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    Water Sports Accidents Attorney in Orlando

    Water sports accidents are very dangerous and are often fatal. Every year, thousands of people get hurt on the water when someone else is reckless or negligent. If you or someone you love is in a water sports accident, talk to a lawyer specialized in these cases and get the compensation you deserve.

    We’re all so lucky to live in Florida. Whether you’re in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Key West or Tampa, there’s something for everyone. It’s no wonder people are coming to Florida in droves. People are not only visiting, but moving to Florida in large numbers.  And with good reason: over 1,350 miles of coastline, and some of the worlds best beaches and pristine water.

    One of the best things about Florida is the access to pristine waters and great weather. All year, you can find people out enjoying a variety of water sports.

    It’s nice when everyone is out having a good time in the sun, but access to great waters and more people moving in every year can add up to trouble. Sometimes the water gets crowded, or people don’t know what they are doing, and something bad happens.

    A lot can happen in water sports accidents. There’s property damage (boats, jet skis, marinas, etc.) and personal injuries. People break and lose limbs, suffer traumatic brain injuries, and drown.

    Imagine, one moment you’re flying in the air parasailing on a beautiful sunny day, and the next moment you’re hurling toward the water at high speeds. Think concussion, broken legs, or worse. It happens all the time.

    Finding a Water Sports Accident Attorney

    When the dust clears after water sports accidents, it’s time to assess the damage. Sure, people are worried about a scratched boat, but what about the person who can’t go to work for six months because of an injury?

    A water sports accident attorney is your best option for winning compensation for your injuries. They will pursue the money you need to cover medical and other costs.

    Of course, getting medical help for serious water injuries is the most important thing. When you have time, though, you should start contacting a water sports accident attorney to discuss your personal injury case.

    Here’s how you should conduct your search:

    Find a Team with Water Sports Accidents Experience

    Don’t put your life and your financial stability at risk. Avoid in the hands of someone who has never dealt with your type of case. Find a team with experience in water sports injuries or death cases. They’ll know the process and what it takes to win either a proper settlement or prove your case in front of a judge.

    Ask About What You Can Expect

    Setting expectations is a big part of managing your personal injury case after an accident. A good lawyer will know how long your case may take and talk to you about milestones along the way.

    Find a No-Obligation Consultation

    Most quality legal teams will offer a free, no-obligation consultation to hear what happened and discuss whether you have a case. They’ll talk to you about your next steps and what you should do to win the compensation you need. With a plan, you put yourself in a better position to pursue damages.

    Read Up On Them

    Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to separate the best attorneys from the rest. You can read online reviews, visit their websites, and do general online searches to read up on their track records. Choose a proven legal team in the area. The stakes are too high when your health and your family are on the line.

    When Boating Accidents Happen

    What conditions lead to boating accidents? While being on the water is all about fun, sometimes things go too far, and things become unsafe. A lot of boaters have alcohol onboard, or people buy equipment they don’t know how to operate.

    With all of the people flooding into Florida, you’ll see more inexperienced boaters on the water. They often take chances they shouldn’t and push the boundaries too far.

    When boats collide or hit someone on another vessel or skis, it’s usually because someone broke the rules. They exceeded the speed limit, crossed into someone else’s path, or swerved abruptly.

    Sometimes equipment fails, and people run into walls, piers, or fall out of parasailing rigs.

    Who Is Liable in Water Sports Accidents?

    You and your family are out on the water in Orlando water skiing, and everything seems perfect. The sun is out, the water is sparkling, and the music is playing in the background. It’s a tough day to beat.

    Suddenly, another boat traveling at high speeds crosses your wake and collides with the person you’re pulling. The person hit goes to the hospital. What now?

    When someone else acts recklessly or negligently, they are liable. They need to pay damages in any water sports accidents that are the direct result of their actions.

