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Facts You Should Know About Boating Accident Liability

If you’re hurt on the water, you should think about calling a boating accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

It’s summertime, and people are outside in droves after months of staying home and staying socially distant. Now, as doors are opening up, people are making up for lost time. They’re out playing with friends and doing things they love.

In Florida, that means spending time on the water. If you’re like a lot of Floridians, you love to get outside on a jet ski or cruise the channels with friends on a boat. 

However, people often underestimate just how many accidents happen on the water. Boating can be dangerous for several reasons including speeding, driving boats under the influence, poor safety markings, and other factors.

If you or someone you know is hurt in a boating accident, you may be dealing with the consequences for a long time. When boats collide at high speeds, the results can be terrifying. You may have to pay thousands of dollars in medical costs, miss time from work, and deal with trauma from the accident. 

A boating accident lawyer in Miami can help you with a personal injury case to win you compensation for your injuries. 

Let’s examine common issues in boating accident cases and how the right legal time can help.
What Happens in a Boating Accident & Assigning Liability with a Boating Accident Lawyer

It’s not surprising to learn that Florida typically leads the country when it comes to boating accidents. The conditions in the state make owning a boat easier than in most places, and the weather is always permitting. 

People move to the state and part of the quintessential Florida experience is buying a boat and getting out on the water. Accidents happen on everything from small boats to yachts. Cruise ship accidents are also common. 

Problems happen when people become too relaxed on their boats. They run into structures, fail to follow boating safety rules, and can even hit people on water skis or riding jet skis or run over scuba divers or people snorkeling.

Folks aren’t wearing safety belts, and may not always be wearing life vests. As a result, injuries are more likely. 
Factors that Lead to Boating Accidents

Boating accidents happen for a lot of reasons. It’s why authorities stress following safety regulations and maintaining awareness at all times while out on the water. Here are some of the common reasons that boating accidents happen:

Boating at Dangerous Speeds

We get it, going fast on a boat is fun. Problems arise, though, when people go too fast around other boats, bridges, buildings, or people. Boaters should always follow the posted speed limits and only give it a bit of gas when they’re in open water and no one else is around. If you want to see how accidents happen with speeding boats, all you have to do is go online to watch thousands of speeding boat bloopers. 

Boating Inexperience

Boating, especially around tight marinas and crowded waterways like we have in Florida is tough! And a lot of people in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West and other parts of the state don’t always have the experience they should. Getting out of a tricky situation with a boat can be much harder than, for example, a car. You’re dealing with weather conditions, unpredictable currents, and less maneuverability. There are also a lot of tourists that come from out of state and out of the country with little to no boating experience. 

Equipment Malfunctions

Just like you have to take your car into the shop for regular service, a boat needs constant attention as well. Maybe even more so with a boat because of what’s at stake. You need it to perform. There is no curb on the side of the road where you can pull over. Add to that the fact that many boat owners live out of state or only use it for some parts of the year, and malfunctioning equipment is a big possibility. 

Lack of Awareness

Perhaps the biggest cause of boating accidents, lack of awareness is a big threat to water safety. People are on boats with friends, music is playing, and a lot of other stuff is going on. They’re relaxed and not on their toes when it comes to what’s happening around them. They get too close to other boats or don’t notice posted warning signs, and the next thing you know, something bad happens. 

Boating Under the Influence

Alcohol and other substances, as you can imagine, lead to boating accidents. If you’re boating regularly in Florida, no doubt you’ve seen pretty good law enforcement presence on the water. Even with policing, a lot more people than you’d think are driving under the influence. 

These are just some of the reasons we see boating accidents. It’s important to call a boating accident lawyer with experience dealing with these issues. It will have a massive impact on getting you justice and the compensation you deserve for any injuries. 

A Boating Accident Lawyer Can Help Keep People Accountable

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s your fault when you get hurt in a boating accident. Too many people worry about being nice, and quickly offer up things like “Don’t worry about it” and “It’s OK I’ll be fine” when something happens on the water. 

There is a strong possibility you are in shock from what happened, and may not notice any injuries like neck fractures or shock until hours after the incident. 

With a boating accident lawyer, you can avoid all that and make sure to only take actions that will protect you and your family long-term. 

Here’s how an experienced boating accident lawyer will help:

Assigning Liability 

Finding people responsible for your injuries is, perhaps, the most important part of any boating accident personal injury case. You could be dealing with weeks or months of lost income while you recover, and there may be extensive medical costs down the road. 

A boating accident lawyer who specializes in this area of practice will know how to gather evidence and examine the details of what happened. They’ll look at things like:

  • Boat manufacturers
  • Local waterway authorities
  • Other boat owners
  • Cruise ship companies
  • Marina operators
  • Water equipment rental companies
  • & other parties

Finding out who is responsible for the injuries is a first step in getting you the damages you deserve. 

Dealing with Insurance Companies & Medical Providers

When someone gets hurt in a boating accident, the last thing they want to do is draft correspondence or deal with insurance providers on the phone. 
When you’re focused on the stress of recovery, it’s also easy to say or do the wrong thing. Other insurance providers will try to get you to mix up details of the accident, or say something wrong that can jeopardize your case.

With a seasoned boating accident lawyer, you can avoid all of that. They’ll tell you what to say and who to talk to. They can also direct you to the right medical providers to document your injuries in case things go to court. 

Negotiating Settlements

Your boating accident lawyer should have experience managing cases similar to yours. 

Armed with their experience, they can enter settlement negotiations with confidence to win you financial awards required to pay for medical recovery and pain and suffering as a result of the accident. 

A lot of times, liable parties and insurance companies offer victims fast settlements to make cases go away. It can be tempting to accept, but you should wait until your lawyer tells you that it is the right move. 

They will analyze your injuries and talk to medical experts on what to expect in terms of future medical costs. Factor that into the settlement, and you’re probably going to need much more than you think. 

Finding the Right Boating Accident Lawyer

There are a lot of lawyers, so how can you guarantee you can find the one that’s right for you?

You need to check the boxes to hire the right lawyer who will work closely with you to win your cases. Here are some things you should look for:

  • No-obligation consultations – You can find a qualified attorney who will speak to you with no fees up front. They’ll talk to you about the details of the accident and whether they think you have a winnable case. 
  • Read Reviews – Look at the reviews online and do some research on their firm before you go into the consultation. If their past clients had positive experiences, it’s a good indicator that they will serve your interests well.
  • Ask for Past Settlements – Ask for financial awards they won for clients in the past. They should have experience with similar cases and specialize in boating accident law.
  • Transparency – A good lawyer will be communicative and set realistic expectations. Personal injury cases can take months or even years, so you should go into any attorney-client relationship with a long-term view. 

With the right boating accident lawyer, you can hold the right people accountable and get the damages that will help you recover from injuries.

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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