Boating accident law can be complex, but a personal injury attorney may help injured parties recover full compensation. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced in March 2022 that Florida passed the mark of 1 million registered recreational vessels across the state.

And with so many boats in the water, accidents are more likely to happen. Federal law, state laws, and maritime laws regulate boating accidents. But the law of negligence is defined in personal injury cases and is the most common cause for the filing of boating accident lawsuits.

In this article, we examine collisions between boats. And collisions with waves, wakes, and submerged objects. We also look at damages for injuries in recreational boating accidents. If you need help or have any questions, please contact us today.

Collisions Between Boats

Collision with a recreational vessel is the number one primary type of reportable boating accident in 2020, according to the FWC. Operator inattention is the primary cause. Vessel operators may be held liable for negligence when causing a boat collision because they did not follow prescribed boating rules and did not pass the other vessel properly. 

A recreational vessel or boat can be any of the following:

  • Yachts
  • Sailboats
  • Cabin motorboat
  • Open motorboats
  • Inflatable and semi-rigid inflatable boats
  • Airboats
  • Houseboats
  • Pontoons
  • Personal watercraft (jet skis and wave runners)
  • Kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes.

To get compensation for injuries resulting from recreational boating accidents, negligence must be shown on the part of another person. Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care and can be intentional or unintentional. When a collision happens between boats, one or both operators may be partially responsible as someone failed to act with reasonable care.     

Eric Mausner Law P.A. is experienced in discovering and proving intentional and unintentional negligence and will assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.

Collisions With Wakes, Waves, and Submerged Objects

Boat operators must look out for potentially hazardous situations including wakes, waves, or submerged objects. Boats naturally create wakes and waves, but boat operators must take reasonable care not to produce them in excess. 

When a boat operator crashes into the wake of another boat, liability depends on the following factors:

  • Boat traffic
  • Visibility
  • Did the boat operator warn the passengers of the wake?
  • Wake size
  • Boat type
  • Boat speed.

When a big wave causes an accident, the boat operator might be negligent, but there are exceptions. If a boat operator does not drive with care and hits a rock or other submerged object, they might be negligent. 

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) sets minimum standards that require all vessels to carry, store, maintain, and use the proper safety equipment. If a boat does not carry all required safety equipment and accident injuries are aggravated because of this, there might be a negligence case. Proper safety equipment includes life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, signaling devices, and navigational lights. 

If you were injured due to a collision with a wake, wave, or submerged object, and somebody else was negligent, speak to a boating accident lawyer today.

Damages for Injuries in Recreational Boating Accidents

Damages for injuries in recreational boating accidents must be claimed within four (4) years if the action is founded on negligence. This time limit is set by personal injury statute of limitations per Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a). Certain circumstances can modify the time limit.    

Economic and non-economic damages that can be recovered from a boating accident include medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost income. 

Have you been involved in a boating accident and need legal advice? If you have any questions about boating accident law, please contact Eric Mausner Law P.A. today. We look forward to hearing from you.