When Is a Written Boating Accident Report Required in Florida

Boating is a popular activity in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) collects data on the frequency of boating wrecks in the state. Per the 2022 FWC boating accident report, over 700 reportable boating crashes occur in Florida every year. When is a written boating accident report required in Florida?

Understanding the answer to this question can help you know when you may need to contact the authorities to report a crash.

Florida Boating Accident Reporting Requirements

When is a written boating accident report required in Florida? Under Florida law, you must report a boating accident that results in any of the following:

  • Bodily injury
  • Death
  • Disappearance of a person
  • Property damage of at least $2,000

You might not know how much property damage a boating wreck has caused in the immediate aftermath. In addition, even if a crash doesn’t appear to have caused bodily injury, it’s possible you or other victims have sustained injuries without noticing symptoms. Because you can’t be certain a crash didn’t cause bodily injury or property damage of at least $2,000, err on the side of caution and report even a seemingly minor crash.

Water Vessel Collision Reporting in Florida: What You Need to Know About Deadlines

Calling 911 to report a crash in its immediate aftermath is the simplest way to report a crash in the event of an emergency. Otherwise, you can report a crash by calling the FWC.

The correct FWC phone number varies depending on what part of the state you’re in. Check the FWC map to find the corresponding phone number.

Deadlines apply when reporting boat wrecks in Florida. Per Florida boating laws, they are:

  • You must report a crash within 48 hours if someone dies within 24 hours of the crash.
  • You must report a crash within 48 hours if someone requires medical care beyond first aid due to crash-related injuries.
  • You must report a crash within 48 hours if it results in someone’s disappearance.

If the law requires you to report a crash, but none of the above requirements apply, you have 10 days from the date of the wreck to file a report.

Boating Injuries and Reportable Incidents in Florida

Boating wrecks can cause various types of injuries. They include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Drownings
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Electrocutions
  • Lacerations

A boating accident that results in any type of injury is reportable in Florida. Remember, an injury like a concussion may not cause noticeable symptoms until hours or, in some cases, even days after a crash.

Types of Property Damage After a Boating Accident in Florida

Property damage resulting from a boating wreck can consist of obvious visual damage to a vessel. However, that’s not necessarily the only type of property damage a wreck may cause.

For example, a crash could damage a vessel’s internal components. Such damage may not be visually apparent right away. You might not realize a vessel has sustained damage until you notice it is no longer operating properly.

In addition, a boat isn’t the only type of property that can sustain damage in a wreck. Expensive property on or in a boat can also be damaged. So can nearby property if a boat wreck occurs near land. For example, a boating crash could damage a pier, dock, or other such fixture.

Negligence in Boating Accidents in Florida

Boating accidents can occur for many reasons. Often, they’re the result of someone’s carelessness. If a person is unreasonably careless in a manner that endangers others, they may be legally negligent.

Examples of negligence that can result in Florida boating wrecks include:

  • Operating a boat too quickly in a given waterway
  • Ignoring the “rules of the water”
  • Operating a boat while intoxicated
  • Not properly confirming a boat is safe to bring out on the water
  • Not having sufficient safety gear on a boat
  • Operating a boat while fatigued
  • Intentionally operating a boat recklessly or aggressively
  • Not keeping a safe distance from other vessels

These are all examples of negligence on the part of a boat’s owner and operator. However, other negligent parties can also put boating enthusiasts at risk. For example, a wreck might occur due to a boat’s designers or manufacturers overlooking defects or design flaws.

Seeking Compensation After a Florida Boating Wreck

When Is a Written Boating Accident Report Required in Florida

Have you been hurt in a Florida boating accident someone else caused? You may be eligible for compensation through filing an insurance claim. If the boat’s owner or operator doesn’t have insurance, or if their insurer attempts to deny liability, you can seek damages in court by filing a lawsuit.

Filing a claim or lawsuit allows you to pursue compensation for economic losses resulting from your injuries. Examples include medical bills and lost wages. In addition, you may be able to pursue compensation for such intangible non-economic losses as pain and suffering.

Proper documentation of your losses will improve your odds of receiving the compensation you deserve. Immediately after a boating wreck, see a doctor, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Keep copies of all medical records and related documentation.

The Statute of Limitations for a Boating Accident in Florida

The statute of limitations establishes a deadline by which you must file a boating wreck lawsuit in Florida. For an accident resulting in injuries, you may have four years from the date of the wreck to file a lawsuit. You have two years to file a wrongful death claim.

Sometimes, the deadline can vary depending on where a wreck occurred. If a wreck occurred in waters where Admiralty law instead of Florida law applies (such as waters between states), you have three years to take legal action.

Contact a Florida Boating Accident Lawyer

Don’t know when is a written boating accident report required in Florida? Navigating your legal options after a boating wreck is much easier with proper legal assistance. At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, a Tampa boating accident lawyer can review your case, explain your options, and provide the representation you deserve now. Learn more about how we may help by contacting us online or calling us at (619) 233-5020 for a free case review. With our experience and skills, we can get you the best possible outcome for your boating accident claim.

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