Cruising the shores of Florida can be a great danger when speeding, carelessness, drinking, or other dangers present themselves in the water. A Pinellas County boat accident attorney understands what factors are key to proving negligence in a particular case and can help you win the compensation you are owed. If you have been injured in a boat accident, contact a skilled injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin your case.
In recent years, Florida has been the leading state for boating accidents in the nation. Too often, the freedom of the open water presents the illusion of safety, and people resort to reckless and dangerous boating behavior. Likewise, a nonchalant attitude to boat maintenance or safety measures can lead to disaster.
It is a crime to operate a boat in a reckless manner. Besides criminal liability, there is civil liability for violations of the statutes governing vessel safety in Florida. There is also liability under the general rules of common law negligence. A boat accident attorney in Pinellas County can help to establish liability in an accident.
Boats as Dangerous Instrumentalities
It is important to note that Florida law imposes a heightened standard of care on the operators of boats, whether the operator owns the particular vessel or not. Under Florida law, boats or other vessels are considered a “dangerous instrumentality”.
What this designation means, as a Pinellas County boat accident lawyer can explain, is that operators of boats must “exercise the highest degree of care” in the operation of their vessels to prevent injury to others.
This duty does not extend to the owners of vessels if they are not the ones operating the boat, unless they are present during the incident in question, according to FL. Stat. 327.32.
As Florida is a comparative fault state, the court will decide how much at fault each party involved in an accident is. It is possible that the court could find that someone is also partially at fault even if it does not seem that way.
However, an individual might still be able to recover compensation even if the court believes that their actions contributed to the accident – their compensation will then be reduced in proportion to their share of the fault.
Rights As a Passenger
Someone do not need to be struck by another boat to bring an action in a boat accident. If they are a passenger and the boat operator was drinking, speeding in an area where it was prohibited, or did not have adequate boating education and training, they may be able to bring a claim against the individual.
If someone or a their loved one was involved in a crash as a passenger in a boat without adequate life vests or safety equipment, they may also have grounds for bringing an action against the boat operator.
Contacting a Pinellas County Boat Accident Attorney
Boat accidents can be terrifying both because they are unexpected and because of the added danger of water and drowning risks resulting from the crash.
A Pinellas County boat accident attorney knows the legal nuances of winning a boat accident case and can bring those insights to bear to help you win your case and get you back on the water.