Admiralty and Maritime Law Attorneys in Big Pine Key30338 Overseas Highway, Unit 7
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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Admiralty and Maritime Law Attorneys in Big Pine Key
It's no surprise that residents of Big Pine Key have plenty of choices for admiralty and maritime law attorneys, considering the area is a prime destination for fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, and other watersports. Not to mention a fair amount of the local economy relies on recreational pursuits and the bounty of the sea. However, when it comes to recovering compensation under maritime law, it pays to work with a law firm that has recovered billions for its clients over the last 30 years. That's right, billions!
Morgan and Morgan Law Firm has been around since the 80s, and during that time, we've represented tens of thousands of clients who needed our help in the pursuit of justice. Our admiralty and maritime law attorneys are ready to represent your interests if you've been injured engaging in private recreational maritime activities or have suffered injuries while on the job in the maritime industry. There's simply no reason to leave the success of your claim up to lesser law firms who may not have lawyers who are willing to fight for you in court or may not have the resources and support staff to handle your case with the attention it deserves.
At Morgan and Morgan, we have what it takes to battle even the most prominent corporations when their negligence leads to harming one of our clients. In 2021 alone, we've taken on corporate giants like the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, AT&T, Google, Walmart, and Honda. Even though we're not afraid of challenging big corporations, that doesn't mean we only accept cases that will result in multi-million dollar settlements. Our motto is "For the People," which means we are committed to helping regular everyday people just like yourself when you've suffered harm through some other party's negligence.
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Are Maritime Accidents in Big Pine Key, Florida, More Common Than You Think?
Big Pine Key offers watersport enthusiasts fantastic opportunities for fishing and boating, and the nearby Looe Key attracts people looking to view remarkable sea life through diving and snorkeling excursions. Unfortunately, whenever there is the sea, boats, and people around, there's a risk of accidents. Commercial boating accidents are commonplace as well. Statistics released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) show that in 2020, Florida led the way with the most recreational boating accidents in the nation. Monroe County was number two in the top ten counties for boating accidents in Florida.
Morgan and Morgan's admiralty and maritime law attorneys in Big Pine Key can represent you in legal disputes resulting from various issues. Some popular Big Pine Key destinations where accidents could occur are:
- Big Pine Key Resorts
- Sunshine Key Camping Resort
- Bahia Honda State Park
- Old Wooden Bridge Resort and Marina
- Looe Key Marine Sanctuary
- Cudjoe Key
- Boca Chica
Public Boat Ramps:
- Blackwater Sound — MM 110 Bayside
- Harry Harris Park — MM 92 Oceanside
- Indian Key Fill — MM 79 Bayside
- Marathon — MM 54 Bayside
- Marathon Yacht Club — MM 49 Bayside
- West of 7 Mile Bridge — Bayside
- Spanish Harbor — Bayside
- Shark Key Fill — Oceanside
- Cudjoe Key — Bayside
- Stock Island Ramp — MM 7
- Key West — End of A1A
- Key West — End of Simonton St.
Whether an accident occurs while you're enjoying a vacation or if you're hurt while working, Morgan and Morgan is here to help you get the financial compensation you need for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any property damage.
Why Are the Leading Causes of Boating Accidents Around Big Pine Key, Florida?
According to FWC statistics, the primary cause of boating accidents around Big Pine Key, Florida, are as follows:
No proper lookout/inattention - Although one of the most basic rules of navigation, improper lookout is the number one reason why boating accidents occur in the Big Pine Key area and further out. Boat captains are responsible for maintaining an unobstructed view from the helm to avoid collisions with other boats, swimmers, skiers, and other obstacles. It's vital for captains to adjust how the boat is handled when there is heavy traffic, low visibility, or any other dangerous conditions while in control of the vessel.
Operator inexperience - Florida does not require an actual boating license to operate motorboats. However, residents born after January 1, 1988, need to successfully complete a boating safety course and get a Boating Safety Education Identification Card from the FWC to operate a motorboat with ten or more horsepower. While this goes a long way toward ensuring Florida boaters have some understanding of safety and operator procedures, tourists can gain temporary certificates to rent boats by answering just 25 questions successfully without ever handling a boat.
Visitors who rent boats are often the most dangerous on the water because they may not have any hands-on experience operating a vessel. A quick online course is no substitute for a skill that is developed over the course of time. A weekend warrior may not understand how to slow the boat down or avoid unsafe maneuvers.
Even Floridians that go through FWC requirements and get their identification card are still at risk of causing an accident if they don't have much experience captaining a boat.
Machinery failure - While many boating accidents are caused by operator negligence, some accidents occur through no one's fault. Machinery failure was the number three cause of Monroe County boating accidents in 2020.
