Boating is one of the more popular recreational activities here in Florida, and while it can be fun to get out on the water, there are also potential dangers involved. You could end up in a boating accident involving just the boat you’re in or multiple boats.
If you’ve been in a boating accident, it may be in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney. Here’s what you need to know about boating accidents and when an attorney can help.
Common Types of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents cover a wide range of situations that could occur in a boat. Some of the most common types of boating accidents include:
- Crashes involving multiple boats
- Crashes involved one boat and a fixed object
- Falling overboard off a moving boat
- A boat striking someone in the water
A boating accident can cause considerable damages. You could suffer injuries from a boating accident or have your property damaged. If there are any damages due to a boating accident, then just like with a car accident, whoever is liable for the accident is legally responsible for paying for the damages.
Determining Liability for a Boating Accident
Liability in a boating accident depends on who the negligent party was. There are many potential causes of boating accidents, with speeding and reckless operation of the boat being some of the most common. Because alcohol is often a big part of boating trips, impairment is another reason accidents happen. There’s also inexperience, failure to pay attention to one’s surroundings and mechanical issues with the boat.
Although it may seem like liability in a boating accident is cut and dry, it’s often a significant challenge to figure out who was at fault. Negligence in a crash, especially if the crash involved two or more boats, can be tricky. The roads have their lanes marked, along with signs and traffic signals to control the flow of traffic. Out on the water, there are obviously no marked lanes, and there are far fewer signs, making it more difficult to determine which boater had the right of way and which boater was acting negligently.
If you want to receive compensation for damages after a boat accident, you’ll need to either file a claim or sue the person you believe is responsible. This would usually be an operator of a boat – either the boat you were in at the time or another boat.
For your claim or lawsuit to be successful, you’ll need to prove several key facts regarding this person. First, you’ll need to prove that they had a legal duty to you. This is simple enough, because anyone operating a boat has a legal duty to the other people out on the water.
Next, you need to demonstrate that the person breached their duty in some way, such as going too fast or not respecting another boat’s right of way. You then need to show that this breach resulted in the boating accident, and that this accident caused damages to you.
How an Attorney Can Help
You are not required to hire a boating accident attorney, but it can make a big difference in whether you receive the compensation you deserve. The claims process can be complicated, and it’s go through it on your own without any experience.
Another problem when you try to handle your claim on your own is that you could have a tough time proving who was negligent for the accident. The other party may deny that the accident was their fault, and you could end up in a long back-and-forth battle.
Since a boating accident attorney will have plenty of experience handling these types of cases, they can navigate through the claims process and get you results much sooner. Your attorney can look at the evidence available to figure out the best strategy for demonstrating who was negligent, and they can put pressure on the other party to compensate you for any damages you’ve suffered.
If you want to get any money back for medical costs or to fix your boat after an accident, then it’s in your best interest to hire a boating accident attorney. You can just tell your attorney what happened, and you won’t need to stress about dealing with insurance companies or showing who was negligent.
Call Fenster & Cohen, P.A. today for a legal consultation (954) 473-1500