How Liability Works in Boating Accidents
May 16, 2021
Florida is arguably the boating capital of the U.S. Unfortunately, that means the state is the location for many boating accidents. If you’re injured in a boating accident in Florida through no fault of your own, you may wish to pursue compensation for your injuries and resulting expenses, but who can you hold liable for your injuries and how do you go about asserting a boating accident claim?
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Some of the most frequent causes of boating accidents in Florida include:
- Operator distraction, which represents one of the most common causes of accidents. Operators can be distracted looking at their navigational chart, by texting or using their cell phone, or by chatting with other passengers on the boat.
- Operator inexperience. For people who are new to boating, they may not know how to react to sudden changes on the water or emergency situation. They also may not be fully familiar with navigational rules. This may lead inexperienced operators to make mistakes that put themselves and other boaters at risk for an accident.
- Negligence, including negligence by the operator or by other individuals on the boat designated as lookouts. Negligence may include failing to notice hazards on the water or potential storms or bad weather on the horizon.
- Intoxication from alcohol or drugs. Just as with cars, using alcohol or drugs when operating a boat will mean that your judgment, perception, and reaction time will all be impaired, potentially making you incapable of making proper decisions and taking proper actions to safely operate the boat.
- Speeding. Speeding on the water puts boat operators at risk of losing control of their craft. Speeding also means operators have less opportunity to react to emergencies.
- Poor maintenance. Improperly maintaining a watercraft puts operators and their passengers at risk of injury.
- Inadequate equipment. Boat operators should ensure that their craft has sufficient flotation devices and safety equipment for all passengers on board.
- Failure to follow boating laws and navigational rules. Not following boating and navigational rules means that others on the water cannot anticipate what a negligent boater is going to do, potentially putting everyone at risk for an accident.
- Bad weather. Weather on the water can change very quickly, so operators should review weather and boating forecasts before deciding to set sail.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Boating Accident
In most cases, a person who is injured in a boating accident may hold the operator of the boat that caused or was involved in the accident liable for the injured victim’s expenses and losses. For example, you can hold a boat operator responsible if their negligence leads to a collision between your craft and theirs. Or you may hold the operator of a boat that you were a passenger on accountable if you were injured in a capsize accident caused by the operator’s negligence.
You may also be able to hold a boat or part manufacturer liable if a boating accident is caused by design or manufacturing defects. The boat’s owner or mechanic may be liable for accidents caused by deferred or improperly performed maintenance.
Contact a Lake Worth Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Boating Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a boating accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. represent clients injured because of boating accidents in Miramar, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and throughout Florida. Call (561) 533-0345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 813 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460, as well as offices in Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.