A boating accident can have the same type of devastating consequences that an automobile accident can have, in some cases, even resulting in death. The Sunshine State has more than its fair share of boating accidents, due to the proximity to a variety of bodies of water, as well as the mild, year-round climate. If you or a loved one have been involved in a boating accident in the Miami area, you may be unsure of how to proceed. If you have significant injuries, and the boating accident was caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to receive compensation for those injuries. Miami attorney Mike Redondo will fight to help you pursue any compensation you may be entitled to following a boating accident.
Florida Boating Accidents
According to a U.S. Coast Guard survey of 2018 marine incidents, Florida once again led the nation in boating accidents, boating deaths, and boating injuries. In 2018, Florida had 607 boating accidents, which resulted in 57 deaths, 297 injuries, and more than $7 million in property damage. Of course, Florida also led the nation in the number of registered recreational boats, with 950,000. The Coast Guard also found that nationwide, alcohol was a factor in 101 boating deaths and that 74 percent of boating accidents involved boat operators who had not taken a certified safety training course. Finally, life jackets have been proven to save lives; three out of every four fatalities involved drowning, and 84 percent of those were not wearing a life jacket.
Factors Involved in Boating Accidents
Aside from alcohol, being struck by a propeller is another significant cause of many boating deaths. The primary factors in boating accidents include:
- Operator inattention;
- Excessive speed;
- Machinery failure;
- Improper lookout, and
- Operator inexperience.
According to the 2018 Coast Guard report, motorboats were the most common type of boats involved in boating accidents and were involved in 47 percent of these accidents. Following motorboats, personal watercraft and cabin motorboats were the next most common type of boats involved in boating accidents. The highest percentage of deaths in boating accidents occurred with open motorboats, followed by kayaks and canoes. Finally, many boating deaths often occur on boats where the operator had received no boating safety instruction.
Florida Laws Regarding Boating Accidents
In the state of Florida, a boating license is not required to operate a boat or watercraft. However, those under the age of 22 must have a Boating Safety Education ID Card, and no one under the age of 14 may operate a boat or watercraft. The statute of limitations under Florida law for a boating accident not resulting in a death is four years from the date the incident occurred—in other words, you must file a claim for damages within four years from the date of the accident.
There are instances, however, when maritime law is in effect, which changes the statutes of limitations to three years rather than four. Maritime law applies in any situation where the boating accident occurred in navigable waters. Whether a body of water is considered navigable or not depends on whether it is used in interstate or international commerce. To ensure you pursue any compensation you may be entitled to before the statute of limitations expires, contact an experienced Miami boating accident attorney as soon as possible.
Common Injuries Received from Boating Accidents
Victims of boating accidents often suffer brain and spinal cord injuries, which can affect them for their entire lifetime. Other common injuries often seen following a boating accident include carbon monoxide poisoning, fractures, bruising, concussions, and lacerations. Following a boating accident, it is particularly important to seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not immediately appear to be hurt as some injuries may not be readily apparent, such as internal bleeding. It is also important that you keep careful records of all medical expenses to better help your attorney prove your claim for damages.
What You Should Do After a Boating Accident
If you are involved in a Florida boating accident, your immediate course of action will be determined based on whether the boat is still afloat, and you are still aboard. If both of those are true, the first thing you need to do is to determine whether you or others on either boat require medical attention. If someone has fallen overboard, you should assist the victim back onto the boat. If the boat is sinking, then anyone who is not already wearing a life jacket should be provided one immediately. If the boat is drivable, it should be moved out of the path of any other oncoming boats.
The Coast Guard should then be contacted to report the accident. Under federal law, a boating accident report must be filed when a death occurs, there is an injury that requires medical care, damage to either boat exceeds $2,000, the vessel is destroyed, or someone disappears from the boat, which indicates an injury or death may have occurred. You will need to provide the location of the accident, as well as whether medical assistance is needed. As with a car accident, you should generally remain at the scene of the accident until you have been cleared to leave. If you must leave the scene, to seek emergency medical attention for yourself or a passenger for example, be sure to contact law enforcement or the Coast Guard as soon as possible.
After addressing any need for medical attention for yourself or anyone else involved in the boating accident, you will need to obtain information from the driver of the other boat, just as you would following a car accident. If there were witnesses to the boat accident, be sure to obtain their contact information. Make sure you obtain insurance information from the driver of the other boat, and, if possible, make sure to photograph the damage to the boat as well as the location of the accident. You will also need to report the accident to your insurance carrier. This information can be extremely helpful to your attorney in building your case, particularly if the other driver was responsible for the accident.
How a Miami Boating Attorney Can Help
Attorney Mike Redondo has dealt with the aftermath of boating accidents and can help ensure you receive equitable compensation for your injuries related to the boating accident. Mike has a proven track record of successfully representing those injured through the negligence of others, and always places client satisfaction above all else. If you have been involved in a boating accident, Redondo Law may be able to help you pursue any compensation you may be entitled to. To better help his clients and increase access for anyone who has been injured in an accident, Mike speaks both Spanish and English and is happy to offer a free, comprehensive evaluation to potential clients. Contact Redondo Law, P.A., following your boating accident.