Whether you prefer water-skiing behind a fast boat in a lake, drifting along a river on a pontoon, or sailing along the coast in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida draws boat lovers from around the world year-round. In fact, many “snowbirds” head south to the balmy waters of the Sunshine State to escape the frigid winter temperatures up north. Whether you are a year-round resident boater or a snowbird who only spends winters on your boat, it is important to be aware of the risk of serious injury in a boating accident. If you do suffer injuries, or you lose a loved one in a Melbourne boat accident that was the result of negligence on the part of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, trauma, or loss.
At Layman Law Firm, P.L. we have witnessed the devastating impact a Melbourne boat accident can have on a victim and the victim’s family. Struggling to locate proper medical care, managing psychological and emotional trauma, and attempting to navigate a complicated legal system are a few of the challenges victims face in the aftermath of a boat accident. Instead of facing these challenges alone, let an experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyer help. We are devoted to putting our exceptional skills, considerable resources, and extensive experience to work protecting the rights of victims and ensuring that you are fully and fairly compensated for all your Melbourne boat accident injuries. Contact the team at Layman Law Firm, P.L. today by calling 321-773-2111 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.
What Causes Melbourne Boating Accidents?
Florida leads the nation both in the number of registered boats and the number of boating accidents. To help better understand what factors contribute to boating accidents in the State of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) investigates boat accidents throughout the state and publishes their findings annually in a “Boating Accident Statistical Report.” The FFWCC’s 2022 report indicates that reportable boating accidents decreased year over year; however, there were still 735 reportable boating accidents in 2022. Under Florida law, a “reportable boating accident” is one in which any of the following applies:
- A person dies.
- A person disappears under circumstances that indicate possible death or injury.
- A person receives an injury requiring medical treatment beyond immediate first aid.
- There is at least $2,000 aggregate property damage to the vessel(s) or other property.
- There is a total loss of a vessel.
Although the overall number of boating accidents decreased in 2022, the number of boat accident fatalities increased, with 65 deaths compared to 60 fatalities in 2021. In addition, another 457 people suffered non-fatal injuries in a 2022 boat accident. According to the FFWCC report, May and June are the deadliest months and the hours between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. are the deadliest time for boaters. The report pointed to a lack of boater education and operator inexperience as leading causes of Florida boat accidents along with the following contributing factors:
- No proper look-out/inattention (216)
- Operator inexperience (100)
- Other (70)
- Machinery failure (60)
- Excessive speed (43)
- Weather (34)
- Carelessness/recklessness (29)
- Alcohol use (26)
- Hazardous water (24)
- Off throttle steering-jet (22)
What Are Some Common Boating Accident Injuries?
The FFWCC report also tells us that 42 percent of the injuries occurred to operators of a boat while occupants suffered the remaining 58 percent of injuries. Surprisingly, just three percent of victims were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the boat accident. Non-fatal boat accident injuries, in order of descending prevalence, include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Teeth and jaw injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Neck injuries
How Can an Experienced Melbourne Boating Accident Lawyer Help?
It is often difficult to know what steps need to be taken following a Melbourne boat accident, yet the steps you take are crucial to protecting your rights and holding an at-fault party accountable. To ensure that you preserve your right to pursue compensation, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyer as soon after the accident as possible. Boat accidents can be factually complicated and legally complex, due in part to the numerous potentially responsible parties. When a party’s negligent or wrongful conduct caused or contributed to a boat accident, that party may be held legally liable and required to compensate an injured victim or surviving loved ones. Examples of the numerous potentially liable parties include the operator of a boat, the manufacturer of the boat, a boat leasing company, and the captain.
An experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyer will evaluate the case and identify all potentially liable parties. Having an experienced attorney on your side also ensures that you will not miss crucial deadlines, such as the statute of limitations determining how long an injured victim has following an accident to initiate litigation. Depending on the facts of the case, the location of the boating accident, the type of vessel involved, and other factors, the statute of limitations could range from one (1) to three (3) years. The inherently complex nature of boat accident litigation highlights the benefits of having an experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyer by your side.
What Type of Compensation Am I Entitled to in a Melbourne Boat Accident Case?
Injured victims or surviving family members of someone who was fatally injured could be entitled to economic and non-economic damages in a Melbourne boat accident case. Economic damages provide compensation for out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, such as lost wages, doctor and hospital bills, and repairs to your boat or other personal property. Non-economic damages are aimed at compensating a victim for more subjective injuries, such as scarring, pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
If you are the surviving parent or child or someone who was fatally injured in a Melbourne boat accident, you may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit for things such as lost future earnings, pain, and suffering, and the loss of guidance and companionship.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Melbourne Boat Accident?
Always seek medical attention immediately following a boat accident and submit to a thorough examination. Your next priority, however, should be to consult with an experienced Melbourne boat accident lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. Your attorney will review the facts of your case and explain your legal options to you. Seeking justice for injured victims is our number one priority at Layman Law Firm, P.L. and we look forward to helping you recover the maximum compensation possible for all your boat accident injuries.