Florida Boat Accident Lawyer
Located in Orlando, Ocala, Daytona, Melbourne, Tampa, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Naples, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale & West Palm Beach
Nothing ruins a vacation like an unexpected accident. When one happens, a day at the beach can turn into a trip to the ER, or worse. In Florida, many of these unfortunate accidents occur on or near water. While both the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Gulf can seem busy at times, they aren’t regulated very rigidly. With all of the boats, jet skis, and personal watercrafts moving around in different directions and at different speeds, it’s no surprise that collisions occur on occasion. Other times, accidents occur when individuals rent or buy defective water vehicles, or receive inadequate safety education prior to use. In any accident scenario, when injuries occur and a party is at fault, there are legal options to consider. Don’t let an already derailed vacation get even worse with medical bills, lost income from missed work, and pain and suffering. Reach out to an experienced Florida boat & jet ski accident lawyer to act on the legal options available in the aftermath of your boating, jet ski, or personal watercraft accident. Our Florida boat accident lawyers have offices in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.
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Top Five Causes of Boating Accidents in Florida
No other state even comes close to Florida in terms of boating accidents, injuries, fatalities, and the financial cost of collisions, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. In fact, Florida recreational watercraft users experienced 671 serious boating accidents in 2015. Of those accidents, 390 people were severely wounded and 52 were killed. Property damage, totalling $9.8 million, resulted from 348 of those collisions. The top five types of accidents are collisions with recreational vehicles, collisions with fixed objects, flooding and/or swamping of the boat, grounding, and skier, wakeboarder, or tuber accidents. The following are the top three causes of boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Operator inattention — It may come as little surprise that the leading cause of motor vehicle collisions is also the leading cause of boating accidents. When many people take to the water, their mind quickly switches into play mode and forgets that they are operating a highly powered, dangerous vehicle that can take the life of seriously injure others if they are not careful. Just as with driving on the road, all boaters must give one another a high duty of respect and care. Those who violate that duty and cause injury to others will be held accountable in a court of law. We will ensure that our clients are financially compensated appropriately for their property and injury losses.
- Operator inexperience — Driving a fast and squirrely jet ski may be over the heads of many beginners. That does not excuse the fact that they caused you injury. All boaters must take responsibility for their abilities on the water, and if they were unable to appropriately maneuver their watercraft, they should not have put themselves in that position. If you were hit or injured by someone who claims that they simply did not know what they were doing and it was an accident, that is a poor apology and in no way an acceptable excuse to get off the hook, financially, for the damages that they caused.
- Improper lookout — Traffic comes from the front, behind, and to both sides when operating a water vessel; there are no painted lines to follow and a strict flow of traffic. Because of this, it is important for all larger watercraft to have a lookout. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, an improper lookout is “the failure of the operator to perceive danger because no one was serving as lookout, or the person so serving failed in that regard. Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”
Alcohol may only be the sixth leading contributing factors to boating accidents, but it is quite easily the most preventable. There were 30 serious boating accidents, 21 injuries, and 11 fatalities within Florida caused by alcohol alone in 2015. Alcohol affects boaters more than drivers because of marine environments such as engine noise, sun, wind, spray, vibration, and motion, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Negligence Is a Common Cause of Boating, Jet Ski, and Personal Watercraft Accidents in Florida
It is infrequent that a boating, jet ski or personal watercraft accident is caused by an intentional act or ill will. Typically, everyone in the water is in good spirits enjoying a day in the sun. So, when something goes wrong, it’s usually unintended. Still, just because someone unintentionally causes an accident, it doesn’t mean they can’t be held responsible for it.
This is where the legal doctrine of negligence comes into play. The doctrine of negligence rests on the unwritten agreement that human beings living together in society owe one another a duty of care. This duty can require us to act in certain ways, or to refrain from acting in certain ways. When an individual fails to honor this duty, and that failure causes injuries to another human being, the individual can be required by a court of law to pay compensation to the injured party. For example, if you are peacefully drifting in your personal watercraft in the ocean off Palm Beach, and a jet ski operated by an intoxicated college student runs into you out of nowhere, thereby injuring your person and/or property, you will have a claim for damages under the doctrine of negligence. Contact our Florida jet ski accident lawyers for more information.
Florida Products Liability
Besides negligence, another basis for a legal claim arising out of a boat, jet ski, or personal watercraft accident is products liability. Just as we as individuals have a duty not to harm our fellow human beings, the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products in our marketplace have a duty to ensure that these products are safe for ordinary use. If a boat sinks due to faulty design, or if a defective jet ski propeller blade unexpectedly detaches and slashes an unsuspecting swimmer during ordinary use of the jet ski, there exists a basis for bringing a products liability claim against all parties in the retail chain of the defective product.
What To Do If You Have Been Involved In A Boating, Jet Ski, or Personal Watercraft Accident in Florida
Has your Florida fun been ruined by an unexpected accident while boating, or using a jet ski, or personal accident? If your injuries were sustained as the result of a collision with an irresponsible water vehicle enthusiast, a defective water vehicle, or inadequate safety instruction, you may have a legal claim to obtain compensation for past medical bills, future medical treatment, lost income from missed work, and pain is suffering. To understand your legal options, reach out today to an experienced Florida boating, jet ski, and personal watercraft injury lawyer.
Contact our Experienced Florida Boat Accident Lawyers Today
The Pendas Law Firm – one of Florida’s most prominent in the area of personal injury – provides precisely the highly effective and experienced lawyers needed to handle boating, jet ski and personal watercraft related personal injury claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to learn how we can serve you in this time of need. The Pendas Law Firm has offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, and is dedicated to serving the community with its highly effective and experienced team of lawyers.