In Florida, both the operators and passengers of boats are entitled to bring personal injury claims (whether the defendant’s actions were negligent, reckless, or intentional) against other boaters if the defendant-operator in question caused their injuries.
Plaintiffs are occasionally confused about whether they are allowed to file an injury claim given the circumstances of their accident, so it is worth repeating: boaters have rights under Florida law. Boaters – both operators and passengers – may pursue legitimate injury claims against other boaters and various other liable parties. To determine whether your claim is legitimate, it’s important that you consult with a qualified Fort Myers personal injury attorney like Randall Spivey who has experience handling boating accident cases.
Boating accidents are quite common, thanks in part to the specialized nature of boat operation and the effects of waves on nearby boats. Boating accidents are not always straightforward, however. Some boating accidents are caused by the negligence of another boat operator, but the fault of this third-party operator is not revealed until further investigation is conducted.
For example, the wake left by another boat might cause your boat to become unstable on the water, resulting in injuries. Initially, you might not be aware that the injuries were caused by the wake left behind by another boat operator.
As such, if you have been injured in a boating accident but are unsure of whether another boat operator is liable for your injuries, it’s important that you work with a personal injury attorney who can – with the help of a boating expert – investigate the circumstances of the accident more closely and determine where fault lies.
Potential Boating Accident Situations
Boats are complicated vehicles that require specialized operation, and – just like cars – may need to navigate traffic and bad weather conditions. There are therefore a wide variety of situations that could potentially lead to injury.
- Careless driving by a boat operator.
- Negligently driving so as to create a dangerous wake.
- Boating collisions.
- Failure to avoid predictable bad weather.
- Poorly-maintained boat.
- Boat was overcrowded.
- Boating operator lacked training (Florida law mandates the completion of boater safety courses for all operators).
- Operator was intoxicated.
- And many more.
If you have encountered any of the above situations, you may have a legitimate boating accident personal injury claim that is worth pursuing.
Passengers are legally entitled to pursue an injury claim against the operator of their own boat, and the operator(s) of other boats that substantially contribute to the accident at-issue.
Boat operators owe a duty of care to both their own passengers and to other boaters on the water to avoid danger and exercise reasonable precautions to prevent a boating accident. If any operator violates this duty, then it may provide boat passengers the basis of a negligence claim against the operator in question.
It’s worth reiterating that passengers may sue their own boat operator. As such, even if most of the fault lies with another operator, if your own operator failed to take steps to avoid or prevent the accident, you may be able to pursue an injury claim against your own operator to recover damages.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, Florida law entitles you to pursue injury claims against the parties responsible for causing the accident (and consequently, your injuries). Contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. today. We will provide a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights.