Between boating, kayaking, and swimming, the possibilities for fun on the water are endless. Unfortunately, people can become hurt while participating in these activities. When those injuries are the result of another person’s actions, the injured person may have a cause of action to sue for damages. Tampa maritime injury lawyers represent clients who have been injured while on the water to recover compensation for their injuries. It may be vital to the amount of damages you can recover to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Tampa Water Injury Laws
Despite the fact that injuries that occur on the water can result in very serious injuries, Florida has passed no statute that gives injured people a means to recover for their damages. Instead, Florida’s courts have defined a number of legal theories known as torts that allow people to file civil claims. By far, the most common of these torts is negligence. Simply stated, negligence is when a person has a legal responsibility to protect other people. When that responsibility is broken, and a protected person becomes injured, the responsible person may be liable.
Defining Types of Maritime Liability
More precisely, there are five elements of negligence that all plaintiffs must be able to demonstrate. The first is that the plaintiff must suffer actual physical harm. While mental injuries such as pain and anguish may be added on, the claim must have a physical injury as a foundation.
Duty of Care
In specific situations, the law creates a responsibility to protect others known as a duty of care. In maritime accidents, all boat drivers have assumed this duty as soon as they get in their boats. This duty of care extends a shield to all other boaters, swimmers, and even their own passengers. It is important for an individual to speak with a Tampa maritime injury lawyer about the impact this type of liability may have on their case.
Breach of Duty
A breach of the duty of care occurs when the person with the duty to protect takes an action that causes harm. It can also occur when a person fails to act to protect another. Common boating actions that constitute a breach include speeding, boating while intoxicated, or not using proper running lights.
Cause and Scope
The plaintiff must be able to show the court that their injuries were proximately caused by the defendant’s actions. In other words, they must show that the injuries were a result of the accident and not pre-existing. The plaintiff’s injuries must have been foreseeable considering the fact of the case. If a passenger breaks their leg when their driver collides with another boat, this is foreseeable. If a separate passenger suffers a heart attack during the collision, it may be considered unforeseeable. Tampa maritime injury lawyers will be able to evaluate the cause and scope based on the facts of the case.
Statute of Limitations in Maritime Injury Cases
The statute of limitations is a law that states that plaintiffs in civil cases have a limited time to bring their claim to court. Florida Statute 95.11 gives plaintiffs in all personal injury claims a limit of four years to file in court.
Benefit of a Lawyer
Maritime injuries, whether suffered as a boater, swimmer, or passenger, are usually the result of another person’s negligence. With injuries potentially changing a person’s life, you should take a positive step to protect your rights. Between medical rehabilitation, property damage, and mountains of paperwork, the process of pursuing a claim can seem intimidating. Let us handle the details and fight by your side.
Tampa maritime injury lawyers represent injured clients against aggressive insurance companies to get them the fair compensation that they deserve. Most cases end with a settlement without having to go to court. If a trial is necessary, our litigators are prepared to argue your case with diligence and vigor.