Accidents On Florida Waters
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Floridians must continue to find activities to enjoy themselves without putting other people at risk unnecessarily. Boating can be an enjoyable time, but it is important to keep in mind that it can be hazardous if the appropriate amount of care is not used. Boating accidents can cause serious injury, and if you are injured due to the negligence of another boater, you may have a claim against them for the harm you suffered.
Accidents Are Common
Unlike Florida’s roads and the vehicles that drive on them, boats and their operators are not tightly regulated. Florida is one of the few states that does not require a boating license, but anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 must take and pass a boating safety class, and have a boating education ID card before they are able to operate any boat with an engine of more than 10 horsepower. Given that Florida is the state with the highest number of boats registered, the lack of certification required and the traffic contribute to an elevated number of accidents every year.
There are several different potential causes that can lead to a boating accident; one of the most common is alcohol or other substance abuse, though others include reckless behavior like ignoring posted signs, particularly speeding, and distracted driving. Not every boating accident is ‘reportable’ – meaning an accident where a fatality, a disappearance indicating a fatality, an injury requiring more than first aid, or over $2,000 in property damages occurs – but regardless of whether it shows up in statistics, every boating accident has the capacity to cause injury and inconvenience.
If you are involved in a boating accident with an (allegedly) negligent operator, there are certain rules that the operator must follow. They must provide their name and contact information to anyone injured in a crash, as well as rendering aid, and remaining at the scene of any crash and complying with law enforcement. If they have an elevated blood alcohol level, law enforcement can take appropriate action, but the operator must consent to having it tested.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations after a boating accident versus a car accident can be different. The laws of the state of Florida specify a four-year time limit for actions based in negligence, but many boating accidents occur in waters that do not fall under the state’s jurisdiction. These accidents come under maritime law, which has a three-year time limit for injury cases. Be aware where your accident occurred, and act accordingly.
Contact A Tampa Boating Accident Attorney
Boating can be a fun, relaxing time during a stressful period. However, it is not without its dangers, and if you are injured, it can change your life. If you have been in a Tampa personal injury accident, the experienced attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are ready and willing to try and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Call our offices today for a free consultation.