To build a robust case, a detailed investigation is crucial. Our attorneys will:

  • Collect critical evidence such as photographs of the accident scene, boat maintenance records, and any available video footage.
  • Speak with witnesses to obtain their accounts and gather additional supporting statements.
  • Work with maritime experts, accident reconstructionists, and medical professionals to establish the cause of the accident and the extent of your injuries.

Determining Liability

Identifying the responsible party is essential in a boat accident case. We will:

  • Examine whether the accident was due to operator negligence, mechanical failure, weather conditions, or other factors.
  • Determine who is liable, which may include boat operators, manufacturers, rental companies, or other involved parties.

Handling Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. Our lawyers will:

  • Engage with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, property damage, and other losses.
  • Protect you from accepting lowball offers that do not adequately cover your expenses and suffering.

Legal Representation in Court

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to court. Our attorneys will:

  • Develop a compelling argument, supported by evidence and expert testimonies, to present in court.
  • Represent you vigorously in court, aiming to secure the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

Securing Compensation

Our goal is to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. This can include:

  • Covering current and future medical bills related to your injuries.
  • Compensating for lost income due to your inability to work.
  • Addressing the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.
  • Reimbursing you for damage to your boat and other personal property.

Providing Support and Guidance

Navigating a boat accident claim can be overwhelming. At Heintz Law, we are committed to:

  • Providing compassionate and personalized legal support tailored to your unique situation.
  • Ensuring you are informed and involved in every step of the legal process.
  • Addressing any questions or concerns you may have promptly and thoroughly.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boat accident in the Bradenton-Sarasota area, don’t face the aftermath alone. Contact Heintz Law today for a free consultation.

Steps To Take After a Boating Accident

Experiencing a boating accident can be a traumatic and confusing event. Knowing the correct steps to take immediately following the incident can help ensure your safety, protect your legal rights, and strengthen any future claims you may need to make. At Heintz Law, we want to ensure you are well-prepared should such an unfortunate event occur. Here are the crucial steps to take after a boating accident in Florida:

  1. Ensure Safety and Provide First Aid: Assess yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is injured, provide first aid and seek medical attention immediately. If the boat is in danger of sinking or in a hazardous location, move to a safer area if possible. Use life jackets and flotation devices to ensure everyone's safety.
  2. Report the Accident: Contact the local authorities or the Coast Guard to report the accident. In Florida, it is mandatory to report boating accidents that result in serious injury, death, or significant property damage. When reporting the accident, provide accurate and detailed information about the location, number of people involved, and the nature of the incident.
  3. Gather Information: Obtain the names, contact information, boat registration numbers, and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. Take photographs and videos of the accident scene, including damages to all boats, the surrounding environment, and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident occur. Their statements can be valuable for your case.
  4. Preserve Evidence: Save all medical records, repair estimates, and any other documents related to the accident and injuries sustained. Do not repair your boat until after it has been inspected and documented as part of the investigation.
  5. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you do not feel injured, it is important to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Keep a record of all medical visits, treatments, and expenses. This documentation will be important for any legal claims you may pursue.
  6. Contact a Boat Accident Lawyer: Contact an experienced boat accident lawyer at Heintz Law as soon as possible. Early legal intervention can protect your rights and ensure you take the necessary steps to build a strong case. Do not provide statements to insurance companies or sign any documents without first consulting your attorney. Insurance adjusters may attempt to minimize your claim.
  7. File an Insurance Claim: Report the accident to your insurance company. Provide them with the necessary information but avoid admitting fault or giving detailed statements without legal advice. Your lawyer will help you navigate the claims process, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your damages.
  8. Maintain Records: Keep detailed records of all communications, expenses, and any other relevant information related to the accident. Store all your evidence and documents in an organized manner to facilitate the legal process.

At Heintz Law, we are dedicated to helping victims of boating accidents. Our experienced team will guide you through every step, from initial reporting to securing the compensation you deserve. If you have been involved in a boating accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We are here to protect your rights and support you through this challenging time.

