Are Boating Accidents Similar To Car Accidents?
As summertime comes around in Florida, more and more people come out and about to enjoy the weather. More vehicles are on the roads, and more boats (and other watercraft) are on the water. However, with more people on the roads and waterways unfortunately comes a higher amount of accidents. If you are involved in a boating accident that you suspect was due to another person’s negligence, your situation in terms of recovery money damages will be similar to what it would be if your accident happened on the road.
More Boating Accidents, Fewer Vehicle Crashes
There are approximately 1.01 million watercraft registered in Florida in 2020, which is among the highest state totals. However, Florida has also consistently ranked at the top or near the top in terms of total number of boating accidents – in 2020, the state’s total of 804 accidents was far and away the most, with California a distant second with 493. Comparatively, Florida ranked third in the number of fatal road accidents, behind California and Texas.
The most common overall causes of boating accidents are very similar to those which cause road crashes, including distracted driving, operating a boat or car under the influence of drugs or alcohol, operator incompetence, faults in the vehicle or its constituent parts, and speeding, among other events. However, drivers in Florida must pass a driving test, and there are incentives to keep a good driving record. Boaters in the Sunshine State are not required to be licensed – anyone born after January 1, 1988 must complete an approved boating safety course, but sometimes this is not enough.
If You Have Been Injured
If you have been involved in a boating accident, you have the right to seek damages for any injuries you believe you have sustained due to another person’s negligence. Unlike in the event of a vehicle accident, personal injury protection insurance does not apply to boating crashes – the relevant statute states that no-fault insurance in Florida only covers vehicles with four wheels – meaning that you have the right to file suit against the (allegedly) negligent defendant to try and recover your costs.
Keep in mind that just like with a vehicle accident, there may be multiple potential defendants that could bear liability for your accident. For example, a boat’s owner who allowed an inexperienced person to operate their boat, or a passenger who interfered with the proper driving of the boat, causing it to strike something – it is very common to have cases involving more than one defendant. Having an experienced attorney at your side can ensure that your case starts out right – and hopefully, ends just as well.
Call A Tampa Boating Accident Attorney
Florida’s weather can lead to good times for the whole family, but if you are not careful, life-changing injuries can also happen. If you have been hurt in a boat crash, contacting an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can be what you need to get through the legal process. Call our office today for a free consultation.