Florida is surrounded by beautiful beaches that extend around nearly every mile of the State’s border. Many locals and travelers own or rent boats. Boats are a fun way to travel and are often used to fish, to entertain, and for various other purposes. Although boats are considered to be an effective method of transportation and means of leisure, occupants of boats are not safe from harm. In fact, more than 700 boat accidents occur in Florida each year.
Boat accidents, in particular, present a variety of challenges for both boat occupants and rescue crews. Being out on waters increases the challenges victims face from bleeding and drowning. These accidents claim numerous lives every year. Some victims involved in these accidents are left with life-altering injuries that require extensive medical treatment.
When victims are harmed in accidents, due to the actions of others, it is crucial that they contact a boat accident attorney in Jacksonville as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.
The team at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates believes that victims deserve to adequately recover from their accidents in the best way possible. For this reason, we provide aggressive legal representation to ensure those harmed are able to maximize their recoveries. Our Jacksonville boat accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims by investigating their accidents, gathering evidence, and presenting solid legal claims on their behalf. We stop at nothing to ensure victims receive the maximum amount of compensation available for their claims. Contact our law firm in Jacksonville at your earlier convenience to see how we can help you.
Causes of Boat Accidents in Jacksonville
Hundreds of people are injured in boat accidents across Florida each year. These accidents are often devastating, leaving victims with life-altering injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Like other types of accidents, boat accidents can take place for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes of boat accidents the team at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates sees in Florida include:
Reckless Operation of the Boat: Not operating a boat with the utmost care and consideration can lead to devastating accidents. Unfortunately, many boat operators engage in other activities while in control of their vessels. Actions like allowing passengers to sit in inappropriate locations, violating low wake rules, not observing others sharing the water, failure to yield to others, and inattention behind the wheel can result in life-threatening injuries.
Speeding: Like any other vehicle, it is crucial that boats and all other watercraft maintain safe speeds while traveling. There are numerous accidents that take place due to speeding boats. Boat drivers who travel at high rates of speed are more likely to lose control of their vehicles, which can lead to crashes and serious injuries.
Impaired Operation: Statistics show that impaired drivers are the leading cause of fatal boat accidents throughout Florida. Like all other vehicles, boat operators are required to obey laws and regulations surrounding the consumption of alcohol. Riders are not allowed to consume alcohol while operating boats and they cannot have blood alcohol concentration levels higher than 0.08 percent. When operators are impaired, they are likely to cause accidents that result in life-threatening injuries.
Inexperienced Operators: It is imperative that boat operators know what they are doing and have the ability to control their watercraft. When operators are not capable of controlling boats, jet skis, and other watercraft, they can cause accidents. Not being an experienced driver can lead to boat operators not knowing how to control their vehicles in dangerous water conditions.
Careless and Reckless Behaviors of Passengers: Like all other types of vehicles, the operators of boats are responsible for all passengers on board. The boat operator must keep all passengers in their seats while the boat is moving and make sure they have a clear line of sight.
Improper Loading of the Boat: Allowing too many passengers on a boat, or not requiring passengers to sit in an even manner can cause a boat to flip over or make it difficult for the operator to control.
Weather Conditions: Sudden changes in the weather while out on the water can make it difficult or even impossible to maintain control over a boat. It is imperative that all safety equipment is checked prior to heading out on the water. It is advised that all operators, especially those with little experience, check the forecast before heading out so they can plan accordingly. Heavy rain and high wind conditions can cause accidents and strand boat occupants in deep waters.
Unseaworthy Vessels: All too often boaters take to the water in watercraft that are unfit for the conditions which may be encountered. Such a vessel is deemed unseaworthy if it suffers from an inadequate design or manufactured defect. Also, a boat or ship may be unseaworthy if it has been inadequately equipped or is staffed with unskilled crew. Unseaworthiness is recognized as a basis for civil liability, and the seller, owner and/or operator may owe damages to those injured or killed by an unseaworthy condition.
Boat accidents claim the lives of more than 700 people annually across the country. In some cases, victims involved in boat accidents are left with life-altering injuries, such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures
If you were injured in a boat accident, it is crucial that you seek the legal guidance of a skilled boat accident attorney in Jacksonville as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation to help alleviate the financial burdens you face from your accident.
