Florida has over 8,000 miles of coastal shoreline, more than any other state except Alaska. In addition to its ocean coastline, the state also has more than 11,000 miles of rivers and waterways and its largest lake, Lake Okeechobee, is the second largest freshwater lake in the contiguous US. It also boasts approximately 7,700 lakes greater than 10 acres.
All of this water makes Florida a haven for boaters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the state had more than 873,000 registered vessels in 2014, giving it the most registered watercrafts in the United States, and beating the runner-up by more than 64,000 vessels.
Unfortunately, in addition to having the largest number of boats in the U.S., Florida also has the highest number of boating accidents, with 737 reportable accidents in 2014. It was the leading state in boating accident fatalities, with nearly twice the fatalities of the second leading state. In addition to the 62 people killed in boating accidents that year, another 438 people were injured.
Often, boat accidents are the result of operator inexperience, alcohol impairment, or distraction. Other times, accidents may be caused by defective or inadequately maintained vessels.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, speak to a Tampa boat accident attorney about how you may be able to achieve financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
Causes of Boat Accidents in Tampa
The United States Coast Guard lists five primary accident types for boating and personal watercraft accidents:
- Collision with another recreational vehicle
- Collision with a fixed object
- Flooding or swamping
- Skier mishap
Of these five accident types, collision with other boats or personal watercraft was the most common, with 990 accidents in 2015, resulting in 36 deaths and 619 injuries.
The Coast Guard goes on to list the primary contributing factors to these accidents, and in almost all cases, the cause of the accident was related to operator behavior:
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Alcohol use
- Navigation rules violation
When a boating accident is the result of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, the injured parties have the right to pursue financial compensation for damages, losses, and injuries from those liable for the accident. Having an attorney fighting for you can help protect your recovery and maximize the potential for just compensation.
Boating Accident Injuries
In a boating accident, the most common cause of death is drowning, followed by trauma. However, there are many other types of injuries which occur in boat accidents and may not prove fatal. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists the most common types of boat accident injuries in 2015, some of which include:
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Sprain or strain
Recovery from these injuries may take weeks, months, or even years. In some cases, full physical recovery is impossible, and a serious boat accident can render a person permanently disabled. Regardless of the severity of an injury, a personal injury lawyer can fight for fair compensation for medical expenses, lost income, loss of benefits, pain and suffering, and more.
To learn more, contact a Tampa boat accident attorney to schedule a free consultation.