The Florida injury lawyers at Hannon Legal Group have been representing victims of boating accidents all over the state through their offices in Miami and Orlando. Our attorneys have received recognition for their legal skill and ethics from several respected sources including U.S News and World Report, the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and the Wall Street Journal and they frequently lecture and have written several articles on various aspects of Florida personal injury law and trial strategy and techniques.
The term "boating accident" as used in this context includes accidents involving pleasure boats, yachts, personal water craft such as jet skis and wave runners, as well as other resort activities like paddle boarding, water skiing, kite boarding, para sailing and hang gliding.
Florida has over 10,000 miles of rivers, streams, lakes and ocean coastline as well as several large lakes. This abundance of water makes Miami, Key West, Fort Lauderdale and the rest of Florida an ideal place for people to come and enjoy water and resort activities. Our Miami, Florida boating accident lawyers want you to know that, as enjoyable as these activities can be, they are also potentially very dangerous and can lead to serious injury or death when equipment is not properly maintained or when someone is otherwise negligent.
Every boat and personal watercraft operator has a legal responsibility to operate their vessel and navigate the waters safely. When a vessel operator is negligent, they along with the owner can be held liable for the harm that results. Examples of negligent operation of a boat or other type of vessel include operating while intoxicated, anchoring in a channel, going too fast for conditions, failure to use navigation or anchor lights while operating at night, failure to know and obey the "rules of the road," failure to make sure that safety equipment including lights are in good working condition, and failing to pay attention to surroundings among other things.
Occasionally, the defective design or manufacture of boats or personal watercraft is the cause of an accident. When a boat or personal water craft is negligently operated or maintained, the harm that results can be devastating.
On average, there are over 1,000 reported boating accidents every year in Florida with many causing serious, life altering injury and often death. The majority of these fatalities result from drowning, and in many cases the victims were not wearing life jackets.
The injuries that can result from boating accidents are often severe and can include traumatic brain injury, closed head trauma, spinal cord injury, paralysis, fractures, drowning, death and even amputation and severe, permanent disfigurement from lacerations caused by contact with boat propellers.
The majority of deaths from these accidents are classified by investigators as drowning even when other incapacitating injuries were inflicted. Drowning often occurs because of injuries sustained in the initial impact before victims end up in the water. In the case of a collision with another boat or navigation aid, vessel occupants are often injured when they strike the interior of the boat as they are being thrown into the water.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or FWC has jurisdiction over most of the boating accidents in Florida and is usually the government agency tasked with investigating boating accidents. They investigate a number of boating accidents each year. A significant spike in the number of boating accidents is usually seen on holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Columbus Day, New Years Eve and during mini lobster season when more boats are on the water. The 4th of July and New Years Eve present an unusually heightened risk for boating since many boaters are on the water at night to watch fire works when visibility is poor making other vessels and channel markers more difficult to see.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a boating accident or an accident involving a personal water craft anywhere in the state of Florida, contact a Miami, Florida boat accident lawyer at Hannon Legal Group today. Our team of injury lawyers has considerable experience in handling marine and boating injury lawsuits throughout the state of Florida. Call (866) 835-6872 for a free consultation.