Engine failure can cause fires, or the boat may suddenly lose power and result in loss of control which can cause dangerous conditions. An electrical failure can cause electrocutions or fire. If the boat loses power in the dark, the vessel is more prone to an accidental strike from another vessel. Finally, fuel system failure can cause the boat to die in the water. A fire hazard is possible, or worse yet, a fuel leak could lead to a fire on the water, which would endanger passengers who abandon the ship to escape flames aboard.
Weather - When boating in the Florida Keys, your vessel can be miles from shore, and the weather can change rapidly. Unless you're a regular visitor, you may not know the risks. In the Keys, tide monitoring is critical as the water can be very shallow in some areas. Weather can cause serious injuries and fatalities with little warning. For example, in July of 2022, heavy winds caused a charter boat captain to cut a line that tethered three parasailers because the gust-filled sails began to drag the boat. One of the parasailers, a relative of the other two, was killed when she struck the old Seven Mile Bridge.
It's crucial for boat captains to check weather reports and be aware of changing weather conditions. A reasonable boat captain would turn back to shore if they saw dangerous weather on the horizon.
Recklessness - Recklessly operating a boat is the same as negligence. Speeding, jumping wakes nearby other vessels, boating through prohibited areas, disregarding safety while navigating congested waters, or creating waves or wake conditions while close to others are all examples of recklessness. Boat owners are responsible for any injuries or damage caused by negligent behavior, whether they are in control of the vessel or allow others to use it.
Impaired boating - In Florida, boating under the influence (BUI) is a crime. As with driving, alcohol and drug use remains a serious issue when combined with boat operation. If a boat operator is found to be BUI, they can face civil litigation if they are the cause of an accident. If they cause serious injuries, they could be charged with a felony with the possibility of five years in prison. The blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. As with the operation of a motor vehicle, impairment causes slow reaction times, a decrease in critical thinking skills, and loss of muscle control.
According to the United States Coast Guard, alcohol is a primary contributor to fatal boating accidents. It's important to be aware that if you've been injured by something that was found to be BUI, a criminal conviction does not automatically result in financial restitution. Instead, it would be best if you talked to one of our admiralty and maritime law attorneys to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
What if I Got Hurt After Booking a Rental or Paid Excursion in the Keys?
The Florida Keys attracts visitors from around the world, meaning there are many opportunities to book charters and tours. If you or a loved one was injured or killed after booking such an excursion, we could work with you to determine who can be held liable. Many potential parties, such as marinas, boat manufacturers, and rental companies, can be held accountable. Even if you signed a waiver, some circumstances could allow you to bypass the release and hold them responsible if they were negligent. Morgan and Morgan Law Firm is well versed in the law that governs these unique circumstances.
Commercial Boating Accidents
Workers that are employed on commercial fishing or tour boats and suffer an injury can likewise be well represented by Morgan and Morgan Law Firm. Our maritime lawyers have a deep understanding of maritime law and how it affects workers. We can assist in helping to navigate the complexities of maritime insurance claims, including claims under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act and the Jones Act.
If you are a seaman who works at least 30% of your time on a vessel, you may qualify for compensation under the Jones Act should you be injured on the job. The captain of the ship and even fellow workers can be held liable for your injuries, even if they are just a little at fault. Slip and falls are one of the most common injuries aboard a ship. Under the specifics of the Jones Act, you may be entitled to compensation if you get hurt by a slip and fall, a burn, toxic exposure, lifting heavy objects, or even repetitive motions. A successful Jones Act claim could entitle you to recover damages for:
- Medical expenses, past, and future
- Lost earnings and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
While a Jones Act claim may seem straightforward, some injured workers may not account for future losses and expenses. For example, calculating lost future earnings and future medical expenses often require the help of a professional economist. At Morgan and Morgan, we have a vast network of industry professionals that can provide expert guidance in these matters.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act functions much like regular workers' compensation, but it's specifically designed for certain workers. Those covered are longshore workers, shipbuilders, repairers, and harbor construction laborers who are injured on U.S. navigable waters or on or around piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and areas where vessels are loaded and unloaded. If you are injured, or a loved one is killed in this line of work, compensation can include the following:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation services
- Survivors benefits
Contact Morgan and Morgan for a Big Pine Key Recreational or Commercial Boating Injury
Many maritime accidents occur because of negligence or disregard for safety protocols and regulations. The captain or owner of a boat can be held liable for damages that result from this kind of behavior. You have protections under maritime law, and we can help you take legal action to recover losses. However, acting soon is essential to ensure your rights are protected. You deserve to be represented by a law firm that understands the intricacies of maritime law and isn't afraid to challenge insurance companies.
With our legal counsel, you have a strong chance for success. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. You only pay if we win.
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