Florida is home to more boating accidents every year than any other state. Boating accidents result in catastrophic injuries and deaths that are all preventable. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a Florida boating accident, you might need to contact an Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney.
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Why Are Boating Accidents So Common in Florida?
Florida waterways are crowded. With the ocean at arms reach, many people find boating an irresistible recreational activity in Apollo Beach. From speedboats to sailboats, cruise ships, and yachts, there are various types of boats throughout the state’s waterway. Unfortunately, a fun day in the sun can quickly turn into a nightmare if an accident occurs. A boating accident can happen anytime with any vessel, including smaller crafts like jet skis and wave runners.
While recreational boating crowds the waterways, it’s not the only reason there are so many vessels in the water. Boating is also an essential mode of transport for commercial entities to transport goods across Florida waters. Each year, more and more vessels continue to get registered in Florida. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, there were over 961,266 registered vessels in Florida in 2021. In addition, an additional one million unregistered vessels are being used in Florida’s waterways.
Another reason for boat accidents in Apollo Beach is no water traffic signals. Unlike the roadways and streets of Apollo Beach, boat operators don’t have signs, signals, or lanes to help avoid accidents. Therefore, boat owners, operators, and passengers are responsible for exercising well-informed sound judgment to keep everyone safe.
Inexperienced drivers are also a huge threat in the water. In fact, 80% of operators who cause fatal accidents have no formal boat operator training. In Florida, boat safety education is a requirement for all operators born after January 1, 1988.
If you were injured by a negligent boat operator, an Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney can help you understand your legal rights and recommend the best course of action.
Common Causes of Apollo Beach Boat Accidents
Some of the most common causes of boat accidents in Apollo Beach include:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Reckless driving
- Operator inattention
- Bad Weather conditions
- Water conditions
- Unsafe passenger behaviors
- Equipment failure
- Overly congested waterways
- Drug or alcohol use
What Is a Reportable Boat Accident in Apollo Beach?
Any accident that results in the following is a reportable boating accident:
- Any injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
- Any deaths or disappearance of a boat passenger
- Any damage to the boat or vessel equal to or greater than $2,000 or the total loss of a vessel
Can an Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney Also Help With Personal Watercraft Accidents?
Watercraft use in Apollo Beach varies widely. As such, the legal ramifications of an accident will also vary depending on the type of boat, operator training, ownership of the boat, and other factors.
Personal watercrafts (PWC) are smaller boats that are personally owned. Despite being smaller, they are not necessarily easier to operate or safer. Inexperienced PWC operators can pose a risk to themselves and other people in the water.
If you were involved in a boating accident while operating your PWC or hit by someone else driving a PWC, our Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorneys could help you.
Apollo Beach Jet Ski Accidents
Jet skis are among the most common private watercraft (PWC) and the most dangerous. Some factors that make jet skis particularly dangerous are:
- Jet skis have high power and a light, small profile, making them fast and fun. However, new jet ski riders can easily overdo the throttle and get into an accident.
- Similar to motorcycles on the road, jet skis lack a protective barrier to absorb impact in a collision. That means accident victims will likely suffer severe injuries from direct impact force on their bodies.
- Jet ski rental companies don’t usually give training to renters. As such, renters are more likely to lack adequate safety or training knowledge and be unaware of how to avoid accidents.
If you were injured in an Apollo Beach jet ski accident, an Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney could help you determine who is liable and hold them accountable. For example, the jet ski rental company may be liable, even if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, if they fail to provide you with proper training and equipment to minimize your risk of injury, they can be legally responsible for your injuries.
Apollo Beach WaveRunner Accidents
Yamaha Waverunners are a popular brand of jet ski seen in Florida. Unlike a traditional jet ski, wave runners have a water spout shooting out of the back. This creates the opportunity for unique accidents when a Waverunner is driving in front of another vessel.
The water spout shooting water can limit the visibility of the watercraft behind the Waverunner. This makes an accident more likely to occur.
Apollo Beach Open Motorboat Accidents
Open motorboats are common in Florida and are designed to let people enjoy a day on the water. Since they don’t have a fully separate cabin, they often come with temporary parietal shelters, similar to a canopy. Unfortunately, this design makes it easy to overload open motorboats and increases the likelihood of an accident.
Apollo Beach Yacht Accidents
Florida yacht accidents happen, even when the owner hires a professional crew to handle the vessel. If a yacht owner fails to properly maintain their vessel, they might be liable for an accident. For example, a yacht that was not inspected for several years and had a defect that needed repair could cause a collision.
