Enjoying Florida’s abundance of waterways, beaches, lakes and rivers is a top recreational pastime that is attracting more and more people to our shores. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in boating and boat related accidents, with the U.S. Coastguard’s 2012 report showing 662 accidents in Florida (the highest number of any state) resulting in 50 fatalities, 398 injuries and approximately $6,801,730 in property damage. With statistics like these, it’s more important than ever that you are aware of your personal injury rights should you be involved in an accident that was not your fault.
Common causes of boating accidents
While there are many reasons why an accident involving a boat may occur, here are the most common factors that personal injury lawyers deal with:
- Operating a boat while intoxicated (drugs or alcohol)
- Distracted while operating a boat
- Speeding excessively
- Lack of awareness – failing to notice other boats, people, objects, etc.
One or more of these contributing factors are often present in the event of a boating accident, whether it was a collision, flooding or capsizing. Your personal injury lawyer will examine all the evidence in order to conclude what the contributing factors were and who the responsible party or parties are. This will help to determine the level of compensation and whether punitive damages should be pursued.
What to do in the event of a boating accident
There are very strict laws and regulations set in place by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that have to be followed in the event of a boating accident. These include:
- Stopping the vessel immediately unless it would compromise someone’s safety
- Giving assistance to anyone injured
- In the event of a collision with another boat, all the operator’s details must be exchanged
- Reporting the accident to the police, the FFWCC law division or sheriff’s department if the accident has involved someone’s death, disappearance or injury (requiring medical treatment), or has caused more than $2,000 of property damage.
If you or a loved one are a victim of a boating accident and would like to pursue a personal injury case, it is vital that you contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that evidence can be collected and processed effectively. This will include medical evaluations, accident reconstructions, reports, witness testimony and more.
Contact Gloria Seidule today for leading advice on your boat accident case
At The Law Offices of Gloria Seidule, we value efficiency, knowledge and compassion. Our team is driven not only to fight for your legal rights, but also to give you the peace of mind and result that will help you move forward after a traumatic experience. Contact us and let Gloria Seidule evaluate your case – today.