Broward County ranks sixth of 11 Florida counties that have the most boating accidents in the state. Boaters, including passengers, who have been harmed on the water or on a dock by a negligent act of a boater may be able to claim damages using Florida law.
To find out if a legitimate case exists, consider arranging a no-cost consultation with the Broward County boat accident lawyer. A distinguished personal injury attorney can help people harmed in boating accidents pay for the medical and other expenses related to the incident.
The legal remedy that applies to boating accidents is negligence under Florida’s maritime law governing the seas, which has many differences from law on the land. Negligence, legally defined, is someone committing an act that a prudent and reasonable person would not do in the same circumstance, which results in harm, death, or property damage to another person.
Florida law holds anyone who is partially to blame in causing a boating accident responsible for a share of the damages caused. Usually, one person is more at fault than the other. The law requires that compensation be reduced by the amount of fault each boat operator has, up to 50%. If the operator’s fault is assessed to be 51% or more, they are prevented from recovering entirely. So, for example, the operator who is 30 percent at fault may only claim 70 percent of the damages.
The Broward County boat accident lawyer can investigate whether a person had a legal duty of care toward the other person involved in a boating accident and breached that duty by an act or failure to act. The breach must be what caused the accident, and the accident caused injury.
Florida law requires that people born after January 1, 1988, who operate watercrafts with more than ten horsepower must complete a course in boating safety and the rules of the water. No others are required, except in certain circumstances.
Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach areas have the most boating accidents in the county, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The commission’s Boating Accidents Statistical Report identified 737 boating accidents statewide in 2015, and of those accidents, 55 people were killed, including six people who could not be found.
Boat accidents are primarily caused by operator inexperience, inattention, no designated look-out, speeding, mechanical failures, and intoxication. The commission’s statistics reveal that middle-aged men who have boating experience but have not completed a boating safety course comprise most of the boat operators who are involved in boating accidents.
The most common types of boat accidents are collisions with a fixed object, such as a dock, followed by colliding with another craft, accidents caused by a boat’s wake, and non-fuel related fires or explosions.
Florida law does not require that all boating accidents must be reported to the appropriate authorities, but any one of the following five circumstances must be reported. These are if someone dies, disappears in a manner that may be a death or injury, suffers an injury occurred requiring medical treatment that is not just first aid. Incidents that must also be reported include accidents where the property damage is more than $2,000, and the vessel is totaled. If you or someone you know was involved in a boating accident, do not hesitate to contact a Broward County boat accident lawyer and get started on your case.