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Boating Accidents

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One of the reasons that we love Florida so much is of course the sun, beaches, and activities like boating along the Gulf of Mexico. However, just because we’re having fun in the sun, doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen. We know that automobile accidents are a very stressful event that many of us have either experienced, or are well aware of, but what about accidents that happen on the open water?  If you are a boat owner or are someone who enjoys a relaxing boat ride with some friends, it’s important to be educated about the dangers of boating, and what can happen if/when you get into an accident. Who is at fault, and how can you go about getting compensation?

Thankfully, the rules of accidents apply on the seas pretty much the same way they apply on land. This means that if a person is injured due to a boating accident, they may be eligible for compensation. Although, in order to qualify for eligibility, a party must be found to be at least partially responsible for the accident. Usually these accidents are caused by negligence from one of the boaters due to either intoxication, drowsiness, or even general carelessness. Of course, like any normal auto accident, we strongly recommend that a report be filed immediately after the accident occurs, as well as seeking any emergency medical treatment. If possible, also attempt to take photos at the scene of the accident for further proof.

According to United States Coast Guard Boating safety, some of the most seen boating accidents include: 

  • Collision with recreational vessel
  • Collision with fixed object
  • Flooding/Swamping
  • Grounding
  • Falling overboard

Contributing factors to those accidents consist of:

  • Alcohol/ Drug use
  • Excessive speed
  • Inadequate onboard navigation lights
  • Improper anchoring
  • Congested waters

In the case where a person might not be at fault, It is not uncommon that manufacturers of the boat may be held partly liable for the accident. If the boat has any unknown damage or mechanical issues, the company could have a case for negligence. This is also why it’s important to regularly examine your boat for any new damage or issues before you decide to go out on the water.

Depending on where you live, boating laws and regulations can differ, so be familiar with the laws that your state enforces. Here in FL, all boats must be registered and properly marked and documented. It’s also against the law to operate a water vessel while impaired or under the influence, which would be a breath-alcohol level at or above .08%.  As a boat owner/operator, it’s also your responsibility by law, to always store proper safety equipment, and to make sure there are life vests for each person aboard.  (BoaterExam).  

In any instance where there is a boating accident and a person is injured, the responsible party is liable to be held accountable for said accident. Whether it be due from carelessness or mechanical failure, It’s important to be educated about boat safety, and ensure that all passengers on the boat are aware of safety precautions while aboard. Following all necessary rules and regulations could save multiple lives while sailing along the open waters. If you or someone you know is injured in a boating accident, then it is a great idea to have a lawyer on your side who is fluent in local law and is able to help fight to see your justice served on both land and sea. To learn more about how the attorneys at the Franco Law Firm can help your boating accident case, please call us at (813) 872-0929.

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