Boating Accidents In Florida Waters
As Florida’s summer weather heats up, many are turning to boating as a way to social distance and beat the heat. However, not every boater understands the potential risks that being on the water can carry. If you are involved in an accident on Florida’s waterways, you need to understand your own rights and responsibilities as well as those of other boaters. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
Just as with automobile accidents, there are countless potential causes of boat crashes. Some of the most common include reckless or negligent driving, poor weather conditions, operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driver aggression. However, perhaps the most common underlying cause for all of these is driver inexperience. Florida, despite having such a vibrant boating culture, does not require licensure or currently have an age requirement to operate a boat (though those born after January 1, 1988 must complete boating safety course before they can proceed). This can lead to many boaters who simply do not know the rules and regulations in force on Florida’s waterways.
While a significant number of injuries do occur due to overuse of alcohol or drugs – for example, boat passengers falling out of the boat or the operator colliding with a fixed object or with other vessels – other types may happen due to simple negligence. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a boat operator or another passenger, filing suit requires being able to show that the person failed to exercise due care toward you and others, and that their breach of duty of care directly led to your injuries, without any other intervening cause.
Federal vs. State Jurisdiction
One important thing to keep in mind after a boating accident is that if your accident occurs on a public waterway, it may fall under the jurisdiction of federal admiralty law, rather than state law. Admiralty law is a subset of federal law, and requires different procedures and standards than a standard Florida negligence claim. If this turns out to be the case in your accident, any attorney you hire must be well versed in admiralty law and be admitted to practice in federal court, or your case will be stalled from the beginning.
In addition, this holds true for any type of water conveyance. Jet skis and other recreational watercrafts can cause accidents in the same manner as a boat can, and depending where the accident takes place, the same admiralty rules might conceivably apply. Regardless of reason or location, the injuries you suffered in your accident are no doubt severe, and you need an experienced ear to guide you through what can be a confusing legal process.
Contact A Tampa Boating Accident Lawyer
Boating is a great way to spend time outside, but not everyone is as careful as they should be while doing it. If you have been injured in a boating accident on Florida’s waterways, calling a Tampa personal injury attorney is a good first step toward seeking compensation. Contact the offices of the Rinaldo Law Group today for a free consultation.