There is an old saying that the two best days in the life of a boat owner are the day he gets his boat, and the day he sells it. We Floridians, especially those of us lucky enough to have the Atlantic and the Intracoastal on our doorstep, know that boating is a great pastime enjoyed by thousands of people, but it has its dangers; as you probably know if you have taken your boat along the Intracoastal on a weekend

It is important to know your legal rights in case of a boat accident, and to seek the services of a qualified attorney should such a thing occur.

Proving Negligence

As with many accidents, boat accident cases hinge on the ability to prove negligence on someone's part. If you want to recover damages, you will need to be able to prove that your injury was directly caused by someone failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent injuries on the boat.

Main Types of Boat Accidents

There are several main types of boat accidents, and the type of boat accident can help to determine fault. These types of accidents are as follows

Vehicle-to-vehicle collision, where the boat you are on strikes another boat or vehicle

·Wake accident, where your boat crosses the wake of another vehicle

·Wave accident, where your boat hits a wave on the water

·Vehicle-to-object collision, where your boat strikes an object such as a rock, reef, or marker.

When your vehicle strikes or is struck by another vehicle, fault and liability is usually split between the pilots of the vehicles. The courts will generally decide, in this case, which operator was more responsible, but if the accident is between a sailboat and a motorboat, the motorboat is likely to be found responsible. Much like in a car accident, passengers may have a legal case against either or both pilots.

Wake accidents are sometimes difficult cases because there are many factors that can come into play. For example, the boat's speed, the wake's size, traffic, and the kind of boat all can determine if there was fault, and whether it lies with the operator of the boat that hit the wake, or the operator of the boat that left the wake.

Wave accidents have similar issues, but with no other boat, the issues generally rely upon whether the operator of the boat that hit the wave was negligent in avoiding the wave or warning his passengers.

Finally, in vehicle-to-object collisions, visibility, speed, weather, and other similar circumstances to determine whether the operator was at fault or whether it was truly just an accident.

Safety Equipment

Federal and state laws set minimum limits on the amount of safety equipment that boats are required to have on board, regardless of the boat type and size. If the boat does not have this minimum amount of safety equipment, liability issues will arise.

Damages and Insurance

Damages from a boating accident are similar to those from automobile accidents. That is, you can recover medical bills, earnings and earning capacity, and pain and suffering. You may be able to recover some damages even if the accident is determined to be no-fault. Insurance exists for this purpose, but obtaining it could be difficult.

The waters of liability for boating accidents can be dark and murky. If you are in a boating accident in Florida and are unsure of your rights and options, give us a call. We are here to help!

Been involved in a boating accident? Call Clark Fountain today.