How to Find the Best Boat Accident Lawyer in Big Pine Key, Florida

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Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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How to Find the Best Boat Accident Lawyer in Big Pine Key, Florida - Boat ride

Boat Accident Lawyer in Big Pine Key, Florida

If you live in the Florida Keys or had the pleasure of spending time there on business or vacation, you understand that boating and fishing represent the two most popular outdoor recreational activities in the area. Not only are both sports popular among residents and visitors, but they also drive the tourism economy from Key West to Key Largo. Big Pine Key, Florida is a great location for boating, whether you cruise the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to US Highway 1 or explore the tranquil backwaters that surround the town.

Florida boating and fishing hot spots such as Big Pine Key are a paradise for avid outdoor recreational enthusiasts, but there lurks a perilous underside called boating accidents that sends victims to local healthcare facilities to receive treatments. According to statistics released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida continues to lead the United States in the number of registered vessels and the highest number of reported boating accidents. In 2020, the FWC reported 836 boating accidents, which caused 70 fatalities. Monroe County reported the most boating accidents at 99, with 52 victims sustaining some type of injury

If you sustained one or more injuries as a result of a boating accident, you should learn how to find the best boating accident lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL. Since 1988, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have recovered more than $20 billion for clients, with some of the favorable legal judgments involving boating accident cases. The key to receiving just compensation for the injuries caused by a boating accident is to prove at least one other party committed an act of negligence.

Learn more about how to receive just compensation for your injuries by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of our experienced boating accident lawyers.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • What Are the Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents?

    The first step for proving negligence for any type of personal injury case is to determine the cause of the incident. Boating accidents occur for a wide variety of reasons, with operator error representing the most common cause of a boating accident.


    The dangerous habit many drivers have when operating a motor vehicle while distracted also plays a role in causing boating accidents. Distractions can include eating, texting, and watching marine life move about the water. Boat operators have a duty of care to operate a boat by paying attention to factors such as weather conditions and the placement of buoys. Research indicates inattention represents the most common cause of boating accidents.


    As the second leading cause of boating accidents, operator inexperience leads to poor decisions that place everyone on a boat in harm’s way. Boat operators must know about the basics of boating, including navigation rules, admiralty law, and how to handle emergencies.

    Under the Influence

    Operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol represents the third most common cause of boating accidents. Operating under the influence also is the leading cause of fatalities that result from marine vessel collisions. In fact, the same number of people died from drug and/or alcohol-related boating accidents in 2014 as the top three causes combined.

    Exceeding Speed Limits

    Unlike American roads and highways, the nation’s waterways do not have speed limit signs strategically placed every few miles. However. Florida has established speed limits for different types of vessels. Exceeding the speed limit gives passengers less time to react when danger lurks ahead. As with a motor vehicle, the faster the speed, the stronger the impact of a collision.

    Failure of Parts and Equipment

    Two factors can compromise the safety standards used for boat equipment. First, the owner of a boat does not follow the proper maintenance schedule. Second, the manufacturer of a boat installed faulty parts and/or equipment during the construction process. For poor maintenance, you can hold the owner of the boat accountable for causing an accident. The second reason for failed parts and equipment is the responsibility of the boat manufacturer.

    Knowing how to find the best boat accident lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL can help you prove the negligence committed by the owner or operator of a boat, as well as the manufacturer of the marine vessel.

  • How Do I Prove Negligence for a Boating Accident?

    The first step for proving negligence is for the personal injury attorney you hire from Morgan & Morgan to determine the cause of the boating accident. If poor weather caused a boating accident, you cannot prove another party committed an act of negligence. Once your legal counsel determines the cause of a boating accident, your attorney has to demonstrate the presence of the four elements of negligence.

    Duty of Care

    Duty of care means another party is legally responsible to prevent you from getting hurt. In boating accident cases, the operator of the marine vessel has a duty of care to ensure the safety of every passenger. Boat manufacturers also assume a duty of care by constructing boats that protect passengers against injuries.

