Florida is annually among the nation’s leaders in boating accidents, thanks in large part to its year-round nice weather in the southern part of the state and its massive amount of shoreline.
If you get injured while you’re on a boat, here are some things you should know about your legal rights and proving liability.
Collisions with other boats
In collisions involving multiple boats, both boats’ operators are usually partially at fault, which means passengers on those boats would have a claim against either boat operator, similar to a car accident case. There are some circumstances in which one boat operator might bear the entirety of the liability, especially if they were drunk while operating.
Hitting another boat’s wake
If a boat hits a wake, that can result in knocking down passengers and causing some injuries. Liability in a wake accident depends on the speed of the boat, the size of the wake, visibility of the wake, other boat traffic in the area, whether the operator warned people in the boat that a wake was coming, and the kind of boat in which the injured person was located.
It is possible the operator of the boat that made the wake could be negligent. This most commonly occurs in no-wake zones.
Hitting a wave is similar to wake accidents, but there is no potential for another boater to be liable.
Lack of safety equipment
A boating operator can be liable if they do not have the proper safety equipment on board (in line with Florida regulations) and someone suffers an injury on their boat. Safety equipment includes life vests, life rings, flares, whistles, fire extinguishers and navigational lights.
For more information about who could be liable in a boating accident and how to prove that liability, contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.