Florida is one of the most popular destinations in the nation for boating and other maritime recreational activities.
With the high popularity comes a greater degree of risk for Florida boaters. Boating accidents can be devastating.
The property damage caused by accidents alone costs Florida residents millions of dollars a year. Further, boating accidents often lead to severe injury or death for those involved.
If you were injured by a boating accident in Florida, you might be entitled to compensation.
A high percentage of boating accidents are the result of negligence or wrongdoing. Negligent acts such as speeding or operating under the influence allow victims to hold the at-fault party liable.
Boating accident attorneys in Florida see these tragedies all the time.
At Johns Law Group, PLLC, we know how to hold the responsible party liable and recover compensation for victims.
Our experienced boating accident attorneys pride themselves in vigorously fighting to protect the rights of every client. We work on a contingency basis and will only get paid once we get you paid. Contact Johns Law Group today and schedule a consultation.
Liability After a Boating Accident
Determining liability after a boating accident revolves around several factors.
Given the demands of the tourism industry, Florida has a unique legal and regulatory landscape governing boating. There are also different rules and regulations that differentiate negligence claims from other claims, such as after a maritime worker is injured.
The waterways of Florida are also governed by a patchwork of state and federal laws, so understanding where to file a lawsuit might be difficult. If you win your case, the legal and regulatory foundation of your case will significantly affect the types of compensation you are entitled to.
Laws and Regulations
Most boating laws are found in Chapter 327 and Chapter 328 of the Florida Statutes. These statutes cover everything from registration rules to safety and behavioral standards people must follow when operating a boating vessel.
On top of state law, there are also federal rules that govern many of Florida’s waterways. Many of these federal rules and regulations, such as the Jones Act, are designed to protect maritime workers who are injured on the job. Sometimes, boating accidents cause injuries that victims must litigate based on federal law rather than state law.
Beyond statutes, Florida also has common law jurisprudence that allows people injured by the negligence of others to pursue compensation. Common law jurisprudence is the law created by legal precedent, and negligence is primarily a common law concept.
A boat accident lawyer from Johns Law Group can help you sort through the patchwork of laws that might apply to your case.
Negligence happens when an individual fails to meet a minimum standard of care towards others. Generally, a person is negligent when they fail to act as a reasonably prudent person would act in a similar situation. Liability for negligence is based on the idea that negligent individuals should compensate others for any harm they cause.
Negligence causes many boating accidents in Florida every year. Acts such as speeding, operating a boat under the influence, and reckless operation of a vessel often qualify as negligent acts in Florida.
Injuries to Maritime Workers
The Jones Act and other maritime regulations cover maritime workers injured in boating accidents while on the job. A maritime worker is anyone who spends more than 30% of their working time aboard a seafaring vessel. However, specific nuances can affect individual cases, and many of these regulations do not necessarily require negligence for workers to obtain compensation.
Where to File a Lawsuit
Choosing the venue to file a lawsuit is a critical decision. Cases based on federal law often must be filed in federal courts. Victims of injuries sometimes must file their claims in state courts when their legal action is based primarily on Florida negligence jurisprudence or Florida statutes. An experienced boat accident attorney from the Johns Law Group can work with you to determine the best venue for your case.
Different lawsuits entitle plaintiffs to various forms of compensation.
Compensation in negligence suits is designed to make victims whole for their injuries by reimbursing them for associated costs. Three types of damages are available to negligence victims in Florida: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Easily quantifiable expenses qualify for economic damages in Florida. These include costs such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Non-economic damages are costs that are not as easy to quantify because they are less tangible and subjective. These damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded because they are designed to punish defendants for the most egregious misconduct or gross negligence.
The Jones Act and other maritime regulations give maritime workers access to different forms of compensation than negligence victims. Seafarers injured on the job are entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of whether their employer is negligent. Maintenance obligates employers to compensate workers for their reasonable living expenses while they recover. Cure makes the employers provide compensation for medical expenses. Further, maritime workers could receive other forms of payment based on negligence or the unseaworthiness doctrine.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
There are several common causes of boating accidents in Florida that can lead to a claim against the responsible party. These causes include:
- Reckless operation,
- Distracted boating,
- Operating under the influence, and
- Violations of boating laws and regulations.
A high percentage of boating accidents are caused by the negligence of one or more parties.
Common Injuries Due to Boating Accidents
Boating accidents often lead to severe injuries. Common boating injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Drowning injuries,
- Broken bones,
- Back injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Amputations, and
If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, an experienced boat accident lawyer from Johns Law Group can help.
Importance of a Skilled Attorney During Boating Accident Lawsuits
The complicated laws and regulations surrounding boating accidents make having a skilled attorney on your side critical. If you are looking for experienced boating accident attorneys in Florida, the Johns Law Group can help. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the maritime and state laws governing boating in Florida. We work tirelessly for our clients to get them the compensation they deserve. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.