Were You Injured in a Watercraft Accident in West Palm Beach?
Whether you are on a boat, Jet Ski or some other watercraft, there’s always a chance of an accident. Maritime-related activities and boat accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death in West Palm Beach. Many times boating accidents occur because of carelessness or negligence which means that they’re easily preventable. When it comes to maritime and boating accidents, the state of Florida leads the nation.
Many people engage in boating and maritime-related activities in Florida. Unfortunately, with a large number of watercrafts on the waterways of Florida means a higher number of maritime-related accidents and boating accidents in the state. In this post, our West Palm Beach maritime injury lawyers discuss maritime laws of Florida, common causes of boating accidents in the state of Florida, the injuries people suffer in those accidents and the kind of compensation you are entitled to in a maritime/boating accident.
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Maritime Laws of West Palm Beach
Boating is a major part of Florida’s tourist and recreational industry. This is why there are many regulations that cover maritime-related activities in the state. In Florida, there isn’t any age requirement for boating. Moreover, operators over the age of 30 aren’t required to have any boating license or to undergo safety courses. This is why many boaters in Florida aren’t trained properly in boating or are licensed. This makes boating and maritime-related activities dangerous.
Many residents of Florida are unaware that accidents occurring on public waterways fall under federal admiralty jurisdiction. This means that the accident case can be brought in the federal courts of Florida. Different laws are applicable to injuries a person sustains in a cruise or boat accident. Hence, your maritime and West Palm Beach personal injury attorney must know the standards that must be used when making a claim at the court for compensation.
For example, admiralty or maritime standards must be used when making a claim for negligence, not vehicle accident standards. The attorney you hire should be qualified for federal court cases and should have experience in handling such cases. Many lawyers don’t have such experience.
Common West Palm Beach Maritime Accidents
Many maritime accidents in Florida occur when a boat collides with another vessel. Many overboard drowning accidents involving drugs or alcohol have also been reported. A few of the major boating accidents in Florida include:
- Falls overboard
- Colliding with another vessel
- Colliding with a fixed object
- Fuel Fires
- Fall on boats
- Wake damage
Florida has many different waterways. The speeds and rules of boating on waterways in the state differ. Maritime-related accidents in Florida are more likely to occur in bays, ocean, creeks, and rivers.
Majority of boating accidents in the state occur during fishing or recreational cruising because operators aren’t paying attention. This happens because inexperienced operators are allowed to cruise in Florida waterways.
Many maritime-related accidents also occur in the waterways of Florida when someone drinks too much alcohol before operating a vessel. When a person boats under the influence of alcohol, they aren’t able to operate their vessel safely which increases the likelihood of an accident.
A person may be held liable for a boating accident if they were operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or their blood alcohol was above the .08 percent limit. A few common reasons for maritime-related accidents in Florida include:
- Improper training
- Alcohol use and drug use
- Impaired vessels
- Operator error
- Failure to supervise or instruct
- Liability in a Boating Accident
Those who are operating a vessel in a negligent way can be held liable for a boating accident. If you are operating a vessel without adhering to safety precautions, it means that you’re operating the vessel in a way that endangers everyone on your boat and those near it. Therefore, if you crash into another boat, you may be liable. If someone who is operating another vessel crashes into you, they may be found liable too. It all depends on circumstances surrounding a particular incident.
West Palm Beach Injuries in Maritime/Boating Accidents
As many different types of maritime-related accidents occur in Florida, there isn’t any single kind of injury that’s most common. In a boating collision, a victim may suffer from a West Palm Beach traumatic brain injury, lung infections because of water inhalation, burns, broken bones, and spinal injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are most serious which may occur if your boat crash or capsizes and you’re tossed overboard into rocks or any other solid object. If you only hit the water, you’ll suffer less serious injuries.
Compensation After a Maritime Accident in West Palm Beach
People who are injured in a maritime-related accident or a boating accident in Florida may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost earning capacity, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
One problem that is often faced by people involved in maritime-related accidents is that they generally don’t have insurance to cover boating accidents. So, if they are injured while operating a boat, Jet Ski or any other watercraft, they won’t be covered by an insurer for their medical bills and other needs. Their only option will be to seek compensation for their damage from the negligent boat operator. This boat operator may not even have the money required to cover the victim’s expenses.
Victims of boat accidents in Florida should consult a boat accident lawyer for pursuing a claim against negligent boat operators whose actions led to the accident and caused them harm. When a boat operator is negligent or careless, the boat accident lawyers at Shiner Law Group can help those injured in a maritime/boating accident get compensated for their injuries and damage.