Types of Boat Accidents in Florida
Reports from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed that a collision with another vessel is one of the leading causes of boat accidents throughout the state. Accidents surrounding towing watersport activities often result in injuries as well. Boat accidents can take various forms, leaving victims with life-threatening injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Some of the most common types of boat accidents we see at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates include:
- Crashes with other vessels
- People falling onboard
- Collisions with fixed objects in the water
- Striking objects underneath the water
- Falling overboard
- Wake damages
- Grounding boats
- Fuel fires
Florida has some of the most diverse waterways in the nation. The rules and speed regulations for each waterway are different. It is crucial that boat operators familiarize themselves with the rules surrounding areas they are going to travel in. Not taking proactive measures before hitting the water can have a significant impact on the health and safety of boat occupants.
Some areas in Florida are more common locations for accidents to occur. Some of the most common locations for boat accidents include:
- Bays and Sounds
- Lakes and Ponds
- Ports and Harbors
- Inlets and Passes
- The Gulf
- Rivers and Creeks
- Canals and Cuts
- Marshes and Swamps
If you were injured in a boat accident, contact a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville to explore legal options available for you.
Liability in a Boat Accident
Boat accidents can leave victims with overwhelming pain and suffering from injuries. In many cases, victims are left to struggle with health care costs, lost income, costs for repairing or replacing their boats, and various other damages. Working with a skilled boat accident attorney is a victim’s best bet at properly recovering from their accidents. When it comes to boat accidents, it is crucial to determine who is liable for injuries and resulting damages.
In general, the operator of the boat can be held liable for injuries in damages if they fail to implement reasonable safety measures to ensure those on board are protected. Not having adequate safety equipment can result in extensive liability toward a boat operator. Other parties who can share liability include:
The manufacturing company: When boat accidents occur as a result of a defective or malfunctioning part, the manufacturing company can be held liable for the resulting injuries or damages. Manufacturers are required to provide boats and parts that are safe to use. When they fail to do so, it can have devastating consequences.
The rental company of the boat: Rental companies are required to provide boats for people who are qualified to use them. When companies fail to verify the credentials of an operator, it can lead to collisions that result in serious injuries or death for passengers.
The owner of the boat: Like rental companies, owners of boats are required to verify the knowledge, experience, and responsibilities of people who they allow to operate their boats. When boat accidents are the result of negligent, reckless, and inexperienced drivers, owners can be held liable.
Other passengers who acted negligently: When passengers act carelessly or recklessly and prevent operators from fulfilling their duties, they can be held liable for causing accidents. Furthermore, unruly passengers can be held liable in cases where they injure passengers on board through physical contact.
When other passengers act negligently on ships, both the negligent passenger and the operator can be held liable if the operator of the boat fails to interfere with the passenger’s behaviors.
Accidents on cruise ships can result in extremely complex legal claims holding several parties accountable. In any case, one or more parties can be held liable for resulting injuries and damages from a boat accident. Working with a knowledgeable attorney is a victim’s best bet for holding those responsible accountable for their actions.
The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates Can Help You
Boat accidents throughout Florida are unpredictable. Although these accidents are often preventable, we continue to see the devastating accidents occur on an all too frequent basis. Many boat accidents take place in Florida as a result of driver negligence, defective parts, and for various other reasons. People harmed in boat accidents are often hospitalized for several weeks and require extensive medical treatment for their injuries. Many victims incur life-altering injuries that leave them permanently impaired. When victims are harmed in boat accidents, as a result of another person’s actions, it is crucial that they reach out to a boat accident attorney in Jacksonville as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates have extensive experience helping boat accident victims receive the justice they deserve. We understand the challenges those harmed are forced to endure. Not only are the mental and physical issues overwhelming, but the financial burdens victims and their families face can be devastating. For this reason, our boat accident attorneys in Jacksonville provide aggressive representation to victims to ensure they are in the best position imaginable to move forward and recover. Our team works to help boat accident victims recover full and fair compensation to alleviate the costs of:
- Medical treatment
- Long-term medical care/equipment
- Lost wages for appointments
- Lost earning capacity for victims forced out of work indefinitely
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
If your loved one lost their life in a boat accident, due to the negligent actions of others, the team at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates strives to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation attainable for funeral services, burial expenses, and various other end-of-life expenses your family may endure. If you were injured in a boat accident, or your loved one lost their life in a boat accident due to the negligence of another party, contact our boat accident attorneys in Jacksonville at (904) 647-2296 to schedule a free consultation to explore legal options available for you.