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MELBOURNE BOAT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY

Hurt on the Water in Titusville? Let Us Fight on Your Behalf

In Florida, boats are used for work as frequently as they are for play. People may be be injured in either setting. However, the liability rules that govern boat accident lawsuits differ in each scenario.

Boating accidents are covered by both state and federal law. However, federal law requires boating accidents to be reported to a state agency if at least one of the following factors is present:

  • death occurs
  • a party is missing
  • medical treatment beyond basic first aid is required
  • the amount of property damage totals more than $2,000
  • property is completely destroyed

Pleasure Boat Crashes

Plaintiffs who seek compensation for pleasure boat accidents are required to prove the defendant caused the accident by failing to act with reasonable care. When boats collide with one another, one or both operators may be considered partially liable. In states that allow contributory negligence, an injured operator may be barred from recovery if he or she is found to be partially at fault for the accident. States that apply the comparative negligence theory may bar an injured operator from recovery if he or she is determined to be more than 50% – in some cases 51% – at fault. Injured passengers may choose to sue either or both operators if both shared fault.

Hazardous Conditions

Some marinas and harbors have a no wake zone. Boat operators who create a wake in restricted areas may be liable for an accident in which another boat runs into the wake. The operator of the boat that crashes into the wake could be found negligent for passenger injuries if he or she failed to warn those aboard. All boat operators are generally required to look for hazardous conditions while operating a water vessel. Therefore, in some cases, injured parties may find they are unable to recover damages if the the operator behaved reasonably in monitoring for hazards and responded appropriately. If a boat collides with an object that is well-hidden by the water, those who are injured may not be able to recover damages if the driver was using nautical charts and driving safely. However, if passengers are injured due to inadequate safety equipment, the operator may be found negligent for failure to maintain proper safety devices, including life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers and navigation lights.

Work-Related Injuries

Employees who are injured while working on navigable waters may recover lost wages and medical benefits under the Long Shore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Ship builders, port workers, longshoremen, and repairmen are covered by the act. Eligible workers may be able to receive total, temporary partial or permanent total disability compensation.

Seek Counsel Immediately

Residents of Melbourne and Titusville enjoy boating as a natural part of life in their water-adjacent communities. Unfortunately, each year, a small percentage of boating outings results in severe accidents. In the event of a boating accident, injured parties should contact an experienced Melbourne boating accident attorney to discuss their potential right to compensation and legal options. Under Florida law, boating accident victims who wish to sue for damages must pursue a claim within four years of the date of the accident or within three years if maritime law is applicable. A lawyer at Couture Law P.A. can help you determine which set of laws applies.