    Violating the Duty of Care

    Once your lawyer from Morgan & Morgan establishes a duty of care, the next element for proving negligence involves showing the other party violated the duty of care doctrine. For example, a boat operator has a duty of care to keep you safe at all times. When the boat operator begins to consume alcohol, the boat operator is close to violating the duty of care doctrine. This element requires your legal counsel to prove the boat operator committed one or more acts of negligence.

    Caused the Boating Accident

    Let’s say the boat operator started to consume alcohol, but the amount of consumption did not reach the legal limit for blood alcohol content as established by the state of Florida. The boat collided with another boat and the reason for the collision was the improper placement of buoys. The operator of the boat cannot be held responsible for the boating accident.

    Financial Losses

    After your Morgan & Morgan boat accident lawyer proves causation, the final element to demonstrate is that the cause of the boating accident produced financial losses. For instance, a boating accident caused by a negligent operator that generated $3,000 in medical bills produced financial losses. The whole point of filing a lawsuit for negligence is to recover the financial losses caused by a boating accident.

  • What Does Comparative Negligence in Florida Mean?

    Every state has enacted laws that establish the legal ground rules for negligence. Personal injury lawsuits that end up assigning all the blame for an incident to one party allow the plaintiff to sue for the entire amount of an award for monetary damages. However, most states operate on some form of comparative negligence, which assigns a percentage of blame to the parties involved in a personal injury incident.

    Florida operates on the pure comparative negligence principle. If you plan to file a civil lawsuit for a boating accident in Big Pine Key, Florida, you should understand what pure comparative negligence means before filing the proper documents to take legal action. Florida judges that award monetary damages to plaintiffs that file civil lawsuits must determine how much blame each party should assume before awarding the monetary damages.

    Let’s assume you were involved in a boating accident that resulted in a mild concussion and fractured arm. The boat operator failed to check every blind spot before docking the boat, which caused the boat to collide with another vessel. You fell to the ground, broke your arm, and hit your head on the side of the boat. Although the boat operator appears to be 100 percent at fault for causing the accident, you might have done something to create one of the blind spots. If the judge assigns you 25 percent of the blame for causing the boating accident, then then the value of monetary damages that you receive decreases by 25 percent.

  • How Do I Find the Best Boat Accident Lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL?

    Knowing how to find the best boat accident lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL starts by researching the professional credentials established by the litigators at Morgan & Morgan. You should discover that our team of personal injury lawyers checks off all of the following criteria.

    Experience Litigating Boat Accident Cases

    One of the many advantages of working with a large law firm such as Morgan & Morgan is you can find a highly-skilled litigator who handles boat accident cases. Although we have a personal injury division working at our law firm, we break down the large personal injury division into more specialized legal fields, such as car accidents, boat accidents, and product liability cases.

    You need to hire an experienced boat accident attorney because of the dozens of Florida laws that dictate the operation of a marine vessel.

    Represents You From the First Day to the Last Day

    Some personal injury lawyers meet with clients for a first meeting, only to disappear until the resolution of a case. They delegate most of the legal responsibilities to paralegals and/or less experienced litigators. At Morgan & Morgan, the lawyer assigned to your boat accident case represents you from the day of the first meeting to the day when your case gets resolved.

    Responsive Communicator

    There is too much at stake for you to work with a boat accident attorney who fails to return emails, phone calls, and text messages in a timely manner. Yes, your lawyer will be busy handling other cases, but that does not mean you should be left hanging with unanswered questions. The personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan always operate under the philosophy of “the client comes first,” which means we keep you informed every step of the way during the legal process.

    Tries to Negotiate a Settlement

    An experienced personal injury attorney tries to negotiate a settlement before taking a case to trial for litigation. At Morgan & Morgan, our boat accident lawyers possess highly effective negotiating skills that can lead to a favorable settlement that avoids a costly and lengthy civil trial. However, if we fail to reach a favorable settlement, your personal injury attorney will not hesitate to take your case to the trial phase of the litigation process.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today with the best boat accident lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL.

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