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Who Can File a Claim for a Boating Accident?

December 14, 2022 Boating Accident Injury & Death

Boating accidents in Florida are common. According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida has almost twice as many boating accidents as any other state. When these accidents happen, boat captains aren’t the only people who get injured. In many cases, other victims will need to file claims as well.

The first step toward filing a claim after a boating accident is hiring an experienced Miami boating accident lawyer to represent you. So, should you hire a lawyer?

Do You Have a Claim for a Boating Accident?

At Brais Law Firm, we represent individuals who have been injured in boating accidents involving all types of circumstances. We also represent families following fatal accidents on the water. For example, we routinely pursue claims on behalf of:

1. Vessel Operators

Vessel operators frequently suffer serious injuries and property damage due to other operators’ negligence. Unfortunately, inexperienced and reckless boaters make dangerous mistakes far too often. If you got hit by a boater who was drunk, distracted, careless or had no business being on the water, you should hire a Miami boating accident lawyer to help you hold the negligent boater financially responsible.

In some cases, vessel operators can also file claims based on vessel defects. If your boat (or someone else’s boat) suffered from a defect that caused your accident, the manufacturer may be liable.

2. Friends, Acquaintances and Family Members

If you were injured onboard a recreational boat or yacht that belongs to a friend, acquaintance or family member, you may be able to file a claim as well. If another boater or a vessel defect caused the accident, you can file a claim just like the boat or yacht’s owner. If the owner (i.e., your friend, acquaintance or family member) caused the accident, you can pursue a claim under his or her boat insurance policy. This is what insurance is for, and you should not have any hesitations about utilizing the coverage that is available to you.

3. Commercial Passengers

Commercial boat passengers can also file claims when they get injured onboard. Commercial operators have a legal duty to ensure that their vessels are seaworthy, and their captains have an obligation to keep everyone safe on the water. When passengers get injured during the following types of outings, they will frequently have claims for financial compensation:

4. Scuba Divers and Snorkelers

Negligent boaters can present extreme risks for scuba divers and snorkelers. Even when divers use buoys and take other steps to keep themselves safe, the risk of a boat run-over or prop strike is still a very real concern. When negligent boaters injure scuba divers and snorkelers, they can—and should—be held fully accountable.

5. Watersports Participants

Negligent boaters are also dangerous to water skiers, wakeboarders, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders and other watersports participants. From causing collisions to creating dangerous wakes, negligent boaters can put watersports participants’ safety and lives at risk in multiple ways. Whether you were being towed by a boat that hit something or you got injured by another vessel, you should speak with a Miami boating accident lawyer about your legal rights as soon as possible.

6. Personal Watercraft (PWC) Operators

Collisions and other accidents involving boats and personal watercraft (PWC) are common as well. If you were injured while riding on a WaveRunner, Sea-Doo or other PWC, proving why the accident happened will be critical for recovering the financial compensation you deserve. You should hire a Miami boating accident lawyer to investigate promptly, and if your lawyer determines that a negligent boater was to blame, your lawyer can fight to recover just compensation on your behalf.

7. Victims On Docks and Docked Boats

Along with creating risks for others on the water, negligent boaters can create risks for individuals who are on docks and docked boats as well. Creating a wake in close proximity to a dock or docked boat can be extremely dangerous, and collisions involving docked vessels are surprisingly common. If you were knocked into the water, suffered injuries in a fall, or were injured in any other circumstances on a dock or docked boat, you should talk to a lawyer about the options you have available.

8. Crewmembers  

Crewmembers onboard fishing boats, charter vessels, barges and other vessels can also file claims when they get injured on the job. Depending on the circumstances involved, injured crew members may have claims against negligent boaters or boat manufacturers, or they may have claims under the Jones Act. Our lawyers represent injured crew members in all types of claims, and if you have been involved in a boating accident at work, we strongly encourage you to speak with one of our lawyers about your legal rights.

9. Parents of Minor Children

Sadly, children are not immune from the risks that dangerous boaters and dangerous vessels present. If your child has been injured in a boating accident, your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation. This includes not only compensation for your child’s medical expenses (both current and future) but for your family’s other losses resulting from the accident as well.

10. Family Members Following Fatal Boating Accidents

In the worst of scenarios, boating accidents can prove fatal. When families lose loved ones in accidents on the water, they have clear legal rights under maritime law. While filing a maritime wrongful death claim can be emotionally difficult, it is also extremely important, and grieving families deserve to recover the maximum financial compensation available.

Discuss Your Claim with a Miami Boating Accident Lawyer

If you have questions about filing a claim for a boating accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers have decades of experience helping individuals and families recover the financial compensation they deserve. To speak with an experienced Miami boating accident lawyer in confidence, please call 800-499-0551 or tell us how we can reach you online today.