Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers represents boating accident victims in the Fort Lauderdale area. Our Fort Lauderdale lawyers offer free consultations to all injured victims. Contact our offices to find out what your case may be worth and how to hold a boating insurance company fully responsible. We want to make sure that boaters and others who cause accidents on our waterways take full responsibility for injuries and damage.
Do I Need a Lawyer After a Boating Accident?
If your boat collision or tour boat accident only involves very minor injuries and watercraft damage, you may not need the help of a lawyer to seek compensation.
However, if you or a loved one suffer serious injuries, like broken bones or a head injury, in a crash caused by someone else, it’s important to talk to a skilled Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer. You should know what your injuries are worth and what your hospital bills may look like.
When medical bills are high, boat insurance companies often resort to proven tactics to try to get out of supporting injured victims. They can try to blame you for a collision. They will also attempt to devalue your injuries so they can offer you less than you’ll need to make a full recovery.
Your lawyer will investigate your case and back it with strong evidence, so insurance adjusters can ignore what happened and reject your claim. Your lawyer also seeks to get the most out of your injury as possible to help support you and your family through recovery.
Boating Accident Dangers in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has always had plenty of sun and water, and amazing sites, to make it a top boating destination. There’s adventure and fun to be had on our city’s beautiful canals, on our stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway, and out on the Atlantic.
You may have plenty of experience with your watercraft, but that won’t always protect you from the mistakes of others. Other boaters can make careless decisions that might put everyone on your boat at risk.
These are just a few of the causes of major accidents on our waterways.
- Boat captains going too fast and trying reckless stunts
- Intoxicated boat captains
- Distracted boat captains
- Children who are driving boats
- Maintenance problems with rental boats
- Tour boat negligence that can get visitors hurt or even killed
Marina accidents on dry land are also a concern in Fort Lauderdale. Guests can slip and fall on wet floors or docks. They might trip and fall on poorly maintained stairs or decking. When these dangers could have been easily fixed and weren’t, anyone hurt can seek recovery support from marina owners and operators. A Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer is ready to hold every party that contributed to your accident fully accountable.
Rules and Regulations for Fort Lauderdale Boaters
Florida’s Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission ranks Fort Lauderdale and Broward County as the 7th worst place for boating accidents among all Florida counties. In 2022, Broward County was home to 45,493 registered recreational watercraft. Over the year there were 27 reportable accidents that caused at least 10 injuries and over $500,000 in property damage in the county.
It’s hard for safe boaters to trust that every other person on the water has seen or is even aware of Florida Boating Laws that help keep everyone safe, especially in high boating traffic areas. There are safety regulations that many boaters may not know about. However, that won’t be an excuse when they cause a devastating accident.
The FWC displays rules for local boaters on its website. These are just a few requirements:
- When to Report a Boat Accident: They state that boaters involved in an accident that involves an injury that needs more than routine first aid or if it involves a death, must report their boating accidents. If a crash leads to the disappearance of a victim or if damage to a vessel or vessels totals $2,000 or more, the accident must be reported. Notice must be given as soon as possible to The Broward County Sheriff’s Department, Fort Lauderdale Police, or the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
- Vessel Registration and Insurance: All vessels must be registered within 30 days of the purchase of a boat. That excludes boats under 16 feet that are non-motorized and canoes and kayaks regardless of length. Boat insurance isn’t required in Florida, but owners who are still paying for their boats may be forced by lenders to secure coverage. Boat insurance is highly recommended if you’ll be boating along the busy shores of Broward County. It can cover accident support for a crash you cause. A policy could also cover you and your family if you are struck by someone without insurance.
- Boater Age Requirement: A person must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft in Florida. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must have a Boating Safety Education Identification Card to legally operate a boat in Florida. You can find more information on classes here.
- BUI: Boating Under the Influence in Florida means a vessel operator has a blood – or breath -alcohol level at or above .08.
The fact is there will always be plenty of people operating all sizes of boats in Florida when they shouldn’t be. When an accident occurs and major injuries are involved, speak to a Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers representative to find out how to make sure you get the support you need to rebuild your life.
Compensation for Boat Accident Victims
Boat accident victims may have to hold negligent boat captains, boat owners, tour boat operators, rental companies, marina owners, and others liable for injuries. At times there may be multiple parties that should be providing victims with financial help as they try to recover. Your lawyer will be working to identify anyone who should contribute to your recovery.
Your boat accident lawyer also compiles all of the hardships you and your family have been through since the boat crash. Everything must be included in a boat accident claim, or a boat insurance company can just ignore it.
These and other factors will also contribute to the size of a boating accident settlement check:
- Medical compensation for current medical bills and those expected in the future.
- Support for boating victims left with a permanent disability.
- Support for the physical pain boat crash victims may endure.
- Support for the emotional trauma victims may be left to cope with.
- Fees for emergency response.
- Reimbursement for lost income and benefits while a victim must miss work.
- Compensation for boat repairs or a new boat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my family seek benefits if a loved one is killed in a boat collision or drowns due to someone’s negligence?
Yes. Wrongful death benefits are available to close family members like a spouse or children of the deceased. Close relatives should receive help paying for funeral costs and leftover medical bills. They must also demand help in replacing the financial support the deceased can no longer offer the family.
How long do I have to file an injury claim after a Florida boating accident?
The Florida statute of limitations on filing a boat accident injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. You shouldn’t wait years to file. Evidence can be harder to find the longer you delay.
What If I can’t afford to pay a Fort Lauderdale Boat Accident Lawyer?
If you don’t need a lawyer for your case, we will be upfront with you. But if we feel we can earn you far more than you could by filing yourself, you won’t need any money to hire us. You don’t pay an attorney fee unless we win your case for you. Then our fee comes out of the award you receive.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Boating Accident Attorney
A boat accident can leave you feeling vulnerable and powerless. You may need major financial assistance to pay your medical bills. You may be falling behind on normal monthly bills like the rent and credit card invoices while you are unable to work. An at-fault boater’s insurer may be telling you your injury is worth little or nothing at all in a settlement.
Allow Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers to handle the stress and frustration of battling the insurance companies while you use that time to focus on healing. We want you to be able to afford the best care available so you can get back out on the water as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and tell us what happened. Let us know about your biggest hardships since the accident and then let us go to work holding an insurer fully liable.