Boating Accident Lawsuits: What You Need To Know
According to the United States Coast Guard registered over 650 boating accidents and 59 deaths that resulted from the boating accidents. It comes as no surprise that alcohol is involved as the leading cause of boating accidents. There are several factors that contribute to injuries from a boating accident. An experienced attorney in boating accident law, like the attorneys at St. Pete Law can help you determine compensation for your injuries.
Types of Boating Accidents
Most of the recreational boating accidents usually fall under four categories. They are:
• Hitting another boat:
When two boats hit each other, both boat operators will usually be held partially responsible. The court will determine the percent of each party’s responsibility based on the facts of the case. It is important to note that you cannot win a claim for damages unless your percentage of responsibility for the accident is less than 50%. Another aspect is that sailboats have more right of way than motorboats so if the collision is between a sailboat and a motorboat the driver of the motorboat will have the greater burden of proof.
• Hitting Another Boats Wake:
If the boat operator hits the wake of another boat, the impact can cause the passengers to fall or go overboard. By law, boat operators are required to practice safe boating. It is the boat operator's responsibility to look out for unsafe conditions so liability in these cases may not be clear. Your attorney will look at the following to help prove liability:
• Size of the wake
• Speed at time of impact
• Other traffic on the water
• Weather conditions
• Was a warning issued to passengers
A boat operator can be held liable if the boat was inside a “no wake zone”, if they were speeding in a crowded area, creating an inappropriate wake.
• Hitting a Wave:
Hitting a wave is not like hitting a wake as there is no other boat involved. However, the operator of the boat you are on may be held liable for injuries if your attorney can prove negligence was involved. Some of these negligent acts include:
• Inexperienced boat operator
• Distracted operator
• Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Not following navigational rules
• ot heeding adverse weather warnings.
• Poorly maintained equipment
• Hitting An Object:
If the boat operator hits an object like a submerged rock or timber, they could be liable for injuries that resulted from the collision. Your attorney will have to look at the details of the case for example if the operator was speeding or not following navigational charts at the time of the accident.
Establishing Negligence In A Boating Accident Lawsuit
If you are injured in a boating accident and believe someone else is to blame for your injuries, your attorney will need to establish that the defendant is liable for damages based on “negligence” To determine negligence in the state of Florida, you must prove four elements:
• Duty: The owner or operator of the boat had a legal responsibility to provide you safe conditions under reasonable care to cause no harm.
Breach Of Duty: The owner or operator of the boat failed to meet their duty. This mistake or unlawful behavior led to a breach of duty.
• Causation/Responsibility: This breach of duty is what is directly linked to your harm and led to your injuries.
• Damages: As a result of their breach of duty you suffered financial damages.
With boating accidents governing law also plays a part in the lawsuit. If the boating injury occurred in inland waterways, lakes, and close to shore they will in all likelihood be governed by Florida state laws. However, if your injuries occur in deeper waters far from the coast the federal admiralty laws will apply. The experienced attorney Michael Babboni has the knowledge and the ability to determine who is liable and what damages you are owed. He will also file your lawsuit in the appropriate court.