Florida boasts some of the nation’s most beautiful, pristine and warm waters. Many residents own their own boats for recreational and business purposes. But what happens when you’re injured in a boat accident? Are you responsible for your own injuries, or can you get compensation from another party? While it’s always important to call a boating accident attorney if you’ve been involved in an accident on the water, the following is a brief overview of what you can expect.
Negligence, boating accidents and personal injury claims
If you were injured in a boating accident, you’ll probably file a personal injury claim. The claim could be against the boat owner or operator (if you were a passenger), another boat owner or operator or even the company that owns and operates the boats.
Negligence is one of the most common personal injury causes of action. There are four elements the plaintiff must prove: the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, they breached that duty and, as a result, the plaintiff suffered actual harm.
Boating accident negligence
There are many different types of boating accident negligence claims. Here are some of the most common types:
- Hitting another boat’s wake: Wake accidents are not always clear-cut, but hitting another boat’s wake can cause passengers to fall or be tossed overboard. The boat operator of either boat could be held liable, depending on the size of the wake, visibility, speed, boat traffic and whether the passengers were warned. Sometimes the owner of the other boat is to blame for the accident. Your boating accident attorney will examine all the possibilities and let you know what kind of legal options you may have.
- Hitting a wave: Waves are similar to boat wakes. If your boat operator negligently hit a wave, you may be able to file a claim against them.
- Collision with submerged item: Land, rocks and submerged objects can cause boat collisions. Even when an operator is navigating and piloting the boat carefully, you may still hit a submerged object. Whether the operator is considered to have been negligent will depend on the circumstances of the case.
- Inadequate safety protocol or equipment: Boat owners and operators are required to have adequate safety equipment on board. If an accident happens, they should be able to guide passengers through the situation, whether that means putting on a life vest or sending out flares to alert rescuers. While inadequate safety equipment won’t cause an accident, it can prove that the owner or operator was negligent.
If you enjoy being out on the open water, it may be prudent to do your own research about boat safety protocol and equipment. It will help keep you safe, no matter who is at the wheel. However, any time you’re injured in a boating accident, you should call an attorney. Boating accident attorneys can ensure that your medical bills and other expenses are covered while you recover from your injuries. To learn whether you have a valid claim, reach out to Ruben J. Padron, PA today.
Categorised in: Personal Injury Attorney