Florida Boating Accidents and Determining Liability
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Sep 19, 2018 in Boating Accidents
Boating is a popular activity in Florida but must be done so responsibly. When boating laws are broken, dangerous accidents may occur causing serious injuries or fatalities.
After a boating accident, liability is determined to find out who is responsible for damages suffered by accident victims. Schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled West Palm Beach boating accident attorneys at Gordon & Partners to learn more about your legal options. We can review your situation and determine whether you have a valid claim against any party liable for your injuries.
Florida Boating Laws
Florida has numerous boating laws in place to manage the operation of vessels in state waters. These laws state:
- Boat operators must obey posted speed limits at all times. Lower speeds are mandated in dangerous waters. In open waters, boats cannot operate at excessive speeds that could pose a danger to others.
- While Florida does not have a minimum age for boat operations, those under 25 years of age must take a boaters’ safety course. Anyone born after January 1, 1988 must also take the course to operate a boat in Florida. Boat operators must have identification on them at all times as well as proof of successful completion of the boaters’ safety course if applicable.
- It is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Boat operators may be stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence and must comply with a sobriety test.
What to Do If You Are in A Boating Accident in Florida
If you are in a Florida boating accident, the boat operator has a duty to provide practical and necessary aid to any persons affected. Boat operators must also provide any injured victims as well as anyone who sustained property damage in the accident with their name, address, and vessel identification in writing.
Boat operators cannot legally leave the scene without reporting the incident to authorities including the county sheriff, police chief or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Liability After A Boating Accident
In boat accidents, liability is typically based on negligence. If a boat operator fails to take care and operate his or her vessel in a safe and reasonable manner, he or she may be held liable for any injuries that result from this negligence, should an accident occur.
Negligence in boating accidents can include any actions that are outside the accepted standards of care and conduct that reasonable boat operators would display.
Examples of negligence leading to boat accidents may include:
- Taking a vessel out on the water during poor weather conditions
- Turning incorrectly into a wave
- Speeding and hitting another vessel
- Not providing proper safety equipment
- Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Recreational boating vessels paid to people out on the water may require riders to sign a liability waiver before departure. This waiver is designed to release the vessel’s owner and/or operator from liability in case of an accident.
Liability waivers are only enforceable if they include the following:
- The rights being waived are clearly and unambiguously defined
- The terms of the liability waiver are made in such a way that an ordinary knowledgeable person could understand them when signing
Consult a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer
If you were injured in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Request a free, no obligation consultation with our West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers today. We will review your case and let you know what legal options may be available for pursuing compensation of your injuries.
There are no upfront fees due when you work with our firm. Payment is only owed if we successfully recover compensation in your case.