If you suffered injuries in a boat accident someone else caused, contact the St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers immediately. You might be entitled to compensation if someone’s negligence caused the accident and your injury. We could represent you in a case against the at-fault party to hold them liable for their actions.
Boating is a fun activity Florida residents and tourists can enjoy year-round. Many people participate in various water activities, such as swimming, boating, kayaking, and jet skiing. Tampa Bay, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Gulf of Mexico, and other waterways provide the perfect backdrop for an excursion. Unfortunately, boating can be dangerous and lead to severe injuries or death if an accident occurs.
Anyone operating a water vessel must navigate safely around swimmers, other boats, and stationary objects, such as buoys. It’s their responsibility to follow speed limits and ensure they don’t risk the lives and safety of their passengers and other boaters. Reckless operations increase the likelihood of a collision or another type of incident that causes an injury. When that happens, the operator could be liable.
Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers knows how overwhelming it can be to recover from an injury and pursue legal action against the negligent party. You face a range of challenges along the way. Many people can’t afford the cost of medical treatment and suffer crushing debt. Some may sustain permanent injuries that cause long-term complications.
Our boat accident lawyers in St. Petersburg, FL, are ready to help you fight for compensation. We will advocate for your rights and aggressively seek the financial award you need to recover. You don’t have to go through this devastating experience alone. We will remain in your corner and provide the legal guidance you deserve.
Call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (727) 605-1100 today for your free consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.
Types of Boat Accidents
Various factors can contribute to a boating accident. Collisions aren’t the only types of accident a passenger or non-occupant of a boat could experience. Someone could fall and get hurt while aboard the vessel or sustain a burn injury from an exposed electrical component.
The most common types of boat accidents include:
- Slip and fall – Preventing the inside of a boat from getting wet is nearly impossible. However, slip-resistant surfaces are necessary to provide stability for the passengers. A slip and fall could happen in any area of the boat if it gets wet.
- Contact with the propeller – Propellers are sharp and can cause life-threatening injuries. Passing too closely to a swimmer could cause them to come into direct contact with the propeller. The swimmer could get knocked unconscious or sustain a severe laceration from the sharp metal.
- Docking accidents – Approaching a dock requires the boat operator to slow down and focus on the task at hand. Speeding towards the dock or allowing distractions to redirect their attention could lead to a crash.
- Falling overboard – Any boat occupant could fall overboard, whether the vessel collides with another boat or hits a wave at high speeds. Someone might drown if they can’t swim or hit their head while falling into the water.
- Capsizing accidents – A boat might capsize if it hits a wave too hard, crashes into a sandbar, or turns too quickly. An overturned boat can cause serious injuries or trap the passengers underwater.
- Fires – An onboard fire could result from exposed wires, faulty electrical components, or another hazard. A lack of fire protection equipment can prevent the occupant from extinguishing the fire and lead to burn injuries.
- Malfunctioning equipment – Every boat has various parts and systems that must work together to keep it running. The owner should maintain their vessel regularly to prevent the system from breaking down. A malfunctioning steering wheel, engine, or braking system could result in a traumatic accident.
- Collisions with other vessels – Two boats can collide on the water for multiple reasons. The operator might be under the influence of alcohol and fail to notice an approaching vessel or travel at high speeds and lose control of their boat.
- Drowning – Life jackets are vital to have onboard a boat at all times. There must be one for each passenger. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 75 percent of fatal boat accidents in 2020 involved drowning. Of those deaths, 86 percent of people did not wear a life jacket.
Despite the many boating laws, operators ignore them or don’t know about the safety measures they need to take to prevent harming their passengers and other people on the water. You have a right to pursue compensation if someone else is responsible for the boat accident that led to your injury.
Causes of Boat Accidents
Boat accidents are often due to human error. Even if the operator follows all boating regulations, they could cross paths with someone careless and get hurt.
Some people intentionally ignore the laws, much like motor vehicle drivers on roadways. Boaters don’t consider the risk they take by exceeding speed limits and navigating recklessly around other vessels.
The most common causes of boat accidents include:
- Boating under the influence – Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, reaction time, motor skills, and decision-making. Like DUI laws, BUI (boating under the influence) laws prohibit anyone from operating a boat while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, chemical substance, or controlled substance. A person is under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent.
- Speeding – A lot of people are unaware that boaters must adhere to speed limits. Although there is typically less traffic on the water than on roads, speeding in certain areas is dangerous. Boat operators must slow down in designated locations to avoid accidents.
- Improper lookout – A lookout should assist the operator in watching for dangerous conditions and hazards that could endanger the passengers. However, a distracted or inattentive lookout can’t see what’s happening around them and inform the operator of an upcoming danger.
- Operator inexperience – Inexperience plays a significant role in many boat accidents. Since Florida doesn’t require a boating license for most people, anyone over the age of 14 could operate a vessel. A lack of experience can lead to severe injuries if the operator doesn’t know the laws or how to handle an emergency.
- Operator inattention – Paying attention to swimmers, hazards, and other boats is crucial to avoiding an accident. When an operator allows distractions to direct their attention to something besides operating the boat, they could collide with another vessel, run aground, or approach a dock too quickly.
If someone caused your injury in a boating accident for any reason, reach out to Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers immediately. We can review the factors involved in the incident to determine who is at fault. We will advise you about the available legal options and promptly begin working on your case.
Our St. Petersburg boat accident lawyers know how to investigate boating accidents and locate evidence to show what happened. We can review the available insurance coverage and file a claim on your behalf. We are aggressive in our negotiation tactics to recover the settlement our clients deserve.
Common Injuries in Boating Accidents
The type of injury people sustain in boat accidents typically depends on the circumstances. A slip and fall might cause only a minor injury, such as a sprained ankle. However, a vessel collision could lead to severe injuries, such as a concussion or internal bleeding.
The most common injuries in boating accidents include:
- Burn injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Loss of limb
- Broken bones
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Emotional or psychological distress
- Significant disfigurement and scarring
Any kind of injury could require medical attention. Whether you spend one night in the hospital or undergo months of rehabilitation, you could seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Compensation for Injuries in a Boat Accident
State laws don’t require that owners or operators of water vessels carry boating insurance. You might not be able to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, you could file a lawsuit and recover compensation for losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Damage to personal property
Punitive damages might also be available in a lawsuit. This type of compensation punishes the defendant for their actions. You must show clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party acted with intentional misconduct or gross negligence to recover punitive damages.
Statute of Limitations for a Boat Accident
In Florida, the statute of limitations for boating accidents allows a four-year timeframe to file a lawsuit. That means you must initiate your lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident to pursue compensation in court.
The personal representative of the estate could pursue a wrongful death case if someone’s negligence caused their loved one’s death in a boat accident. The statute of limitations provides a two-year timeframe for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The period begins on the date of the accident victim’s death.
At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, we fight for accident victims injured by the wrongdoing of others. We will protect your rights from the moment you hire us. Our St. Petersburg boat accident lawyers always provide personalized attention and service to meet the unique needs of every client we represent.
If you sustained an injury in a boat accident due to someone else’s negligence, call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (727) 605-1100 for your free consultation.