Florida’s abundance of coastline and waterways provide endless opportunities for recreation but also presents significant dangers. Boating accidents, such as collisions, drowning, or other injuries, can occur for a variety of reasons, including driver inexperience, intoxication, unfavorable water or weather conditions, poor boat maintenance, equipment defects and failures, and poor planning. At the Miami personal injury law firm of Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, our dedicated team of injury lawyers has decades of experience handling all types of boat crashes, jet ski accidents, cruise ship slip-and-falls and more.What Are Boaters’ Responsibilities?
The owner of a boat and its operator must exercise great caution to prevent injuries to passengers, swimmers, or others in the surrounding area. This includes any type of vessel, such as ferries, cruise ships, power boats, sailboats, jet skis, canoes and kayaks. Owners and operators are expected to follow boating safety rules, take necessary precautions to avoid accidents and injuries, make sure the vessel is properly maintained and carries all appropriate safety equipment, and be careful around swimmers and other boaters.Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Florida does not require any boating instruction or education, and many people who operate watercraft don’t have any training in operating the vessel or following navigation rules and safety laws, which often leads to accidents. Not surprisingly, operator inexperience is one of the leading causes of boating accidents. Other common causes of boating accidents include the following:
- Operating under the influence of alcohol,
- Failure to keep a lookout,
- Inattentive or distracted operators,
- Equipment defects, and
- Excessive speed.
In terms of the types of boating accidents, the most common include the following:
- Colliding with other vessels or submerged objects;
- Excessive speed;
- Towable device mishaps;
- Falling overboard or into a vessel;
- Sinking, capsizing, or running aground;
- Fires or explosions;
- Being struck by a boat or propeller; and
- Carbon monoxide poisoning from boat exhausts and faulty systems.
For a boating accident to be classified as “reportable” in Florida, it must involve a person’s death, a person’s disappearance in circumstances that suggest possible death or injury, an injury requiring medical treatment, or more than $2,000 in property damages. However, if you are in doubt about whether an accident was reportable, it’s always better to make the report. There are deadlines imposed in filing personal injury claims, so it is important to contact a boating attorney as soon as possible.Boating Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained can be as minor as bumps and bruises that heal quickly or as severe as broken bones, lacerations, or brain or spinal cord injuries. Some injuries can even be fatal. A severe injury can be life-altering, requiring expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, or even cause permanent disability. These extensive injuries can financially devastate families. If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in a boating, yachting, or personal watercraft accident, you need to seek compensation to help you pay for expenses and to help recover, and the experienced Miami boat accident lawyers at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. can help you do this.Reach Out to a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney With Specific Experience Handling Boating Accidents
Proving responsibility for a boating accident can be a complex and difficult process. In many cases, these cases involve maritime law, which is very different from other personal injury laws. In fact, few attorneys specialize in maritime law due to its complexity. If you or a loved one was injured in a Florida boating accident, contact the South Florida law offices of Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, toll-free at (877) 448-8585, or complete our online form for a free consultation in English, Spanish, or Creole. We have extensive experience in handling boating injury cases in Miami and across South Florida, and we can help you protect your legal rights and hold any negligent parties responsible for your injuries including financial losses and pain and suffering.