Summer is Boating Accident Season in Florida

We have mild weather year round here in Florida, but when the summer heat sets in, many Floridians are eager to get out on the lake, river and ocean. After all, what could be more fun than a day of boating, swimming, and sunbathing? However, boating accidents happen all too often, and their consequences can be severe.  Did you know there were record boat sales in 2020?  This means there will be many new boats and boat owners on the lakes, rivers and oceans this summer which also could mean more boating accidents this year.

The 2020 Boating Accident Statistical Report released 05/21/21 showed 836 boating accidents in 2020, the most in a year since at least 2011 and 16 percent more than in 2019. Meanwhile, the state recorded 79 boating deaths in 2020, also the highest total since at least 2011. The deaths were up 21 percent from 2019.

Liability for a Boating Accident

Liability for most boating accidents is very similar to liability for car accidents, and is often based in negligence. To win a personal injury suit for a boating injury based on negligence, the plaintiff must show that the boat operator failed to operate the boat as a reasonably prudent boat operator would have operated it and that this failure caused an injury to the plaintiff. This can include any conduct that falls below the standard of care that a reasonable boat operator would exercise–such as taking the boat out when weather conditions are not optimal, turning the boat the wrong way into a wake and causing it to capsize, going too fast to avoid hitting another vessel, or failing to provide adequate safety equipment. Boat operators can also be held civilly liable for personal injuries arising out of criminal conduct, such as boating under the influence.

Responsibilities of Boat Operators in Florida

Florida has laws in place that cover the use and operation of a boat or vessel. Just because a boat owner / operator is out on the water, there is no freedom per se to act negligently, carelessly, or recklessly just because you are off the land and seem to be away from civilization. Section 327.33, Florida Statutes provides as follows:

It is unlawful to operate a vessel in a reckless manner. A person is guilty of reckless operation of a vessel who operates any vessel, or manipulates any water skis, aqua plane, or similar decide, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property at a speed or in a manner as to endanger, or likely to endanger, life or limb, or damage the property of, or injury any person.

Florida law under Section 327.33, Florida Statutes further provides that:

Any person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state shall operate the vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner, having regard for other waterborne traffic, posted speed and wake restrictions, and all other attendant circumstances so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. The failure to operate a vessel in a manner described in this subsection constitutes careless operation.

It should also be noted that with any personal injury case, the conduct of the Defendant can be judged in part by the concepts of common sense and reasonableness. When someone suffers a boating injury as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another person or entity, there are a host of challenges and stresses put on the injury victim and the family of the injury victim. It is at these times that the injury victim and the family should seek out the help, guidance, and advice of a Florida Personal Injury Attorney.

The fault, liability, or responsibility for a boating accident is just one part of the case or claim involving the personal injuries of the victim.  Another important element of the claim or case is that of damages which relate to the type and severity of the type and severity of the personal injuries.  Factors that are considered when reviewing the value of a personal injury claim or case include the past medical bills, future medical bills, diagnoses of the personal injury related conditions and issues, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.

Contact Armour Law Group, Lake Nona Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the boat operator who was responsible. Contact the attorneys at Armour Law Group, Lake Nona Personal Injury Attorneys, for a free consultation to discuss your case.