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Whether the accident occurred on a recreational boat, a jet ski, or a commercial vessel, the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan understand the legal issues involved in these types of cases and may be able to help you receive reimbursement for medical bills and other losses.
If you or someone you know has been injured while on a boat or water vessel, you may have legal recourse. To learn more about how a Tampa boating accident lawyer may be able to help, please fill out our free case review form today.
How Can a Tampa Boat Accident Attorney Help?
An attorney can advise you of the steps necessary to file, pursue, and litigate a boating accident lawsuit. While you focus on recovery, your attorney can handle all legal matters related to your claim, including determining the amount or type of compensation you may be owed and the party, or parties, which may be liable for your injuries.
Your attorney will also determine your best course of action and advocate for the jurisdiction most favorable to your claim. In doing so, your attorney will launch an investigation, which may include:
- 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
Our attorneys’ experience, knowledge of the law, familiarity with the Tampa area, and access to resources, including accident re-constructionists, has led to favorable outcomes for our boating accident clients. As a result of our attorney’s commitment and hard work, Morgan & Morgan has established an extensive history of successfully handling boat accident cases and recovering compensation for our clients’ losses.
Boating Accident Lawsuits
Many boating accident cases are brought under theory of negligence. If an individual fails to exercise reasonable care and an injury results, he or she may be considered negligent. Boat operators, boat owners, rental or sales companies, and manufacturers of the boat or its components are among the parties that could be held liable in a boating accident case.
For example, 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 the safety of other boaters, guests, and property.
Failure to adhere to these requirements may be considered negligence. To prevail in a negligence suit, your attorney will have to show:
- The other party owed you some duty of care
- This duty of care was breached through some act or omission
- An injury was sustained
- The breach was the direct cause of your injury.
Some examples of a breach of duty include:
- Inexperienced operators
- Failing to pay attention to surroundings, including other boats and swimmers
- Insufficient or nonexistent navigation lights
- Driving with restricted vision
- Boating in hazardous waters or in inclement weather
- Failing to carry safety equipment
- Overcrowding or overloading the boat
- Operating at high speeds
- Failing to follow the “rules of the road”
- Defective machinery or equipment
- Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Lawsuits may also be filed under other causes of action, including reckless operation. When the operator’s violation of their duty is committed with “willful disregard for the safety of persons or property,” the attorney must not only prove the elements of negligence, but also show that the duty of care was breached by a willful disregard, instead of failure to meet reasonable standards.
Jet Ski Injury Lawsuits
As with other boating accidents, most Jet Ski accident cases are pursued under the theory of negligence. The injured must prove the other person had a duty of care to them, the duty was breached, and that an injury was sustained as a direct result of this breach.
Injuries sustained in Jet Ski accidents can be extensive, regardless of the cause of the accident, given the exposure of riders to risks of danger. Injuries sustained through a collision or from being thrown from the vessel can include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain and head trauma
Our Tampa attorneys handle Jet Ski accident claims stemming from:
- Operator inexperience
- Operation at high speeds
- Lack of proper operational and safety training as required by the Florida FWC
- Operating a vessel or Jet Ski under the influence of alcohol or drugs (BUI, BWI)
- Inattention to the existence of other boaters or swimmers
- Speeding by Jet Ski operators or other vessel drivers
- Defective machinery or safety equipment
- Insufficient or nonexistent navigation lights
- Restricted vision
- Hazardous waters or inclement weather
- Failure by a rental company to provide safety equipment to riders
- Negligent or reckless behavior of others
Limited Liability in Jet Ski Accident Cases
Jet Ski claims can be more complicated than other boating personal injury cases. Personal watercraft accidents may be subject to limited liability, meaning injured plaintiffs are precluded from filing lawsuits against certain defendants.
Federal and Florida state admiralty laws dictate that a vessel’s owner or renter may not be liable for an accident if the court believes the incident occurred due to circumstances beyond their knowledge or control.
In some cases, signed waivers can complicate an injured rider’s ability to file a claim against a negligent party for their losses. Personal watercraft renters are almost always required to sign a waiver to free the rental company or vessel owner from accident liability.
An individual cannot be forced to sign a waiver; however, their failure to do so may preclude them from renting a Jet Ski. Waivers, however, do not always bar an accident victim from seeking compensation. If a waiver is signed with the expectation that the rental company will fulfill its duty of care—its obligation to provide a safe riding environment and equipment—and the company fails to do so, a lawsuit may not be precluded.
A signed waiver may also be void if a plaintiff proves they did not receive adequate pre-rental or pre-ride safety instructions as required by law.
To determine if you are entitled to file a lawsuit against a negligent party, contact a Tampa Jet Ski accident attorney today to discuss your options.
Boating Accident Compensation
If your case is successful, the party or parties at fault may be required to provide compensation for the following:
Medical Expenses: Physical injuries sustained in a boating accident may require extensive medical treatment. Compensation may cover past and future hospital bills, rehabilitation, transport services, and other expenses.
Lost Wages: If you are unable to perform your job as a result of your injury, you may be able to collect compensation to recover the amount you would have made had you not been injured. If the injury is severe enough to require extensive care and leaves you permanently disabled, you may be entitled to compensation for future lost wages.
Pain and Suffering: While money may not directly help you or your family deal with emotional anguish caused by the accident, it can pay for therapy which may be needed to help treat the distress.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation if the accident was due to another’s negligence. To learn more about your legal options, contact us today. An experienced Tampa boat accident attorney will review your claim, at no cost or obligation to you.