Fort Lauderdale is considered by many to be the boating capital of the world, and for good reason. Our city’s numerous marinas, year-round sunny weather, and famous international boating show make it a haven for both recreational boaters and maritime workers.
However, anytime a boat ventures out into open waters, there’s a chance of an accident — even for the most experienced boaters. Dock workers also face safety hazards unique to their profession. Are you prepared for the possibility of being injured at sea?
Whether you’re a recreational boater, sailor, or dockworker, complex laws surrounding injuries on boats and water vessels can make seeking legal recourse difficult. That’s where one of our boating accident attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help.
The attorneys at our Fort Lauderdale office have decades of experience handling cases involving accidents on recreational boats, jet skis, and commercial vessels, as well as maritime and offshore worker injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of income, and more.
Laws Protecting Maritime Industry Workers
The Jones Act: Under the Jones Act, sailors are entitled to medical treatment as a result of injury or disease, as well as “maintenance and cure,” regardless of fault. Relief and benefits under the Jones Act are available to any seamen who spend at least 30 percent of their time aboard a Merchant Marine vessel.
In addition, workers are permitted to file a claim against a negligent employer or the vessel’s owner alleging that the vessel was not seaworthy. Claims that may not be covered by the Jones Act can be brought against a third party who may have contributed to an injury or disease.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA): The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal workers’ compensation program that provides employment-injury and occupational-disease protection to all qualified longshoremen and harbor workers. If a maritime worker is injured on the job, or if the injuries had a “traditional relationship to maritime employment,” they may be eligible for relief. Pursuing compensation following an offshore injury can be difficult, as the laws surrounding these programs are complex. Our maritime law attorneys can help you determine if you have a viable claim following your workplace injury.
Recreational Boating Accidents
Under Florida boating regulations, boating operators have a duty to operate “in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard for other vessel traffic, posted restrictions, the presence of a divers-down flag and other circumstances” to ensure those on their boat and other boaters on the water are safe. If a boating operator fails to do adhere to these regulations, they may be found negligent and could be liable for your injuries. Examples of negligence on the part of a boating operator can include:
- Inexperienced operators
- Failing to pay attention to surroundings, including other boats and swimmers
- Insufficient or nonexistent navigation lights
- Boating in hazardous waters or in inclement weather
- Failing to carry safety equipment
- Overcrowding or overloading the boat
- Failing to follow the “rules of the road”
- Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
How Can a Fort Lauderdale Boating Accident Attorney Help?
Our boat accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale can guide you through the steps necessary to file and pursue a lawsuit. While you focus on your recovery, your attorney may take the following steps in order to bolster your claim and prove the negligent party was at fault, including:
- Extensively researching the history of the vessel and similar accidents in the area
- Reviewing the boating operator’s driving history and credentials
- Reviewing relevant sections in the applicable laws
- Researching case law for similar instances to support your position
- Investigating the scene of the accident or photographs
- Interviewing any witnesses to collect different perspectives to compose a well-rounded account of the incident
- Reviewing medical records and documents of your injury
- Consulting expert witnesses to gain additional insight into potential causes or other information vital to the claim
- Digitally recreating the accident
- Negotiating with attorneys and judicial officials
Although past success does not guarantee a future outcome, our boating accident attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have an extensive history of successfully handling boat accident cases and recovering the compensation our clients need and deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident caused by another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form to learn more today.