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Boating Accidents

Experienced Boating Accident Lawyer In Miami, FL

From motorboats and canoes to kayaks, jet skis, sailboats, and cruise ships – on any day of the week you’ll find a variety of vessels exploring Florida’s 825 miles of beaches, 1,260 miles of coastline, or 11 thousand miles of rivers and streams. Unfortunately though not all trips on the water are pleasant ones; maritime accidents that result from someone else’s negligence do occur without notice. If this sounds like something you have experienced recently then seeking out an experienced Miami boating accident attorney who specializes in maritime accident cases may be your best line for helping obtain some measure compensation. Contact Florida Legal today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

Common Types of Boating Accidents

While boats are often labeled as “dependable” and “unsinkable,” accidents can happen on any vessel. Navigating Florida’s waterways presents its own set of difficulties due to unpredictable weather patterns, ensuring that the person steering recreational or commercial vessels must be extra vigilant. Boats regularly seen in the state of Florida that may become involved in mishaps include:

  • Cruise ships
  • Yachts
  • Sailboats
  • Personal Watercrafts
  • Kayaks
  • Inflatable boats
  • Fishing vessels
  • Motorboats
  • Tugboats
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Common Causes of These Accidents Include

Out of all fifty U.S. states, Florida proves to be the most dangerous when it comes to boating accidents; with an alarming 16.8% reported in 2013 alone. In total, 4,062 serious boating accidents occurred nationwide that year – a shocking 685 of which were in Florida itself and led to 58 fatalities – both figures higher than those from 2012 reports. As reported by the U.S. Coast Guard, a mere 11 of the 50 states saw more than 100 boating accidents with serious injuries, and Florida ranked first for the highest incidents – followed by California and New York. Of these cases, it appears that the following key factors have contributed most to serious boating accidents:

Alcohol Use

In the United States, operating any watercraft while under the influence is one of the leading causes of boating accidents. When people choose to consume alcohol before or during their time out on the open waters, they are substantially more likely to get into an accident with another vessel or make a costly mistake that results from poor weather assessment and navigation errors. Contrary to popular belief, DUIs are not exclusive to car accidents, they are also true for boating and maritime accidents as well.

Distracted Boating

Operating a watercraft can be just as hazardous as driving any other motor vehicle if one is not paying attention to their surroundings. If the captain of a boat fails to notice floating objects, boats, and swimmers around them until it’s too late, accidents or injuries could result in dire circumstances. To avoid this kind of tragedy, Florida boaters must remain alert while they are on the water.

Inexperienced Boat Operators

Florida’s regulations on boat driving are notoriously lenient – allowing anyone aged 14 or over to take the helm without the need for a boater education course. This is highly hazardous though, as it means novice seafarers often get behind the wheel of powerful vessels and underestimate the expertise required for safe operation.

Towing Accidents

Navigating the waters with a person in tow can be exhilarating, yet perilous. This is often seen when performing water sports such as wakeboarding, tubing, kneeboarding, and more – all of which involve being tethered to the boat at high speeds. Unfortunately, these invigorating activities have their risks; an individual may crash into another vessel, rocks, or even docks – leading to possibly fatal injuries. Therefore it’s important that we exercise caution so that everyone stays safe while enjoying thrilling rides on the waves.

Vessel Collisions

Boating collisions are more frequent than one would expect and can have awful implications. If all passengers stay in the boat during an impact, they may be flung against objects that cause internal or external bruising, bleeding, broken bones, and so on. But even worse is if a passenger gets thrown into the water—drowning becomes an imminent danger then. The risk is especially high if the person sustained a head injury or consumed alcohol prior to the accident. Furthermore, should you be in a small boat when it crashes into a much bigger ship such as a yacht, then the danger becomes even more pronounced.


Boaters can easily lose control of their vessel when they’re speeding across the waves and hit a huge swell, causing it to flip entirely. Even collisions with other boats or stationary objects like bridges are not uncommon and often result in immense damage for both boat and crew alike. The speedier one goes, the worse the potential consequences become; thus, going slow is always wise.

Boating In Bad Weather

When the sky turns dark and gusts of wind whip around, it’s a clear sign that you should not take your vessel out onto open waters. Despite this warning, certain people may attempt to persuade their untrained passengers into believing they will be safe if they proceed ahead with their voyage.

