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Melbourne Boat Accident Lawyers
Its idyllic location along the Atlantic Coast of Florida makes Melbourne a perfect location for boating enthusiasts to enjoy time on the water. Unfortunately, boating accidents are an all-too-common event that can leave a victim with serious physical and psychological injuries. If the negligence of another boater or third party caused or contributed to the accident, a victim may be entitled to compensation for those injuries.
As the injured victim of a boating accident, trying to find healthcare providers to treat your injuries, communicating with insurance companies, and potentially navigating an unfamiliar legal system can add more stress and anxiety to an already difficult time in your life. Fortunately, you do not have to tackle all of that alone. The experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L. have the resources and skills required to aggressively pursue the negligent party (or parties) and make sure you are fully compensated for all your injuries, leaving you to focus on healing.
Melbourne Boat Accident Facts and Figures
Sadly, the State of Florida typically leads the nation in the number of boating fatalities each year. According to the 2020 Boating Accident Statistical Report published by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida had 55 fatal boating accidents in 2019, almost 50 percent more fatalities than Texas which came in number two with 38 fatalities. Moreover, both the number of boating accidents and fatalities increased significantly from 2019 to 2020. There were 836 boating accidents in 2020 compared to 723 in 2019, representing an increase of more than 15 percent year over year. Fatalities in 2020 rose to 79, almost a 30 percent increase from the previous year.
Personal watercraft (PWC), including jet skis and other small motor or propeller-driven watercraft, are also popular with both residents and visitors to Melbourne. According to the FWC report, there were 227 PWC accidents in the State of Florida in 2020, causing 183 injuries and 15 deaths.
Melbourne Boating Accident Causes
Although a boating accident can occur under a wide range of circumstances and be the result of a variety of factors, some common causes of boating accident injuries and fatalities, according to the FWC report, include:
- Collisions with another vessel, object, or person. In 2020, 402 boating accidents involved a collision with 44 percent of them being caused, partially or wholly, by a driver’s inattention or failure to maintain a proper lookout.
- Driving under the influence. Boaters frequently make the mistake of thinking that the dangers of driving under the influence do not apply on the water. On the contrary, about half of all boating accidents involve drugs or alcohol, according to the Boat U.S. Foundation.
- Falling overboard. For almost two decades, falling overboard has been the leading type of fatal accident, making drowning the leading cause of fatal boating accidents. Of the drowning victims, 88 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
- Fires and explosions. Most boats and PWC are powered by gasoline or diesel which is highly flammable and can explode or catch on fire.
- Capsizing. A boat or PWC can capsize because it retains water, in a collision, or simply because the operator lacks sufficient education to properly operate the vessel.
- Improper training/education. Visitors to Melbourne often rent a boat or PWC during their stay. When a renter fails to receive adequate training/education on the operation of the vessel it can contribute to an accident. Even boat owners often fail to properly educate themselves on boat safety and operation before taking their boat out onto the water.
- Defective equipment. A defective design or a defect in manufacturing can also contribute to a boating accident as can the failure to properly repair and/or maintain a boat or PWC.
Melbourne Boating Accident Injuries
A boating accident poses the same risk of serious injury as a motor vehicle accident on land poses to the occupants of the involved vessels as well as to those who are nearby in the water. The most common boating accident injuries, according to the FWC, are:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries, including spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries, including serious injury to vital organs
- Burn injuries
- Sprains and strains
Steps to Take Following a Melbourne Boating Accident
If you were injured in a boating accident, it is crucial to know what steps to take following the accident to ensure that your injuries are properly treated and that you are fully compensated for those injuries by the responsible party (or parties). Following a Melbourne boating accident, take these steps:
- Submit to a complete medical evaluation. Even if you initially feel as though you were not seriously injured, go directly to the nearest emergency room, and submit to a complete medical evaluation. Some of the most serious, life-altering, injuries do not produce immediate and easily recognizable symptoms. Having a medical evaluation done right after the accident also provides a direct link between the injuries you did suffer and the boat accident, increasing the likelihood that you will be fully compensated for all your injuries.
- Document the accident. If you can do so, take photos of the boating accident and the scene of the accident. At some point, you should also try to get contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident as well as the name and contact information of witnesses. If you rented the vessel, also note the name and owner/manager of the rental company. Keep copies of all medical records, insurance estimates, therapy bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident.
- Consult with an experienced attorney before talking to an insurance company. If another party was partially or wholly at fault in the accident you may be contacted by their insurance company shortly after the accident. They may ask you to provide a statement. Do not comply with his request! In fact, do not speak to an insurance company at all until you have consulted with an experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyer first. Insurance companies routinely contact victims in the days after an accident and offer them a token amount of money to resolve all claims. That token amount of money may sound like a good deal; however, your claim may be worth considerably more than what you were offered. Only an experienced attorney can evaluate your claim and advise you when it is in your best interest to accept a settlement offer.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Melbourne Boat Accident Injuries?
As the victim of a Melbourne boat accident, you may be entitled to compensation for both your physical and emotional injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and other care costs
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished qualify of life
If a family member was fatally injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, compensation may be awarded to a claimant if the victim was a spouse or parent who can no longer provide the companionship, care, and support they provided prior to the accident.
Contact the Experienced Melbourne Boat Accident Lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L.
If you were injured in a boat accident, or you are the surviving family member of a victim who was fatally injured in one, contact the experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L. to discuss your legal options. We are dedicated to making sure that victims who were injured in a preventable accident are fully and fairly compensated by the responsible party or parties. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 321-773-2111 or by filling out our convenient Intake Evaluation Form online.