Boat Accident Attorney
in Palm Bay
Let our injury lawyers help you file suit against the negligent party
The recent global pandemic led Floridians to venture outside and flock to socially-distanced activities in outdoor settings. Not only did locals start gardens and go hiking, but they also took the state’s lakes and coastline. Experienced and novice boaters navigated local waterways in record numbers. With the increase in boaters came an increase in boating accidents. In 2020 Florida reported its highest number of deadly boating accidents in 10 years.
Florida boat accidents spiked recently
Boating accidents in Florida sharply rose 21 percent from 2019 to 2020. Experts believe the recent spike is directly correlated to a sudden increase in inexperienced boaters venturing onto the waters. The leading cause of death in Florida boating accidents was falling overboard and drowning. In 88 percent of accidents in which a boat occupant drowned, the victims were not wearing a life jacket. In nearly half of Florida’s boat collisions, boat operators failed to maintain a proper lookout or were otherwise distracted. Drinking and boating also contributed to the number of boat accidents reported in the Sunshine State in 2021.
Part of what keeps waterways safe is universal compliance with navigational rules. A sudden, sharp increase in the number of boaters who lack training or who are inexperienced means the waterways become less predictable for everyone. Experienced boaters and those who carefully follow the rules must exercise extra caution and look out for boats that do not adhere to the rules. A properly-trained boat operator understands admiralty law, navigation rules, and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Distracted boat operators
It is easy to get distracted while operating a boat. People who go out on the water socially may become distracted by other people who are on the boat. In addition to actively watching the water, boat operators must also pay attention to the weather, advisory warnings, and the boat itself.
Excessive speed in boat accidents
Similar to roadways, most waterways have speed limits to help boats share the water safely. People sometimes exceed the speed limit intentionally when boating for fun. Others may operate boats at excessive speeds due to inexperience or lack of familiarity with the rules. In both cases, speeding on the water increases the likelihood of an accident taking place by reducing the opportunity to react safely if a hazardous situation arises.
DUI-related boating accidents
Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is simply unsafe. Nevertheless, people sometimes mix alcohol and drugs in an effort to enhance their boating experience. Not only do alcohol and drugs impair judgment, but a boat operator who is under the influence will also likely have an impaired reaction time. People are also less likely to follow safety rules and properly wear their life jackets when they are under the influence.
Responding to water hazards
Boat operators cannot control the water itself. However, they must know how to respond safely in the event of unsafe conditions. Sometimes a boat operator may need to avoid a potential hazard or be mindful of advisory warnings. Failure to do so may unnecessarily endanger everyone on board.
Boating safety and weather conditions
It is the boat operator’s responsibility to check the weather forecast prior to going on the water. Even if the sky appears clear and sunny, severe weather may be out of view just beyond the horizon. Inexperienced boaters are more likely to be unaware of how quickly bad weather can develop on an otherwise clear day.
Filing an injury claim
Under Florida law, people who become injured as a result of someone else’s negligent conduct may qualify to file a claim for compensation. Boat accident injuries can range from relatively minor to very severe. In some cases, boating accidents cause death. In these cases, the injured party’s family may file a claim on their family member’s behalf.
Types of compensation for boating accident injuries
People who are injured in a boating accident may receive compensation for their medical expenses. Injuries that cause lingering pain or are more severe in nature typically require follow-up visits and medication. Broken bones and soft tissue injuries may require medical supplies like splints, canes, crutches, and braces. People who have more severe injuries may need ongoing physical therapy or rehab. If the injured party misses work due to the injury, he or she may receive compensation for lost wages. Accident victims may receive compensation for pain and suffering or loss of consortium if the accident caused loss of a limb, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or other major changes in quality of life. If the accident caused the injured party’s death, the victim’s family may receive compensation for related medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of the individual’s financial support for the household.
Receiving medical attention
In the event of a boat accident, the first thing all involved parties should do is immediately receive a medical checkup. Even those who do not believe they are injured should receive a checkup. Similar to car accidents, boat accident injuries are not always easily detectible immediately after the accident takes place. An exam will allow a medical professional to rule out internal injuries that may not be readily seen or felt by the individual. Receiving immediate medical attention may also mitigate injuries that may otherwise become worse over time if left untreated.
Contacting a Palm Bay boat accident lawyer
Aside from receiving a medical exam, contacting a Palm Bay boat accident lawyer should be your second priority. Your attorney will help you receive all the medical exams and treatments you will need to properly document your injuries. A Palm Bay accident attorney can advocate on your behalf and face the other party’s insurance company. When you enlist the help of a boat accident lawyer, you will have an experienced, trained legal professional fighting for your rights.
Let our Palm Bay accident lawyer represent you while you focus on healing. Call us today to receive a free case evaluation.