Look across any body of water in the Sunshine State, and you will likely see people in sailboats, on Jet Skis, in motorboats, yachts or other watercraft enjoying the beautiful outdoors. With so many miles of coastland, intracoastal waterways and inland lakes, Florida is a boater’s paradise. On the other hand, it is also not surprising that this state leads the nation in the number of boating accidents each year.
Unfortunately, boats, personal watercraft and other recreational vessels can be far more dangerous than people using them may realize. Serious, sometimes catastrophic injuries can result.
At Heller & Heller, P.A., our lawyers are committed to helping victims understand their legal options. We represent clients in Coral Springs and Boca Raton and throughout Broward County who have been injured in boating accidents.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accident cases usually arise because of the negligent conduct of an individual or business. Just as motorists are expected to exercise a reasonable amount of care while driving, so are boaters supposed to operate their watercraft in a reasonable and prudent manner. Common accident scenarios include situations involving:
Speeding or other disregard for the “rules of the road” as they apply to the water
Ignorance or indifference to navigational rules
Impaired boating (boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
Failure to keep a lookout for a tuber or skier
Another type of harm may occur when a cruise boat operator allows an unsafe number of people onboard, resulting in an overloaded vessel.
Holding the Negligent Party Liable
The damages to which a boating accident victim may be entitled vary from case to case. They may include reimbursement for medical costs, compensation for lost wages or loss of future earning capacity, and damages for less tangible losses such as pain and suffering or a spouse’s loss of consortium. In wrongful death cases, certain family members may be entitled to specific forms of compensation, and the deceased person’s estate may be able to file suit for loss of net earnings and other damages.
Not all boating accidents are the result of a person’s negligence. Sometimes, it is the boat or a component of the boat that caused the injuries. If this is the case, the victim may choose to pursue a product liability action against the manufacturer, wholesaler or retail seller of the vessel. Product liability cases may be based on several theories, including defective design, manufacturing defect, failure to warn or breach of warranty.
Understand Your Rights and Take Action
Boat injury matters and other boating accident cases can be complex and dependent on the specific details of the situation. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping victims seek redress from those responsible for causing their harm. We work hard to make sure our clients are informed about their options at every step of the way and are part of the decision-making process. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 954-340-0037 or contact us online.