    There are a lot of potentially liable parties in any water sports accident. It all depends on what happened and why. Here are some possibilities:

    Individual Boat Operators

    Most personal injury cases related to water sports accidents relate to negligence or irresponsibility of individual boat owners. They run into people and other boats or fixed objects (like docks) and cause injuries and death. Sometimes they don’t know what they’re doing, have no proper license or certification, or they were drinking too much.

    Water Sports Companies

    What about if you get hurt when you pay a company for some type of water sports activity? In Orlando, there are a lot of companies that will take you water skiing, parasailing, rent you jet skis, or kite surfing. There are a lot of sports to play, and all of them should be reasonably safe.

    When they fail to live up to their legal standard of care, they are liable for any injuries.

    Equipment Manufacturers

    Water sports often happen at high speeds, so they require equipment that is up to the task. If your equipment fails when using it properly, you can pursue damages from the manufacturer to pay for any medical costs, pain and suffering, or other costs related to the accident.

    Waterway Authorities

    The authorities may be on the hook as well if they fail to post proper signage and otherwise maintain any water sports areas. A lot of people are hurt when they go into places they shouldn’t or are unaware of the presence of other water vehicles.

    What Water Sports Accidents Lawyers Will Do

    As you pursue a personal injury case after any water sports accidents, you need to know what to expect from your lawyer.

    If you’re dealing with an injury that stops you from going to work, staying at home fuming all day can erode your patience. Here’s what a good lawyer will be doing for you while you’re healing up.

    Notifying & Managing Insurance Companies

    They’ll talk to your insurance company and the other parties’ insurance companies to let them know what happened and what they should expect. Experienced water sports accidents attorneys know how to deal with insurance companies and what constitutes a fair settlement.

    Negotiate Settlements

    What’s a fair settlement? Your lawyer will know. Too often, people take the first settlement offer that comes their way. It’s easy to understand why. If you’re out of work because of an injury, a check is hard to refuse. Count on your lawyer to know when the amount is fair. You will be dealing with injuries today and in the future, so don’t sell yourself short.

    Investigate Your Case Thoroughly

    A skilled water sports attorney will engage a team of investigators, lawyers and paralegals to investigate and preserve evidence, find witnesses, dig into backgrounds, seek out any photos or video evidence that may exist (and may get destroyed if you don’t act quickly) and preserve all critical evidence.  They will know the best approaches to developing the case and fending off legal hurdles that exist in boating and water sports cases.. There are obscure legal defenses available to defendants in maritime (water sports and boating) cases, such as federal laws like the Limitation of Liability Act and other statutes.

    Prepare to Argue Your Case in Court

    Water sports accidents may or may not be clear-cut cases. People often know when they’ve messed up but rarely admit their mistakes.  Then when their insurance company and their lawyers get involved, you get a completely different story. This is why you need an experienced and skilled water sports and boating attorney who has the experience, skill, and strength to take on any defendant. Your lawyer should have experience arguing cases in court and prepare to go to court if need be.

    What To Do After a Boating Accident

    What you do after a water sports accident is crucial. Here’s what you need to know:

    Stay safe – Many boating accidents happen when people respond quickly and act erratically. Don’t, for instance, jump overboard to help someone when other boats are moving around. Make sure conditions are safe before you act.

    Never admit fault – Don’t apologize or even discuss what happened with the other boaters. Doing so can put you at risk of a lawsuit and seriously impair your ability to seek damages.

    Gather evidence – Take pictures and video of any damage and witnesses. Take a snapshot of other boats around you. Solicit witness contact information for your lawyer. All of this will help your case.

    Seek medical attention – Sometimes boating injuries are clear, but other times they take a while to show up. People who suffer concussions, for example, can have delayed symptoms. Go to the hospital after an accident to be safe and document any injuries.

    Report the accident – Boaters must report most accidents to police according to federal guidelines. Report it as quickly as you can.

    Talk to the team at Leighton Panoff Law to hear about how we can help you after a water sports accident. We have successfully handled many catastrophic water sports and boating accidents in Orlando and throughout Florida. Most of these were cases where the victims never had a chance. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your case!


    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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