Mechanical Defects

Despite a boat operator’s experience and adherence to proper safety protocols, they can be blindsided by mechanical or structural defects in their vessel. Whether it is an engine bursting into flames on a cruise ship or the rope snapping while towing water skiers, malfunctioning boats evoke tremendous stress for passengers and may even result in severe injury.

Jet Ski Accidents Are On The Rise In Florida

Florida is a state renowned for its water sports, one of which is jet skiing. Regrettably, when not operated safely, these vessels have the potential to cause considerable damage and over recent years there has been an increasing number of incidents reported. As such settlements are increasingly awarded to those who become victims due to another person’s negligent behavior while using a jet ski. 

Jet skis, being significantly smaller than boats, can result in more severe injuries. These accidents could cause considerable damage to the spinal cord, head, and limbs due to a variety of factors such as:

  • Poor instruction
  • Unsafe conditions
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Defective machinery
  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Overcrowding
  • Hazardous water conditions
  • Lack of supervision
  • Lack of proper training
  • Excessive speed

Jet skis have been dubbed the ‘motorcycles of the sea’, and for good reason. They are lightweight, compact, powerful vessels that can zip around waves at lightning speed in areas other boats cannot fit into – truly unlocking a whole new realm of aquatic exploration. However, accidents involving these vehicles are on the rise, and if you’ve been injured contact our jetski and boating accident attorney in Miami today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Florida Boat Accident?

When a boating mishap occurs, the culpability is often difficult to assess at first glance. In many cases, it can be troublesome to demonstrate who was liable in a court of law due to evidence being eliminated by water. Investigating and reconstructing such an accident is much more complex than one on land; therefore expert assistance may be necessary for concluding the fault accurately.

When it comes to boat crash accidents, consulting with a knowledgeable Miami boating accident lawyer quickly is of utmost importance. Their expertise and insight when determining who is responsible for the incident can be invaluable. Parties that may be liable in these types of cases include:

  • The boat owner,
  • The operator,
  • A passenger,
  • The boat manufacturer, or
  • The rental company that rented the boat

What If The Boat Driver Is Uninsured?

Boat accidents can be particularly difficult, as Florida boat operators are not legally required to have liability insurance. Therefore, if you become injured in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence and they don’t possess the necessary insurance coverage, then it could prove impossible for you to receive immediate medical compensation—leaving you greatly out of pocket. In this situation, your only option is potentially seeking recourse from the negligent operator. Unfortunately, they may lack sufficient funds to cover your expenses incurred through injury or loss sustained due to his actions.

Our experienced Miami boat accident attorney at Florida Legal can help identify whether a negligent owner or rental company should be held liable for any injury. If they were reckless in granting their vessel to someone without the proper training and expertise, they may owe you financial compensation through their insurance provider.

Why Should I Hire a Florida Boating Accident Attorney?

If you have been injured in a boating accident in Florida, it is essential to seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Although not all accidents necessitate legal counsel, many will and so obtaining one can help immensely during this difficult period for you and your family.

Having a boating accident lawyer in Miami on your side is the single most important factor in attaining fair compensation from insurance companies. Our legal team has specialized knowledge and resources to ensure that you do not get taken advantage of by their legal teams. Moreover, when insurers see that you’ve invested time into hiring such an experienced professional, they are likely to take the case more seriously and offer a higher settlement amount right away – something invaluable for both parties involved!

In the wake of a devastating injury caused by a boating accident, victims need someone they can depend on to navigate them through boat laws, file an appropriate claim, and champion fair compensation. Boating attorneys specialize in this domain and are best equipped to handle such claims, don’t take the risk of settling for less than what you deserve by attempting to manage it alone.

Contact Our Miami Boating Accident Attorney Today

Don’t delay in seeking legal counsel if you’ve been injured in a boating accident – there are time limits to consider. Maritime law sets a three-year statute of limitations on injuries that occur aboard most vessels, while cruise ships have only one year. If you wait too long and then decide to take action, it may be too late for your case; don’t let yourself get caught by the ticking clock.

Time is of the essence after a boating accident, and that’s why it’s recommended that you speak with a skilled Miami boating accident attorney as quickly as possible. During your complimentary initial consultation, we’ll thoroughly review all aspects related to your case and let you know what steps will be taken in order for you to receive just compensation. Contact us today so we can get started on your case and help you hold those responsible for your injuries accountable for their actions.