Florida has the largest number of personal and recreational watercraft of any state. It also has some of the most complicated regulations regarding the operation of boats and other water-going vessels.
If you have suffered personal injury as a result of a boating accident, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side. Call the boating accident attorneys at JAXLEGAL today at 877-893-9209 or 904-600-5122 to help you navigate the legal system to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Dangers of Boating
Florida's boating regulations are designed to protect people, property, and the environment from damage. However, Florida leads the nation in the number of boating accidents, which include incidents such as:
- boat-boat collisions
- boat-buoy and other fixed or floating structure collisions
- boat-land collisions
- engine failures
- hull failure
All of these boating accidents have the potential to cause serious injury or even death to passengers. That's why Florida statutes declare water-going vessels "dangerous instrumentalities" and warn that vessel operators should "exercise the highest degree of care in order to prevent injuries to others."
Florida statutes enumerate specific guidelines to keep drivers and passengers safe. Boat operators should:
- Observe a safe speed
- Operate in a reasonable manner regarding other waterborne traffic
- Install and maintain proper sound and light signals
- Never operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Render aid to others to the fullest extent possible without endangering their own boat and passengers
If a boat operator fails to perform any of these duties and causes an accident, he or she could be guilty of a criminal act. In addition to the criminal penalties, the operator can be liable for civil damages for the injuries to your person or property caused by the negligent operation of the vessel.
Limited Liability for Boating Accidents
Unfortunately, the statutes governing boating accidents limit liability for the accident to the operator of the vessel; liability does not extend to the owner of the vessel unless the owner is the operator or is present.
These rules shield corporate owners of vessels, so that, unlike truck accidents, a corporation that puts a dangerous boat on the water may be protected from liability. This provision may block your legal claim for compensation for your injuries.
However, there is hope for your claim. The boating accident attorneys at JAXLEGAL know how to hold the owner liable, even if not onboard, through various other legal theories such as negligent entrustment.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you deserve full compensation for your injuries. Contact Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton today for your free consultation with an experienced boating accident attorney.