Boat Run-Over / Prop Strike Accidents

Probably one of the most traumatic events a person could endure is being run over by a boat or stricken by its prop. Florida has more registered boats than any other state and the year round warm weather brings many divers and snorkelers to the water. A high amount of boat traffic combined with a high number of people in the water sometimes leads to accidents.

Our Board Certified Admiralty & Maritime attorneys have handled complex boat run-over and prop strike cases for decades. Inattentive operators of high speed center console or go-fast boats with multiple outboard or inboard engines, as well as, yachts can cause devastating injuries, including horrific scars, brain injury, amputation and even death. Unlike accidents that occur on land, boat run-over and prop strike accidents are governed by General Maritime Law. The Florida Bar, in recognition of the highly specialized and esoteric nature of Maritime Law, began allowing a select group of qualified attorneys to sit for an exam to become Board Certified in the field of Maritime Law. Keith Brais passed this exam in 1996 (the first year it was offered) and Richard Rusak in 2010.

Having investigated many boat run-over and prop strike cases, it is often the case the accident may have been prevented if the boat operators had followed the Federal and Florida navigation rules. Boat run-over and prop strike accidents are commonly caused by the boat operator’s:

  • Failure to maintain a proper lookout - inattentiveness
  • Failure to operate at a safe speed – careless/reckless operation
  • Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to keep 100 feet from the divers-down flag or buoy in rivers, inlets and channels
  • Failure to keep 300 feet from the divers-down flag on all other waters
  • Failure to make full use of modern marine electronics and navigational avoidance systems

Evidence preservation and collection is of paramount importance when investigating a marine casualty. Depending upon the navigable waters where an incident occurs, several State and Federal investigative agencies may be involved, including The Florida Wildlife Commission (“FWC”), United States Coast Guard (“USCG”) and local marine law enforcement as well as rescue and EMS personnel. Generally both vessels are impounded, including all navigational equipment which will have GPS data that must be downloaded and analyzed to determine, amongst other things, a number of potential statutory violations.

Victims are often entitled to compensation in the form of payment for medical bills, assistive living devices, pain and suffering, lost wages and further earning potential. Families of loved ones who died in a boat run-over / prop strike accidents in state waters, may be entitled to mental pain and anguish, loss of support and services, loss of companionship, instruction and guidance and loss of the estate’s net accumulations.

Contact the Firm for a Free Evaluation

The Florida tug & barge accident attorneys of the law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our firm’s primary office is located in Miami, FL, although we routinely handle claims throughout the state of Florida and from satellite offices located in Houston, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts on an appointment basis. To reach our lawyers call (305) 416-2901 from within Florida, call 1-800-499-0551 from within the U.S., or click Contact Us to complete a form for a free evaluation of your case and to learn how the “AV” Preeminent, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates and Board Certified Maritime Attorneys with Brais Brais & Rusak might be able to help you.

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