If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Gainesville, FL, you may be unsure of where to turn or what to do next. Your injuries may be overwhelming. Maybe you think you had something to do with your injury and you aren’t sure whether the other person is at fault for hurting you.
At Allen Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping accident victims recover compensation to make them whole.
We believe results matter. We can help you navigate the aftermath of a boating accident.
We genuinely enjoy talking to our clients and helping them get what they deserve when they have been injured by another person’s negligent or reckless acts. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you’re injured while celebrating a major holiday like Memorial Day, we will be here to answer your call.
How Our Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Boating Accident Case
An experienced Gainesville personal injury attorney can guide you through what to do after a boating accident. A lawyer can investigate the facts of your case to find out:
- What caused the boating accident;
- Who is at fault for the boating accident; and
- What damages you suffered from the boating accident.
When you have been injured or suffered damage to your property, your first focus should be on your medical recovery or safe passage back to land.
Your next move should be to contact a reputable personal injury lawyer in Gainesville, Florida. At Allen Law Firm, our team is responsive, professional, and ready to get to work for you. We take pride in our winning characteristics: hard work, discipline, preparation, and toughness.
Our attorneys have experience with boating accident cases. We know how the U.S. Coast Guard specifically defines “boating accidents”.
We are familiar with the different factors affecting liability in boating accidents and how to investigate these kinds of cases. Since we have handled boating accident cases in the past, we know what’s important when it comes to determining boating accident causes. We can help you decide whether you have to file a report and which statute of limitations applies.
What You Can Expect When You Contact Our Gainesville Law Firm
First, you can expect us to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to talk to you about your boating accident. You can expect us to be ready to listen to your story and to care about your case from the very beginning.
When preparing for your first consultation, you can expect that you will have a chance to ask us questions. It is our goal to be transparent about the lawsuit process. If we are hired to represent you, some of the things you can expect us to do include:
- Quickly get started gathering evidence about your boating accident
- Support you through your medical treatment and recovery
- Explain what damages you may be able to claim; and
- Engage with leading experts who will help prove your case.
From the beginning of every case, we focus on how our clients will feel about us at the end. We want to earn our client’s satisfaction.
Florida Boating Accident Statistics
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, nearly one million boats are registered to owners in the state of Florida as of 2019. Florida also boasts at least 67 different waterways. It’s not surprising, with all those boat owners and waterways, that boating accidents are all too common in Florida. In a study conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard based on 2018 data, the state of Florida led the country in boating accidents with 607 accidents, 57 deaths, 297 injuries, and more than seven million dollars in property damage alone.
Causes of Boating Accidents in Gainesville
Many people use boats for recreational fishing or water sports like skiing or wave running.
When enjoying leisure time, boat operators can become careless. Common causes of boating accidents in Gainesville could include:
- Alcohol, marijuana, or drug use
- Inexperienced operators
Of course, there’s not always one single cause of boating accidents. Sometimes, an accident can be the result of multiple reasons. At Allen Law Firm, we represent clients who have been injured in different types of accidents, including those involving jet skis, cruise ships, kayaks, and personal recreational vessels.
When a competent watercraft operator behaves negligently, dangerous accidents can occur. Negligence could mean allowing a passenger to sit in an off-limits place on the boat. It could also look like risky maneuvers such as jumping wakes, splashing nearby boats, or operating too closely to other boats.
Like speeding on land, speeding on waterways can be deadly. It is also illegal. When operating a watercraft at an excessive speed, the operator has much less time to react to their surroundings. When a stationary or moving object is coming at them fast, mere seconds of reaction time can mean the difference between life and death.
Alcohol or Marijuana Use
All watercraft operators must follow the same laws as automobile drivers. Operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or marijuana is not only illegal, but it can lead to deadly outcomes. Between 2014 and 2018, alcohol use contributed to hundreds of boating accidents, deaths, and injuries in Florida.
Inexperienced operators are much more likely to be involved in a boating accident. Each year in Florida, thousands of tourists rent personal watercraft and boats while visiting on vacation. In addition to Florida waterway laws, each different type of watercraft is regulated differently. Inexperienced operators may not be familiar with the features of vessels they haven’t operated before.
Depending on the operator’s experience level, they may not anticipate rapidly changing weather conditions. In an act of nature, like a severe storm, even experienced operators may struggle to safely operate a watercraft. It’s every watercraft operator’s duty to ensure that their vessel has current and inspected safety equipment.
Common Boating Injuries
Boating injuries can range from mild to fatal. Data shows that common boating injuries include:
- Broken bone(s) and amputations
- Burn(s), cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Concussions and spinal cord injuries
- Dislocations, sprains, and strains
- Brain Injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Wrongful death
Of course, drowning is always possible when water is involved. Boating accidents are less likely to be fatal for victims who are wearing a life jacket.
Damages Available After a Boating Accident
Damages are a monetary remedy to compensate you for your loss or injuries.
Compensation awards could include money for:
- Past medical bills and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost future earning capacity
- Physical therapy, rehabilitative care, and long term care
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering or emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
If a loved one suffered fatal injuries, you may have a claim for compensation for their wrongful death.
Our boating accident attorneys in Gainesville can help you seek a full financial award to cover your present and future costs.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed. If the lawsuit is not filed on or before the deadline, the party with the right to sue loses their right to recovery forever. For “general negligence” injury claims, the boating accident lawsuit must be filed within four years from the date of the injury.
However, for accidents involving watercraft, the statute of limitations might differ based on where the accident occurred and whether it was subject to Federal Maritime laws. If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is in your best interest to contact our law offices in Gainesville, FL. We are familiar with the different time limitations and can help you move quickly to preserve your accident claim.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
When you sue another person who is at fault for your injury, they can argue that you are somehow responsible for your own injuries. The theory that an injured party might be partially responsible for their injury is called comparative negligence.
We are knowledgeable about Florida’s comparative negligence rule. Comparative negligence can sometimes result in your total settlement being reduced by the percentage for which you are at fault.
However, even if you think you were partly to blame for your injuries, you can still benefit from hiring a skilled lawyer. We can fight to prove that your harm was caused entirely by another person’s negligence.
Contact Our Gainesville Boating Accident Lawyers Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you’ve suffered boating accident injuries in Gainesville, FL, contact Allen Law Firm today. We are comfortable handling boating accident cases and we can work with you even if you think you might be partially at fault for your injuries. We’ll fight to get you maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Give our Gainesville boating accident lawyers a call at (877) 637-0028 to get started today.