Boating Accidents In Florida: A Victim’s Guide To Compensation
by Abdul Aziz Mondal Legal 20 July 2023
Florida has some of the nation’s most beautiful coastlines, but that’s not the only waterways in the state. There are also hundreds of miles of lake shorelines and rivers, and you’ll find on all of Florida’s waterways boats and vessels. Unfortunately, boating accidents do occur, and when they do, severe injuries can follow.
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, get a personal injury lawyer at Meldon Law. Their expert team can help you file a personal injury lawsuit and fight for you to get the maximum compensation possible for your case.
Boating Accident Issues In Florida
One would think that with Florida having an almost endless coastline, the Keys, Everglades, and massive Lake Okeechobee, there would be strict laws and regulations about boating. With abundant boats all over the state, outsiders are usually shocked to learn that Florida doesn’t require a license for most vessels used for pleasure. There’s no required training at all. And yes, it does sound like an accident waiting to happen.
Although there are options for Florida boat owners to purchase insurance to cover them in the event of an accident that involves injuries, it’s not mandatory like it is for motor vehicles on the road. Florida is a no-fault state, and just like there are PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance policies for car owners, boat owners can also add this to their policies. The only difference is that it’s not a requirement for boat owners.
Like their land-based counterparts, those on Florida’s waterways have various reasons for causing accidents. Unfortunately, many of the state’s accidents have a common culprit, that being alcohol. No one should ever man a vessel under alcohol or drugs. Another commonality is human error. With no boating regulations regarding training, operator error is far too common.
Small craft collisions are more common than you may think. Even minor collisions with little to no damage can still injure boat occupants. The sudden jarring can cause soft tissue damage, such as whiplash or falling injuries. Boat occupants can fall overboard, and if they’ve been drinking alcohol, drowning could be a tragic reality.
Another common Florida boating accident occurs while towing a person or object. These accidents can injure waterskiers, kneeboarders, or tubers. These water activities require a person to be tethered to a boat moving at a relatively fast speed. An inexperienced water skier or boat operator can cause many types of accidents.
Although most believe that pontoons are incredibly safe to operate due to their slow speed, this isn’t true. Unfortunately, pontoons usually go hand-in-hand with partying, and accidents do happen. Pontoon occupants can easily fall off when sitting outside of the railings, and drivers sometimes hit boating piers, etc.
In the Sunshine State, just as you’d file a personal injury lawsuit for a car, truck, or motorcycle accident that caused injuries, the same applies to boating accidents. You must prove that the boat operator acted negligently and that, as a direct result, you were severely injured.
If the negligent party has insurance, it could make settlement negotiations easier. It’s the insurance company’s legal team’s responsibility to limit liability. Since lawsuits and trials can be both lengthy and costly, paying out a quick settlement is in their best interest. However, they may not offer you anywhere near the amount you should receive, so it’s better to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you’re not leaving any money on the table.
If the negligent party doesn’t have boating liability insurance, you’ll have to file a lawsuit directly against them. These cases can be tricky and should never be attempted without consulting with a personal injury attorney.
Florida’s waters can be dangerous, but sometimes it’s not the gators you need to worry about. Many small boat operators don’t have the experience to operate their watercraft safely. There’s no required training or licensing, which can open up the doors to mishaps and mistakes.
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Florida after seeking medical attention, it’s best to seek an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can best determine which strategy is the best for your situation to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.