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Boating Accident Attorneys in Florida

The attorneys of Kogan & DiSalvo can help you recover full and fair compensation after a boating accident in Florida. Backed by decades of collective legal experience, our lawyers can ensure your rights are protected. We have successfully represented clients in many personal injury claims, including watercraft accidents resulting in injury and casualties. Reach out today to schedule a free case evaluation with a Florida boat accident lawyer with the skills to pursue the justice you deserve. 

Areas We Serve in South Florida

Fort Lauderdale skyline

Our law firm serves boat accident victims throughout the Sunshine State, including the following cities:

Florida Boating Accident Statistics

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Boating is a way of life for many South Florida residents. Family-friendly activities include cruising, fishing, and waterskiing–popular pastimes in the area’s intra-coastal waterways, lakes, bays, and open ocean. Since 2013, Florida’s watercraft vessel registration has steadily increased every year. Unfortunately, nearly 12 percent of all boating casualties in the entire nation occur in Florida–and the vast majority involve recreational vessels.

According to a 2021 report compiled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

  • There were 751 boat accidents – a slight decrease compared to the previous year
  • There were 60 people killed in watercraft accidents
  • There were 469 boating accident injuries reported
  • More than $20 million in property damages were sustained in boating accidents
  • The top 5 Florida counties for reported boating accidents were: Miami Dade, Palm Beach, Lee, Pinellas, and Broward
  • The primary cause of accidents were crashes with vessels, collisions with fixed objects, and falls overboard
  • The majority of boat accident fatalities were attributed to drownings, and many victims were not wearing life jackets

Leading Causes of Boat Accidents & Injuries

High sea waves during a storm on the ocean

Boating laws and safety regulations in Florida are relatively lax. You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) in the state, and boat operators must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is a violation of Florida law to have a breath alcohol level of .02 percent or higher while having physical control of a personal watercraft.

The following are the primary causes of boating accidents in Florida involving power boats, pontoons, jet skis, and cabin cruisers.

  • Speeding
  • Operator inexperience
  • Improper anchoring
  • Inattention
  • Negligent boat operation
  • Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Overcrowding the boat
  • Obstructed vision
  • Hazardous weather conditions
  • Violations of congested water rules
  • Sitting or standing on gunwales
  • Machinery failure

Boating enthusiasts have a duty to operate their vessels at safe speeds, exercise due caution, and ensure proper safety equipment – including life jackets – are on board. Anyone injured in a boat accident from another’s negligent actions may qualify for legal action.

Why Work with a Boat Accident Attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo?

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Florida statutes apply to boating accident claims that involve bodies of water within state borders. However, federal maritime law applies to accidents that take place in the ocean or waterways that are shared between states. Since these cases require in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws, carefully choosing your lawyer is imperative. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we have handled complex boating injury claims across Florida and have the resources to establish liability through solid evidence backed by expert testimony.

Our talented legal team can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process. Get the compensation you need and rightfully deserve by partnering with a boat accident attorney Florida residents trust. We are fearless litigators with excellent negotiating skills, and we take all cases on a contingency basis, so there are no costs to you unless we win or settle your claim.

Money Damages in Boat Accident Claims

A printed medical billing statement with a stethoscope on top of it

The aftermath of a jet ski, power boat, or water vessel accident can leave victims with serious financial hardships as they deal with unexpected hospital bills and lost income.

Every boating accident claim is unique, and the recoverable damages will depend on the severity of your injuries as well as the impact the accident has had on your ability to work and lead a normal life. Whether you suffered broken bones or a lung infection from near-drowning, our attorneys will make every attempt to maximize your compensation.

A successful boating accident claim can demand damages for the following:

  • Medical expenses, including hospitalization, diagnostic tests, doctor appointments, surgery, physical therapy, and medications
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost income during your recovery
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage
  • Loss of consortium

Working with an experienced and dedicated boat accident attorney is essential to obtaining a fair settlement. If negotiations do not yield a favorable figure, our team is fully prepared to take your lawsuit to trial. When you retain the services of Kogan & DiSalvo, your case always takes priority. The sooner we begin investigations, the easier it is to gather pertinent evidence to prove liability.

Liability in South Florida Boating Accidents

Woman testifying on the witness stand in court

Capsizing, flooding, falls overboard, fires, and collisions with objects or other vessels can result in serious injury or death. As your legal advocate, it is our job to investigate the accident and determine which person or party is responsible.

Potential defendants may include the following:

  • The boat operator – was the operator of the watercraft drunk or inattentive? Were they speeding or acting recklessly that endangered the safety of passengers?
  • Other passengers – if another passenger’s negligent actions caused the boating accident, they might be held liable for resulting injuries and other losses.
  • The boat owner – owners must maintain their vessels, ensuring they are safe and sea-worthy. If an equipment failure or malfunction causes the accident, boat owners may face legal action.
  • Rental company – liability waivers may protect boat rental companies in some situations. But if the accident can be traced back to a crew member’s wrongdoing, a lack of safety equipment, or an unmaintained vessel, litigation may be warranted.
  • Boat manufacturers – if the collision or mishap was caused by defects in the boat, manufacturers might be on the hook for damages. Defective parts and machinery that cause fuel leaks, loss of steering, or other malfunctions may give rise to a product liability claim.

Common Injuries Suffered in Boating Accidents

Two doctors examining a hip X-ray

With so many vessels on the water, boating collisions and injuries are an unfortunate reality here in Florida. After suffering any harm in a boat accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as quickly as possible to document your injuries. Passengers are often thrown overboard, increasing the risk of debilitating trauma. Other injuries may include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Contusions
  • Penetrating injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken bones
  • Herniated or ruptured discs
  • Deep lacerations
  • Hypoxic injuries caused by near drowning
  • Burns

Deadlines for Filing a Boating Accident Claim

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If you were in a boat accident in Florida, you must file your injury claim within the applicable statute of limitations.

  • 2 years after the accident, in cases governed by Florida law
  • 3 years after the accident, in cases governed by Maritime law
  • 6 months to one year after an accident on a cruise ship

Expert Legal Representation from Kogan & DiSalvo

The attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo in front of their office building

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Florida boating accident, we welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and assess your grounds for legal action. For aggressive, client-focused advocacy that gets results, put your trust in our team of veteran injury attorneys. Please call or contact us online to arrange a complimentary case evaluation with a boating accident attorney in Florida.

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