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Boat Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Anyone who lives in Florida or has frequently visited understands that water recreation represents the most popular activity in the state. With hundreds of lakes, streams, and rivers, along with the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is the Mecca for boating in the United States.
The popularity of boating in Florida means there are also a considerable number of accidents.
In 2020, more than 800 boating accidents occurred on Florida waterways, which is 113 more accidents than in 2019. Seventy-nine people died in Florida boating accidents in 2020, which is also more than the death toll from 2019. The growing number of boating accidents has led more Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers to get involved with boating accident insurance claims and cases that end up in a civil courtroom.
If you suffer from one or more injuries that were caused by a boating accident, contact the highest-rated personal injury law firm in the Sunshine State, Morgan & Morgan.
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What Are the Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents?
According to the United States Coast Guard (USCG), operator inattention represents the most common cause of boating accidents. Many of the same distractions that cause motor vehicle accidents caused boating accidents. Operator inattention can involve texting while operating a boat or watching a pod of bottlenose dolphins on the hunt.
The USCG also lists the following causes of boating accidents:
Boats need to be operated at safe speeds at all times. Even the most accomplished operators can get in trouble by ramping up the engine. Losing control of a boat at a high speed is one of the most common causes of boating accidents.
Operating Under the Influence
Florida makes it illegal for anyone to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Our reaction times slow down when we are under the influence and our decision-making process becomes less pragmatic.
Some of our boating accident cases involve product liability claims. A defective boat can cause an accident that leads to serious injuries. If you believe a defective boat caused an accident, contact a Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer to determine the best course of legal action.
Operating a boat can be difficult to do, more so than operating a motor vehicle. An inexperienced operator is more likely to make a mistake that causes a boat accident. This is especially true when operating a boat in poor weather conditions.
What Are the Most Common Types of Boat Accident Injuries?
Despite boating’s reputation for providing a quiet place to relax on the open water, the fact remains that in a state such as Florida, boating accidents are a common occurrence. Injuries range from minor bumps from a slip and fall to a fatality caused by drowning. The Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers at Morgan and Morgan have compiled a list of the most common types of boat accident injuries.
Although you might know how to swim, the rough waters in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico can be difficult to conquer. This is especially true during the tropical storm season that runs from June 1 to November 20. Some drowning accidents happen because the victims suffered from brain trauma caused by an incident such as a slip or fall or a collision with another boat.
For boat accidents, brain trauma developed in two ways. First, oxygen deprivation occurs because a victim remained submerged in the water for an extended period or was exposed to a substantial level of carbon monoxide. Second, a violent impact with a stationary object can trigger internal bleeding in the brain.
Most boats are equipped with sharp objects and devices that can produce deep lacerations. Even a minor collision with another boat can create deep lacerations in the arms and legs. Rapid moving propeller blades present a serious threat that includes the loss of a limb.
Damage Spinal Cord
Serious spinal cord injuries develop mostly because of a boat making strong contact with another boat or a stationary object. However, damage to your spinal cord can also occur because of spinal compression, which is due to a boat bouncing up and down for a prolonged period.
How Should You Handle a Boat Accident?
If you suffered one or more injuries that were caused by a boat accident in Florida, you should follow a few steps to ensure you build the strongest insurance claim or civil court case possible.
Seek Medical Attention
Injuries such as whiplash and concussions sometimes do not develop symptoms for hours, even days after a boat accident. The first thing to do after a boat collision is to get medical care. You need to submit medical records to an insurance claim for you to receive just compensation for your injuries.
As with a motor vehicle collision, you need to exchange information with every party that was involved in a boat crash. You should exchange contact information, as well the name of the other party’s insurance company and the other party’s insurance policy number.
Whether it is the Coast Guard or a law enforcement agency, an official report includes every piece of evidence that insurance company’s need to process claims. Nonetheless, collect evidence by taking photos of the crash scene and interviewing witnesses to the accident.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Boat Accident Lawyer
Every boat accident case requires all parties to file records and documents before the expiration of the statute of limitations. This is just one reason why you should contact a Fort Lauderdale boat accident attorney. The most important reason is to work with legal counsel that can present the most convincing insurance claim and/or civil case.
How Do You Find the Best Fort Lauderdale Boat Accident Lawyer?
You might have heard of the NCAA Selection Committee that whittles down a list of more than 200 teams to just 68 programs to play in the annual basketball tournament. When it comes to finding the best Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer, you act as the selection committee that whittles down a large list of candidates to a few prospects on your shortlist.
Here’s how you can find the best boat accident lawyer in Florida.
Trusted friends and family members provide a possible source for at least one recommendation of a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney. You can also ask your co-workers to provide one or more recommendations to add to your shortlist of candidates. If you know an attorney, reach out to get a name of a personal injury lawyer, preferably one that specializes in handling maritime law cases.
Florida Bar Association
Like many states, the Florida Bar Association operates a comprehensive website that includes a large database of lawyers from all legal practices. Simply access the Find a Lawyer web page and your online search can match you with the right boat accident attorney in Florida. One benefit of a state bar association website is you should be able to discover whether a lawyer or law firm under consideration has received any disciplinary action.
How Do You Choose the Best Boat Accident Attorney?
As the selection committee for finding personal injury lawyers, the time has come to compare each lawyer on your shortlist before making a decision on which attorney to select. The longer you wait, the higher your medical bills go and the longer you lose money because of missed time at work.
Start with Experience
Many lawyers like to highlight their years of experience, which is a smart thing to do. What you want to do is analyze the record of each lawyer on your shortlist of candidates. Getting an insurance claim approved or winning a civil judgment requires the legal expertise of an experienced boat accident attorney who also has compiled an impressive record of winning cases for clients.
Ask these questions:
- How long have you practiced law?
- What percentage of your cases involved personal injury incidents?
- Do you mostly represent plaintiffs or defendants?
- Do you know anyone from the other party’s insurance company?
Knows Florida Maritime Law
In Florida, your attorney takes into consideration the extent of your injuries and the compensation that should be awarded for sustaining the injuries. Then, your lawyer files a maritime lawsuit that closely follows the guidelines established by Florida maritime law. Under Florida maritime law, you have the right to seek just compensation for pain and suffering. Although difficult to prove, your attorney will work hard to demonstrate how a boat accident negatively impacted your mental and emotional states.
Open Lines of Communication
Communication with your boat accident lawyer is an important part of the legal process. You want to work with legal counsel that listens to your concerns, as well as understands what you want for just compensation. Your attorney will be busy litigating cases for other clients. However, that does not mean your lawyer does not have to return your emails, phone calls, and text messages in a timely manner.
Positive Client Reviews
Read the reviews every attorney on your shortlist of candidates has received from clients. You want to determine how well each lawyer represented clients, with an emphasis on attorneys that have successfully litigated boat accident cases. Yelp, Google, and Facebook are excellent sources for reading client reviews.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
As with other types of personal injury cases, a boat accident case can leave you with life-altering injuries. Whether you need to file a simple insurance claim or submit the paperwork to initiate a civil lawsuit, you should work with the best personal injury attorney in Florida, Morgan & Morgan. In fact, knowing how to find a Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer can start and stop with scheduling a free case evaluation with one of our personal injury attorneys.
Complete the online form or call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.