In that case, the yacht owner might be liable for negligence. If you sustained injuries in a yacht accident, contact an experienced Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney. They can help assess your claim and determine the best way to proceed.
Florida Boat Accident Laws
Florida has very strict boating laws. These regulations exist to keep the waterways safe and prevent dangerous boat operating behavior that can cause accidents.
Boat operators who speed or drive recklessly can face fines or jail time. In addition, if you were involved in a boat accident caused by a negligent or reckless operator, you might be entitled to seek compensation.
Consulting a knowledgeable Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney is the best way to protect your rights and secure compensation. The sooner you get professional legal help, the better your chance of getting a successful claim outcome.
When Is a Boat Operator Liable for an Apollo Beach Boat Accident?
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the following actions are considered negligence while operating a boat. That means the boat driver is at fault if they cause an accident for any of the following:
- Overloading or improperly loading the boat
- Not seating occupants safely on the boat
- Failure to look out
- Carelessness, such as failing to consider weather warnings
- Driving recklessly in a crowded area
- Risky fueling practices
- Operating without any experience or training
- Ignoring navigation aids
- Failure to use caution while operating in an unfamiliar area
- Poor judgment
- Proceeding in a craft deemed unseaworthy
- Operating a motorboat near people in the water
- Overpowering the boat or starting the engine with too much throttle
- Irresponsible boat handling, like quick sharp turns
To seek compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the driver who hit you negligently operated their boat. To establish negligence, you need proof and supporting evidence.
A Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney can help you gather strong evidence to show that the boat operator:
- Had a duty of care to operate the boat safely
- Violated their duty to safely operate the vessel and prevent harm to others
- They caused the boat accident, and your injuries
A Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney Can Help Win a Case of Negligent Entrustment
Negligent entrustment principles in Florida apply to motor vehicles, boats, and watercrafts. Negligent entrustment is when a boat owner is liable for letting another person operate their watercraft, despite knowing the operator is incompetent to operate the vessel.
If an accident results from an incompetent boat operator, the injury victim can hold the boat owner accountable for “negligent entrustment.” There are several critical elements you need to prove negligent entrustment:
- The boat operator (or individual permitted to operate the boat) was incompetent when they were operating the vessel
- The owner knowingly permitted the incompetent individual to operate the boat
- The owner knew or should have known that the individual was unfit to operate the boat
- The operator’s incompetence caused the accident and your consequential injuries
If you believe an incompetent driver caused the accident wherein you sustained injuries, contact an Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney. They will help you investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim of negligent entrustment.
Vicarious Liability for Apollo Beach Boat Accidents
Vicarious liability is relevant if you were injured by an employee or crew member’s negligence. Florida law allows you to hold the employer accountable for the employee’s negligence. Therefore, even if the employer was not directly responsible for your losses, they could be found vicariously liable.
An example would be if you are a passenger on a chartered boat when a crew member causes the boat to veer off course and crash into another watercraft. If you sustain an injury from that collision, you might have a right of action against the crew member’s employer. First, however, you would have to show that the employee’s negligence caused the injury.
Our Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorneys Handle Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Claims
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a serious offense that can cause severe accidents and fatalities. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), alcohol and drug use played a role in one-third of all boating fatalities in a recent year.
The legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for boat operators is .08%. Anyone driving a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol is subject to fines and jail time. Repeat BUI offenses can result in up to five years in prison.
It’s Illegal to Drive a Boat Under the Influence in Florida
Florida law prohibits boating or operating any watercraft while intoxicated, drunk, or impaired by drugs. Fish and wildlife officers receive training to conduct sobriety tests and assess whether an operator is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Not only is drinking and boating illegal, but it’s also dangerous. Boat operators driving drunk or while using drugs are substantially more likely to get in an accident.
Alcohol is a depressant drug. It impacts the user’s judgment, vision, coordination, depth perception, and critical thinking skills. These are all necessary skills when operating a large vessel like a boat. Therefore, drunk driving on a boat can be tremendously dangerous.
Driving a boat is completely different than driving a car. The operator must process more environmental cues, like sunlight, wind, noise, and vibration. According to the US Coast Guard, driving a boat while drunk is more deadly than driving a car. In addition, boating accidents involving a drunk operator are significantly more likely to involve capsizing or a passenger falling overboard. Sadly, alcohol causes nearly 1 in 5 recreational boating deaths.
Contact an Apollo Beach Boat Accidents Attorney Today
You need a skilled Apollo Beach boat accident Attorney if you sustained injuries in an Apollo Beach boating accident. With a proven track record and millions in financial compensation for our clients, we are the best legal team in Apollo Beach.