Compensation You May Be Entitled To

If you have been involved in a boating accident, the aftermath can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. At Heintz Law, we are committed to helping you secure the compensation you deserve to alleviate some of the burdens associated with your recovery. Here are the types of compensation you may be entitled to following a boating accident:

  • Medical Expenses: Boating accidents can result in severe injuries that require immediate and ongoing medical treatment. You may be entitled to compensation for emergency care, hospital bills, rehabilitation, medications, etc.
  • Lost Wages: Injuries from a boating accident may prevent you from returning to work, resulting in lost income. You may be entitled to compensation for lost earnings and loss of earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: Boating accidents can cause significant physical pain and emotional distress. Compensation for pain and suffering aims to address physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Property Damage: If your boat or personal property was damaged in the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for boat repairs or replacement and compensation for personal belongings.
  • Disability and Disfigurement: Severe accidents can result in long-term or permanent disabilities and disfigurement. You may be entitled to compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement.
  • Wrongful Death: If a boating accident results in the death of a loved one, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses and loss of financial support.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases where the at-fault party's actions were particularly reckless or malicious, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

At Heintz Law, our dedicated team of boat accident lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

Let Heintz Law Fight for Your Rights

If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is essential to have a skilled and experienced boat accident lawyer on your side. At Heintz Law, our team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of our clients and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve.

Don't wait to seek legal representation after a boating accident. Contact Heintz Law today to schedule a free consultation with a boat accident lawyer near you. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and advocate for your rights every step of the way.

Boat Accident Lawyer FAQs

1. What Should I Do Immediately After a Boating Accident?

First, ensure the safety of everyone involved by moving to a secure location if possible. Call for medical assistance if anyone is injured. Report the accident to the local authorities or the Coast Guard. Collect information from other parties involved and document the scene with photos and witness statements. Seek medical attention even if injuries seem minor and contact an experienced boat accident lawyer as soon as possible.

2. How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Boating Accident?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, it's important to consult with a lawyer promptly to ensure all legal deadlines are met and to preserve vital evidence.

3. Who Can Be Held Liable for a Boating Accident?

Potentially liable parties can include boat operators, boat owners, manufacturers (if a mechanical failure caused the accident), rental companies, and even other passengers depending on the circumstances. Liability is determined based on negligence and fault.

4. What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?

You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, disability, disfigurement, and, in cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses and loss of companionship. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.

5. What If the Accident Involved a Rental Boat?

If a rental boat was involved in the accident, the rental company might be liable if they failed to properly maintain the boat or failed to provide necessary safety instructions. The rental agreement and the circumstances of the accident will be critical in determining liability.

6. Do I Need a Lawyer to Handle My Boating Accident Claim?

While you are not required to have a lawyer, having an experienced boat accident attorney can significantly improve your chances of receiving fair compensation. A lawyer can handle negotiations with insurance companies, gather necessary evidence, and represent you in court if needed.

7. What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

Florida follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. An attorney can help determine your level of fault and advocate for the best possible outcome.

8. How Are Boating Accidents Investigated?

Boating accidents are investigated through a combination of witness interviews, review of the accident report, analysis of physical evidence, and consultations with experts such as maritime accident reconstructionists and medical professionals. The goal is to establish the cause of the accident and determine liability.

9. What Costs Are Involved in Hiring a Boat Accident Lawyer?

At Heintz Law, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay any upfront fees. Our fees are only collected if we win your case or secure a settlement. This ensures that you can seek legal assistance without worrying about initial costs.

10. How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case?

The duration of a boating accident case can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, and whether a settlement is reached or the case goes to trial. Some cases may be resolved in a few months, while others could take longer. Your attorney will provide a more accurate timeline based on the specifics of your case.


No Fees Or Costs Unless We Get Results

905 6th Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34205

Phone: 941-748-2916
Fax: 941-746-4281
Map & Directions

By Appointment Only

2033 Main St, Ste 406
Sarasota, FL 34237

Phone: 941-238-0093
Fax: 941-746-4281
Map & Directions

Attorney Advertising | Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.