One of the best things about living in Florida is the access to water. Whether on a sailboat, powerboat, kayak or simply swimming, the possibilities for fun are endless. Unfortunately, all of these activities come with a certain amount of risk. People are commonly injured when involved in boating accidents resulting in broken bones, ligament damage, or even paralysis.
Just like in cases where people are injured in car accidents, these people have the right to sue for damages due to someone else’s negligence. A Pasco County maritime injury lawyer can represent the interests of people injured in maritime accidents to obtain the compensation that they deserve. Contact a distinguished personal injury lawyer that can fight for you. En Español.
Florida Maritime Injury Law
There is no law passed by Florida’s legislature that gives people injured in a maritime accident the right to seek damages from the people responsible. Rather, the injured people must pursue a claim under the common law, and can do so with the help of a Pasco County maritime injury lawyer.
Simply put, the common law is a collection of court cases handed down over the years that today’s courts are required to follow. These court decisions have provided the common law tort of negligence. This allows people injured in maritime accidents to sue the responsible party for their damages.
Negligence is when a person has a responsibility to care for the well-being of another person. When that responsibility is broken, and an injury occurs, the person carrying the responsibility is liable. More specifically, there are five parts, or elements, that a negligence claim must satisfy:
- Duty: In some situations, the law places a responsibility on people to protect others. This is known as a duty of care. This is never automatic, people must take an action that creates a duty. Whenever a person operates a vehicle, like a powerboat, sailboat or other watercraft, they assume a duty to protect other boaters, passengers, and swimmers. For this reason, there is always a duty present in maritime injury cases.
- Breach: A breach of the duty of care happens when the person carrying the duty fails to protect others. This is usually done by ignoring a rule of the water, such as by speeding, or ignoring navigational buoys. It can also be satisfied by something more serious such as drunk boating. Whether a breach of the duty of care happened is often the central question in these cases.
- Cause: The plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that if the breach of the duty of care had not occurred, they would not have been injured.
- Scope: The injuries suffered by the plaintiff must have been foreseeable from the facts of the case. Because people are often severely injured, or even killed by boating accidents, this is not often in dispute.
- Damages: The plaintiff must suffer an actual physical harm. While other forms of damages, such as mental anguish or lost time at work can certainly be added on, all claims must have a foundation in a physical injury.
Statute of Limitations
Lastly, all potential plaintiffs should be aware that there is a time limit within which they must file their case. Known as the statute of limitations, all cases alleging personal injury due to negligence must be started no more than four years after the accident according to Florida Statute 95.11. It is imperative to speak with a Pasco County maritime injury lawyer as soon as possible, so a person can begin to build their case.
How an Attorney Can Help
Getting hurt in a maritime accident is never a pleasant experience. Between the medical bills, lost time at work, and general pain and suffering, the entire situation can be overwhelming. The insurance companies are no help. They may attempt to minimalize the extent of peoples’ injuries, or even pass the blame for the accident onto plaintiffs. A Pasco County maritime injury lawyer will know how to handle these situations. By dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf, an attorney can let you get your life back to normal.
Using a process of gathering all of the evidence, talking to witnesses, and forming detailed demand packages, an attorney can convince the insurance companies that their clients are at-fault and many cases settle without needing to go to trial. Contact an attorney today to see how they can help you get the compensation that you deserve.