Hallandale Beach Boating Accident Lawyer
Hallandale Beach doesn’t suffer from any shortage of places to put your boat in the water for a day of sunshine and sailing, and the area also has plenty of boat operators that offer paid tours around the area. However, Florida doesn’t just boast some of the most spectacular places to boat, it also boasts some of the most dangerous. Each year on Florida waterways, hundreds of boating accidents occur, resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a boating accident caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions, you can seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. These cases often prove complex and may involve multiple at-fault parties, depending on the circumstance.
An experienced Hallandale Beach Boating Accident Lawyer from the Law Offices of Jerry Spingarn can ensure that you don’t miss out on your right to seek the maximum amount of compensation available in your case. Call our personal injury attorneys today at 1-866-HIRE-JARED to discuss your claim.
Common Causes of Hallandale Beach Boating Accidents
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, operator inattention constitutes the most common cause of boating accidents in Florida. This involves boat operators paying attention to something other than operating the boat safely or failing to maintain a proper lookout for hazards that could cause a boat collision.
While collisions don’t constitute the only type of boat accidents, collisions do account for the largest portion of boating accidents, and nearly half of all boating collisions result from operator inattention.
Other causes of boating accidents include:
- Passenger falling overboard. This constitutes the leading cause of boating fatalities for many years now, with drowning as the leading cause of death stemming from a boating accident. Eighty-eight percent of the individuals who drown after falling overboard didn’t wear life vests.
- Slip and fall accidents, in which a passenger slips over water or other debris on the boat’s bottom or trips over obstacles in the walkway, resulting in injury. Boat owners must keep the boat free of hazards that could injure guests, particularly boats that carry paying passengers.
- Operator inexperience. When you journey on a passenger boat, the company providing the boat rides must ensure that the employees it hires as boat operators receive adequate training to handle the rigors of the job. Likewise, individuals can sustain injuries from inexperienced boat operators who collide with other vessels. Boat operators in Florida don’t have to obtain a license to operate the boat. However, operators born after 1988 must complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a boating safety education identification card to operate a vessel of 10 or more horsepower on the state’s waterways.
- Speeding. Just as with motor vehicles on the roadway, speeding in a boat makes it harder to maintain control of the vessel and to safely stop when a hazard in the water arises.
- Alcohol use. Florida prohibits the operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The state defines a vessel as any type of vehicle capable of providing transportation in water. A boating under the influence charge can result whether the boat operator has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more, or if alcohol has impaired the operator’s faculties.
- Equipment defects. Manufacturers of the parts and equipment used on boats must ensure that their product does not pose an unreasonable risk of injury if used according to the labeled instructions. If your accident resulted from a defective boat part, the manufacturer may bear liability for your expenses and impacts.
- Failure to provide proper maintenance. Maintenance issues can also result in loss of vessel control and an accident. In addition to maintaining the mechanical integrity of the vessel, boat operators must equip their vessels with everything state law requires, including fire extinguishers and backfire control, a ventilation system, lighting, and distress signals such as horns. Florida’s boating laws also require you to have a personal flotation device (life jacket) available for every passenger on board. If the vessel extends longer than 16 feet, you must have a throwable flotation device on board.
- Running out of gas. While it seems that this may only constitute a minor situation, depending on your location and the hazards that exist in that area, this seemingly minor situation could turn deadly under certain circumstances. For example, if you run out of gas on the open waters, you could be swept out to sea or wind up stranded in inclement weather.
- Boat fires. While this happens significantly less due to spark-protected mechanical systems and double-clamped fuel lines, boats can still catch fire or explode from built-up fuel fumes, fuel leaks, and faulty electrical wiring.
Injuries Suffered in Boating Accidents
More than 500 people suffer injuries in boating accidents each year in Florida, with lacerations from contact with sharp objects—such as the boat’s propeller, constituting some of the most common injuries.
Other common injuries include:
- Broken bones resulting from collisions with other boats or objects, falls overboard, and other mishaps.
- Head injuries from collisions with other boats or striking an object, such as a propeller, when falling overboard. These injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, which involve damage to the brain caused by a jolt to the head or body and frequently result in permanent impacts.
