Know Your Rights if You Are Hurt in a Florida Boating Accident
With Florida’s nearly year-round summerlike weather, families often take to the open waters of Tampa Bay as well as local rivers and lakes on sailboats and other watercraft to enjoy fishing, waterskiing, and other recreational activities. Unfortunately, as pleasurable as it is to be out on a boat on a sunny day, it’s easy to forget that water vessels can do as much or more harm than an automobile when operated irresponsibly. When someone piloting a boat acts negligently or under the influence of alcohol, the results can be disastrous and lead to serious injury and even death.
Tampa-based Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group represents Floridians hurt in boat accidents and their survivors. Our boat accident attorneys are here to answer your legal and medical questions about boating injuries and help you determine whether and how to take legal action in the aftermath of an accident. We invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
What Typically Causes Florida Boating Accidents?
Boat pilots have the same responsibility as vehicle drivers on the road to avoid accidents. Every boat operator must follow the rules of watercraft operation to ensure the safety of everyone on board and in the vicinity. These include protocols that dictate how to safely use boat controls and equipment and how to pass another vessel. If a boat pilot violates watercraft rules and an accident results, a Florida court can hold them legally liable for paying damages for subsequent injury or death.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a boating accident is technically defined as any accident involving a watercraft that kills or injures a victim beyond the assistance of first-aid, causes the disappearance of a person, or causes damage to a boat or other personal property.
The Coast Guard lists the following as the common causes of most accidents:
- Boat operator inexperience
- Traveling at excessive speeds, failing to follow watercraft regulations, failing to maintain a proper lookout, and other careless boat operation
- Boat operator alcohol consumption
- Weather conditions
Cabin cruisers, runabouts, and jet skis are involved in more accidents than sailboats and schooners, often related to steering issues. Victims are usually injured from collisions between two vessels or between a vessel and other objects, or contact with spinning propellers.
Your Legal Rights if You Are Injured in a Florida Boat Accident
As a boat accident victim, you have the right under Florida law to recover compensation for monetary damages associated with your injuries or the death of a family member. Working on your behalf, we could bring a case against multiple parties to ensure you are sufficiently compensated for your damages. Potentially responsible defendants could include the operator of the boat you were injured on, the operator of the vessel that collided with your boat, the boat manufacturer (for defects in the design or construction of the boat), or any party whose negligence caused your injuries or property damage.
Consult a Respected Florida Boat Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one was hurt in a boat accident, the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group will leave no stone unturned in building your case and pursuing your financial recovery. We will seek every relevant piece of evidence including video records, accident history for the boat and/or pilot, police reports, litigation history for commercial boat operators or the boat maker, disciplinary reports, and other information.
We urge you to contact our office today so we can begin working on getting you and your family the compensation you deserve.