The number of accidents, injuries and fatalities caused by boaters in Florida is on the rise. In 2016, Florida saw a rise of 20% in boating accident fatalities. In 2018 alone, 628 boating accidents were reported across Florida leading to 59 fatalities.
Boating accidents are often caused by a lack of knowledge about the causes. Many occasional or first-time boaters are also unaware that certain boating laws apply in Florida. And failure to observe these laws may lead to serious penalties.
Following are some of the most common types and causes of boating accidents.
Types of Boating Accidents
Boat collisions are a common type of boating accident. This is particularly so during the summers when many boaters take to the water. A boat collision may be caused by overspeeding, inability to control the boat, or sheer negligence. Injuries ranging from mild to very serious are common in a boat collision. This is because the people on board are not securely attached to a seat, like in a car. Instead, a collision sends everyone flying around and colliding with other onboard objects. Such a collision can also lead to serious head injuries.
Yacht accidents take place when inexperienced operators are behind the wheel. Yachts accidents are also more serious because of the sheer size of the vessel. In a collision with a smaller boat, the yacht may inflict more damage and injuries. Failure to observe suitable safety regulations and boating laws when operating a yacht can also lead to criminal and civil penalties.
Pontoon Boat Accidents
Pontoon boats may look like more fun and safe. However, they are as prone to accidents as other types of boats in Florida. You are more likely to be relaxed on a pontoon boat, leading to negligence in properly operating the vehicle. The propellers of the pontoon boat can also become a hazard, especially if passengers on board consume alcohol and become more likely to lose balance.
Rental Boat Accidents
Another common type of boating accidents is rental boat accidents. Occasional boating enthusiasts can rent a boat from various companies across Florida. When you rent a boat, you are given a quick tutorial on the boat controls and then asked to sign a waiver. However, as an occasional driver, you may not have the expertise or skill to navigate the rental boat well. This can lead to accidents and injuries. If a rental boat accident is caused by a mechanical failure in the boat, you may be entitled to seek compensatory damages from the rental company.
Marina and Dock Accidents
A boating accident may occur even when you are not actively navigating the waters. The careless or negligent actions of the workers at a marine or dock can cause an accident that affects your boat. This, in turn, can lead to injuries. You will be liable to seek damages from the at-fault party in such a case. However, it is important to get legal help from a Florida boating accident injury lawyer when filing a compensation claim.
Causes of Boating Accidents
A boating accident may be caused by a number of factors. Following are some of the common factors that cause boating accidents:
- Operator Errors: Navigating and operating a boat requires a good deal of skill and expertise. The operator is responsible for making sure the boat is navigated safely and standard protocols are observed. A driver who is inexperienced, a complete novice or simply careless may lead to errors that can cause boating accidents.
- Driving While Intoxicated: Operating a boat while drunk is as dangerous as driving a car under the influence. In Florida, boating under influence (BUI) is a criminal offense. BUI penalties in Florida involve a fine of $500 to $1,000 along with a jail sentence of up to 6 months.
- Failure of Equipment: In some cases, the operator of the boat may not be responsible for a boating accident. This happens when the faulty equipment of a boat causes an accident. In such a case, the prosecution will see if the equipment’s upkeep was the responsibility of the operator, the boating company, the manufacturer or another entity.
Hiring a Lakeland Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a boating accident in Florida, you may be entitled to compensatory damages. Here at Burnetti P.A., we specialize in helping you get a fair compensation for your injuries in such an accident. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation and let out Lakeland area personal injury lawyers help you.