- Anoxic brain injuries, which result from a complete lack of oxygen to the brain, may occur from drowning. A brain begins to die within four minutes of oxygen deprivation. Those who survive drowning with an anoxic brain injury often suffer permanent damage from this oxygen deprivation.
- Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord consists of nerves that extend down the center of the back from the base of the skull, protected by spinal vertebrae and discs. However, when injuries do occur to the spinal cord, they generally result in a life-altering or even life-threatening loss of sensation and function below the injury. This loss of sensation and function, known as paralysis, can impact the individual’s ability to walk, move arms, or even breathe independently or cough secretions from the lungs and throat.
- Damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs, which can cause a loss of mobility and chronic pain. Injured individuals may require surgery to provide stability after a spinal injury.
- Amputation from contact with a limb and the propeller. Amputations can also result from collisions in which the individual’s limb gets trapped between two objects, such as two boats.
If you have experienced any of the following due to a boat related accident CONTACT our Hallandale Beach boating injury accident lawyers today at 1-866-HIRE-JARED or online to discuss your recovery options.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Boating Accident
Individuals who have suffered an injury in a Hallandale Beach boating accident can seek compensation for the expenses and psychological impacts of those injuries. Generally, individuals injured in a Florida boating accident must file their injury claims within four years of the accident.
A boating accident case can include a variety of liable parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Some common sources of liability in a Hallandale Beach boating accident include:
- The operator of a boat that transports passengers for a fee and thus must keep the boat free from hazards that can injure guests. For-hire boat operators have a higher duty of care to ensure that they do not operate the boat while alcohol-impaired or inattentive to weather and water conditions that injure people. Additionally, boat operators must ensure that the boat has received all required maintenance to ensure its safety.
- The company responsible for hiring the boat operator must also ensure that the operator receives all necessary training to handle situations that can arise when boating. Boating companies must also ensure that all of their boats have proper insurance coverage. We should note that personal boat owners face no legal requirement to have insurance to legally operate a boat in Florida’s waterways. However, many of the area marinas do require insurance to protect other marina users in the event of an injury.
- Other boat operators who drive inattentively, too fast for conditions, or while alcohol-impaired.
- The manufacturer of boat parts and equipment if a defect caused the accident.
To prove liability for your boating accident, you must prove:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care refers to the actions that a reasonable person would take in a given set of circumstances to safeguard the health and property of others. For example, the duty of care owed by a boat operator to other users of the waterway includes operating the boat safely and legally.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care. The breach constitutes the action that the at-fault party took that contradicted the duty of care. Using the operator scenario, a boat operator who boats while under the influence or while not properly looking out for hazards that could result in an accident has breached the duty of care, as these do not constitute safe or legal actions to take when operating a boat.
- The breach in the duty of care resulted in the accident that caused your injuries and associated impacts and expenses.
In a Hallandale boating accident claim, recovering damages means that you receive payment in compensation for harm. Your economic damages constitute your financial expenses stemming from the injury, while the quality-of-life impacts you have incurred as a result of your injury constitute your non-economic damages.
Commonly appearing on damage claims for boating accident lawsuits, the following types of expenses and impacts prove common in these types of accidents:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment, ambulance transport, hospitalization, diagnostic testing, the services of a physician or surgeon, prescription medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. You can also seek compensation for assistive devices that you must use because of your injuries, such as crutches, a wheelchair, or a prosthetic limb.
- The wages you lost from feeling too injured to work or missing work to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability, and you can no longer earn as much as before your accident.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your boat if it sustained damage in a collision with another vessel.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injury prevents you from enjoying activities or events that you regularly enjoyed before your accident.
Our Hallandale Beach Boating Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you sustained injuries in a boating accident in Hallandale Beach because of someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, an experienced boating accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Jerry Spingarn can help you seek compensation through a free case evaluation.
Contact us to start working on your claim today. During your evaluation, you can discuss the details of your accident and injuries, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Call us at (866) HIRE-JARED or send us a message through our contact form for your free claim evaluation right now.
800 SE 4th Avenue, Suite 806
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009