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Who Is Liable In A Florida Boating Accident?


As of 2020, the state of Florida boasts the highest number of boat registrations in the United States, and it is easy to see why – relatively nice weather all year round, and miles of waterways suitable to sail on. However, accidents do happen, and injuries from a Florida boating accident can be just as severe as anything one might experience in a vehicle crash. If you have been so unfortunate as to be involved in a boat accident, and it was allegedly caused by another boater’s negligent behavior, you may be able to file suit against them and recover money damages.

Complex Injuries & Accidents

Data from Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission show that in 2020, 836 reportable boating accidents occurred, which means that a person was either severely injured, killed, winds up missing in a manner that suggests death or injury, or a vessel was totally lost, or at least $2,000 in aggregate damages was caused. Around 80 fatalities occurred, of which nearly half were due to falls overboard, and 534 injuries were recorded. Alcohol or drug use played a notable role, registering as a factor in roughly one-quarter of the fatalities listed.

One can assume that some of those fatalities or injuries might have been caused by the person’s own behavior or by tragic accident – but it is also possible that another person’s negligence played a role. The driver might have been distracted or inexperienced; they could have been speeding, or using alcohol or drugs while operating the boat. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident that occurred due to another person’s negligence, it may be worth it to explore your options for receiving monetary compensation from them.

Different Type of Law

If you have been injured in a boating accident, and want to file suit, there are two things of which it is important to be aware: (1) that Florida’s no-fault insurance laws do not apply to boats, only to four-wheeled vehicles; and (2) if your accident occurred on a public waterway, you may not file suit under Florida law – rather, you must file a claim under federal admiralty jurisdiction. What this means is that you need to find an attorney who is well versed in the standards of admiralty law so that you can ensure your claim is brought appropriately.

Regardless of which law one must bring their case under, the fundamental principles apply – if a court finds that the defendant has been negligent, they will be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries (or their loved ones, in the event of a wrongful death). Depending on the specific situation, you may even be able to recover for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering or mental anguish. While every case is different, particularly if one must be brought under admiralty law jurisdiction, some things remain the same.

Contact A Tampa Boating Accident Attorney

Boating can be an enjoyable and relaxing activity, particularly at a time when there are fewer places that are safe to go outdoors. If you have been injured on the water because of someone else’s negligent behavior, though, you have the right to contact a Tampa personal injury attorney to try and recover for the harm you have suffered. The Rinaldo Law Group can try to answer your questions and manage your concerns. We are happy to try and assist you. Call us today for a free consultation.



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