What to Do After a Boating Accident

boat on water in Florida

The recent death of MLS soccer player Anton Walkes while boating has shocked Miami and the world. Walkes, a 25-year-old who played for Charlotte FC, died when the vessel he was operating collided with another boat. This tragic accident has served as a reminder of how devastating boating accidents can be, and we all mourn the loss of Anton Walkes.

At Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A., we have seen first-hand how difficult it can be to recover from injuries sustained during a boat accident. We have also witnessed the devastation that losing a loved one brings. Below we discuss how boating accidents can occur and what to do if you or a loved one is injured or killed in a boating accident.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents?

Waterways in Florida are governed by either the state or the federal government depending on where you are. However, regardless of which waterway you are on, boat operators have a responsibility to operate their vessels safely. When boat operators fail to do so, accidents happen, and people are injured or even killed as a result.

Common causes of boating accidents:

  • Incorrect or negligent operation
  • Reckless operation
  • Failure to follow appropriate safety protocols
  • Improper maintenance
  • Defective parts or equipment
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

When a boat accident occurs due to negligence or the violation of state or federal law, the party responsible may face criminal charges as well as a lawsuit in civil court.

Why File a Personal Injury Claim After a Boating Accident

If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, you might wonder if it is worth pursuing a personal injury claim in civil court. We understand that this is a very stressful time for you and your family. However, filing a lawsuit may be your best option when it comes to recovering from the accident.

The costs of a boating accident and your associated injuries are frequently far greater than the expenses related to your immediate medical care. After a boating accident, you may be left with chronic pain, a permanent disability, or worse. For those who have devastatingly lost a loved one in a boating accident, they may struggle financially, mentally, and emotionally. In fact, many people never fully recover when they or a loved one is catastrophically injured or killed.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses and medical supplies
  • Rehabilitations costs
  • Long-term care costs
  • Occupational rehab & equipment expenses
  • Lost wages and future earning capacity
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional distress

After experiencing a boating accident, it can be difficult to know what rights you have when pursuing damages. An attorney will assess your case, advise you on your rights to compensation, work with experts to prove fault and negligence, and help you calculate damages for medical expenses, loss of earnings, and more. Further, a personal injury attorney can provide invaluable legal assistance and give you the best chance of receiving the full compensation you deserve.

Negligence & Proving Liability

There may be different standards for proving negligence and liability depending on where and under what conditions your accident occurred. As such, it is critical to work with legal counsel that is well-versed in maritime law at both state and federal levels. It is also important to work with a legal team that understands the complicated nature of boat accident cases.

Several parties may be found at fault for a boat accident, including:

  • The boat operator
  • The boat owner
  • Passengers on the boat
  • Boat manufacturers
  • Parts manufacturers
  • Boat rental companies

When presenting your case, your attorney will likely utilize a number of resources, including accident reports, witness accounts, medical records, and other supporting documentation of the accident and your injuries. Consequently, it is advised that you keep all documents associated with your or your loved one's accident. Even if something seems inconsequential, it may affect your case. Any information you have about your accident should be passed on to your attorney.

Do You Qualify for a Wrongful Death Case?

Losing a loved one in a boating accident is heartbreaking and tragic. Your grief may be compounded by the knowledge that someone else's negligence or reckless behavior is what caused the death of your loved one. Under Florida's Wrongful Death Act, those who have lost loved ones in accidents that are caused by negligence have the option to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties. In doing so, they are able to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Wrongful death cases can be particularly challenging. If you believe that you have grounds to file a lawsuit, it is highly recommended that you work with a skilled legal team, like ours at Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A. Our law firm is prepared to help you determine if filing a wrongful death suit is in you and your family's best interests and to guide you throughout the process. We know how difficult this is, and we are here to help you through it.

Send us a message online to discuss your situation with one of our compassionate attorneys. We aim to help every client seek justice so that they can move on from their accidents in a positive direction.

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