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How Boating Accident Liability Works in Florida

Florida is among the top of the list when it comes to states with the most reported boating accidents. This is likely due to the fact that it has the second-largest coastline in the country which makes it such a hotspot for those who love to cruise the water. But what kind of accidents can happen on a boat, and who is liable? The Impact Medical Sarasota team is here to inform you on boating accident liability in Florida so you can be prepared.

Possible Boating Accidents

When you hear about accidents, it’s easy to visualize two vehicles crashing into each other. However, many single-vessel boating accidents can occur such as slips and falls, crashes into stationary structures, getting thrown overboard and drowning, or getting run over by the boat while floating on the water’s surface. Considering all of these possibilities, there are also many types of injuries that can occur like:

  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Bone fractures or breakage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain trauma

Most of these injuries can be treated through physical therapy or chiropractic care, but you need to be fast and proactive in starting your treatment. The longer you wait, the worse your symptoms can become. Some cases can even become permanent if left alone for too long.

Who Is at Fault?

Although some circumstances are completely out of anyone’s control, many factors lie with the boat operator. When assuming the role of driving a boat, there are a great load of duties and responsibilities that come with the task. It is up to the operator to make sure the boat is equipped with all necessary safety equipment and take other determinants into consideration.

A boat operator is considered liable for damages and injuries if:

  • The boat is taken out in unsafe conditions such as poor weather
  • Proper maintenance is neglected
  • They operator under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Capsizing occurs due to reckless driving
  • Essential safety equipment is omitted
  • The vessel exceeds a safe speed

If any of these events occur, it is considered a breach of safety on the operator’s part and they can be held liable. Before setting off on the water, take all necessary precautions to avoid these potential breaches regardless of whether you’re the operator or a passenger.

Boating Accident Rules

Boat Insurance

Boating insurance is not legally required in the state of Florida, but it is extremely recommended if you regularly engage in boating activities. With the high accident rate in Florida, it’s better to play it safe and have a chance of being reimbursed in case something does happen.

Reportable Boating Accidents

In short, a boating accident is considered reportable if the situation puts anyone’s health or wellbeing at risk. This includes injuries, disappearances, and even death. In any of these circumstances, the law requires you to report the incident within 24 hours. If there’s more than $2,000’s worth of property damage, a report must be filed within 10 days.

Liability Waivers

When renting a boat, the lender may have you sign a liability waiver. However, the authenticity of the waiver depends on the specific wording. If you encounter an accident while using a rental, you can always contact a lawyer for a second opinion.

Operator Responsibility

The boat operator is legally required to stay on the scene to call law enforcement and care for the passengers until help arrives.

What to Do After a Boating Accident

  1. Start making calls. Law enforcement and medical services should always come first as soon as the accident occurs. After that, consider contacting a lawyer and file a claim with your insurance company.
  2. Have your body examined. With the many injuries that can happen on or around a boat, and with some of them taking time to show, it’s important to get your body checked for damages. A physical therapist will be able to identify any trouble areas.
  3. Begin the healing process. If your physical therapist finds any potential threats, it’s important to start a treatment regimen right away to ensure proper healing.

Heal Your Injuries

Like car crash wounds, injuries from boating accidents aren’t something to be slept on. Left untreated, it can evolve into a larger problem and can even become permanent. If you recently endured a boating accident, give the professional team at Impact Medical Sarasota a call today at 941-269-2183 to schedule an appointment.