South Florida hosts some of the nation’s most famous beaches and waterways. Experiencing them often involves spending time on a boat. The dangers involved in driving a large vessel only increase when out in the open water, where a careless driver or faulty machinery may lead to serious injuries. If this happens to you, a motor vehicle accident attorney can guide you through the process of bringing a personal injury claim. The Boca Raton boat accident lawyers at The Grife Law Firm are committed to helping victims assert their right to financial support. We provide aggressive legal representation throughout the settlement negotiation process and any litigation that may be needed.Boat Accidents in South Florida
Year after year, Florida leads all states in the rate of recreational boat accidents, with 737 reported in 2015. As Florida’s total registered vessels continue to increase, so does the potential for these types of accidents and the injuries that accompany them. Many of these involve lacerations, contusions, broken bones, head injuries, internal injuries, or neck and back injuries.
Depending on the circumstances, multiple parties may have contributed to harm a victim, including a boat’s operator, its passengers, or a product’s manufacturer. Boat crashes may not only affect a boat’s occupants but also another vessel’s passengers as well as surrounding swimmers. The U.S. Coast Guard cites alcohol use as the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Among the other top contributing factors are inattentive or inexperienced drivers, machinery breakdown or failure, and traveling at high speeds.Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries
If you have been hurt in a boat accident, someone’s negligence is usually a contributing factor. Negligence is proven by showing that one or more defendants owed a duty of care to the injured plaintiff and that this duty was breached by the defendant’s actions. It must also be established that the breach was a proximate cause of the victim’s injuries and that damages resulted.
Boat operators owe those around them, including passengers, people in other vessels, and swimmers, a duty of care to act as a reasonable and prudent person would behave in similar circumstances. If a boat is excessively speeding during turbulent weather or in choppy water, causing harm to an occupant or another individual, the boat operator likely would be found negligent and liable for damages. Common forms of compensation include lost income and earning capacity, medical bills, future medical expenses, diminished quality of life, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages.
If the injuries are the result of a boat operator who is found to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a plaintiff may pursue a claim on the basis of negligence per se, under which a person or entity is negligent as a matter of law. For this theory to apply, a defendant must have violated a statute that imposes a duty of care that is designed to protect a specific class of people. Florida law prohibits anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs from operating a boat in order to protect everyone using the waterways. Thus, an operator who was under the influence would be negligent per se. However, a victim must still establish the causation and damages elements of a negligence claim.Discuss a Boat Accident Case with a Boca Raton Lawyer
If you have been injured because of someone else’s careless actions on the water, you should contact a Boca Raton boat accident attorney at The Grife Law Firm to find out more about your legal options. We assist injured individuals throughout Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, including in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Call us at 855-998-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We also are available to assist people who need a cruise ship accident attorney when they are injured on vacation.