For outdoor enthusiasts, Florida offers countless ways to get out on the water, including lakes, creeks, swamps, open ocean, and the everglades. While this is an amazing opportunity for residents and tourists, it also creates chances for something to go wrong. In 2013 alone, Florida reported almost 700 boating accidents—more than any other state in the nation. Even if you are doing your best to operate your watercraft safely, sometimes it is impossible to avoid becoming involved in a crash with another boat operator who is putting others at risk. At the Law Offices of Adam Baron, our injury attorneys have the experience to guide Naples residents and others through the process of seeking compensation.Seeking Compensation from a Negligent Boat Operator
Boat accidents are not just limited to traditional boats but also encompass a variety of watercraft like jetskis. Establishing liability in a boat accident case is similar to proving liability in a motor vehicle crash. Like our roads and highways, the waterways are subject to numerous laws governing how boaters must operate their vehicles on the water, including everything from right-of-way laws to speed limits.
To show that a defendant is liable, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to operate his or her watercraft in the same way that a reasonably prudent boater would have operated it in a similar situation. If the water was choppy or rough at the time of a crash, for example, whether the defendant was driving safely under these conditions would be a key consideration. Also, if the defendant failed to observe any boating laws, the defendant is likely liable for at least some portion of the victim’s injuries.
After showing that the defendant failed to operate his or her boat with the appropriate level of care, the plaintiff must prove that this failure was the direct cause of his or her injuries. One of the most difficult aspects of a boating accident case is the preservation of evidence and accident reconstruction. Unlike a roadway or intersection, the open water can make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the accident. Also, by their very nature, locations on a river, lake, or ocean do not remain the same over time, making it hard to know exactly what conditions were present at the time of the crash. If you have been involved in a boat accident, it is important to take photographs and write down notes about the conditions that existed at the time of the crash.
The final element of a negligence claim consists of showing damages. These may be both economic and non-economic, but they must be reasonably quantifiable. Some common examples include medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.Enlist a Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney in the Naples Area
If you or someone you love has been involved in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Due to the high number of these events in Florida each year, it is important that you seek representation from a lawyer who is well-versed in negligence law. Our capable motor vehicle collision lawyers can advocate for individuals in Naples and the surrounding cities who have been harmed on the waterways. Our clients come from throughout Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, including Coral Springs, Miami, Tamarac, Fort Myers, and North Miami Beach. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at one of our three locations: Broward County at 954-247-4878, Miami-Dade County at (305) 770-2131, or Naples/Fort Myers at (239) 352-5511.