Boating is the favorite pastime of many Fort Lauderdale residents. Unfortunately, not everyone is safe out on the water. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), there were over 700 accidents in Florida in 2015 alone. If you were injured in an accident with a negligent boat operator, a Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer can help you file a claim to recover compensation.
Call the boat accident attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. to discuss your case today: (954) 524-2820.
While various factors can cause an accident, operator error is a leading cause of boating accidents. Operator error can include:
In 2015, the FWC noted that operator inexperience was a factor in 51 accidents. Much of this inexperience occurs as a result of the one or more of the following:
When operating a boat, boaters are expected to adhere to safety regulations and remain focused on the water at all times. When a boat operator fails to exercise proper caution and control of their watercraft, they are behaving negligently. Many accidents are the result of boater negligence.
A common example of operator negligence is drinking while operating a boat. Just like on land, it is illegal to operate a vehicle, in this case a boat, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In order to file a successful suit against a boat operator after an accident, you will need to establish that the operator’s negligence makes him responsible for the accident in question and that his behavior caused you harm. To do so, you will need to prove the four basic elements of negligence:
Duty in a boat accident case is fairly easy to prove. Anyone who is operating a boat has a duty to exercise proper caution and follow the appropriate standard of care while in control of any watercraft. This is called the duty of care.
A big part of your case will be whether you can prove that the boat operator breached that duty and is therefore liable for your accident.
If a boat operator behaved negligently or made a mistake while operating the vessel, he may be at-fault for the accident that occurred. Some of the most common forms of boating negligence include:
Personal watercraft liability can arise in a number of situations. If an operator breached his duty of care by behaving negligently, you may be able to hold him liable for damages. You may prove breach of duty with:
A Fort Lauderdale boating accident attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove your case.
Your next step will be to prove that the boat operator’s negligence is what caused your injury. Use your medical records to prove that your injury was the result of the accident and not a preexisting condition.
You must also be able to prove that you sustained actual damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc.) in the accident. You can use the following to prove the damages you sustained:
According to the FWC, the top four injuries suffered by boat accident victims are:
Victims may also suffer back and neck injuries, sprains, strains, and burns. All of these injuries can lead to costly medical treatment, time off work, and pain and suffering for everyone involved.
Fortunately, if you are able to prove negligence, you can hold the operator liable for your injuries. If the boat operator carries insurance, you may be able to file a claim with his insurance company.
If the operator does not carry insurance, you may be able to recover both economic (e.g., lost wages, medical expenses, etc.) and noneconomic damages (e.g., pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.) in a boating accident lawsuit.
Filing a claim or lawsuit is trying; it is especially difficult if you are attempting to do so while also recovering from serious injuries. You do not have to do it alone.
Contact the attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. in Fort Lauderdale to discuss how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. For a free initial consultation, call (954) 524-2820.