Florida leads the nation in the number of registered watercraft, with millions of residents and visitors enjoying the warm coastal waters every year. Unfortunately, the state also has the highest number of annual boating and jet ski accidents, many of which result in serious or even fatal injuries. Although commonly referred to as “accidents,” most recreational boating injuries could have been prevented—and there is someone who could be held liable for your suffering.
Browning Law Firm is committed to fighting for justice and the compensation that our clients deserve after injuries on a party boat, jet ski, or other pleasure craft on the water. If a negligent party caused your accident, we can guide you through the process of filing your claim and negotiate a settlement on your behalf—and we do not collect payment until we have secured a recovery for you. If you were injured in a boating accident on the Emerald Coast or in Northwest Florida, contact us today by calling (850) 344-1736 for a FREE review of your case.
How Negligence Leads to Boating Accidents on the Florida Coast
There are many ways a person can get hurt on the water. If a boat crashes into another object or vessel, passengers aboard can suffer devastating injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage. Even those who suffer broken bones or sprains can be off work for months to recover, and some families may be left at a loss if a relative does not survive the accident.
Common negligent actions that result in boating accidents include:
- Boating under the influence. Intoxication is the leading cause of leisure boat accidents. A boat operator who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs is far less able to judge distances, make rational decisions, or react appropriately to the dangers ahead.
- Distractions. Just like drivers, boat operators are often distracted by talking to passengers, taking pictures, texting, or eating and drinking. If the boat operator is not properly attentive, they may fail to avoid collisions with other boats, docks, or even swimmers nearby. A distracted operator may also fail to notice when a passenger falls overboard, increasing the risk of drowning incidents.
- Inexperience. Although boats and jet skis take a great deal of skill and experience to operate, few operators are adequately trained before taking the helm. An inexperienced boat operator may set sail despite dangerous weather conditions or before making necessary safety checks, resulting in collisions, flooding, or sinking.
- Reckless operation of watercraft. Countless injuries have been caused by boat operators who do not know or willingly violate navigational rules. Common forms of recklessness include speeding or dangerous maneuvers in poor weather conditions, both of which commonly occur before capsizing.
- Lack of safety measures. The vast majority of all leisure boat operators have never taken a boating safety course, leaving them unprepared to handle an emergency situation. A boat operator who does not have proper safety gear on board (such as life vests and first aid equipment) or fails to call for help after an incident could be guilty of negligence.
- Mechanical defects. In some cases, the condition of the vessel is to blame for the accident. Defective parts, equipment failure, and mechanical breakdown from poor maintenance can cause injuries ranging from stalling at sea to fires and explosions. We investigate these claims thoroughly to see whether the boat’s owner, repair facility, or the boat manufacturers can be held liable for the incident.
Contact Browning Law Firm Today for a Complimentary Consultation
As a former Florida State Trooper, our founding attorney Coy H. Browning knows how important it is to begin building an accident case as soon as possible. Browning Law Firm stands ready to assist passengers and other victims who have been injured in watercraft accidents in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Navarre, Niceville, and across the Florida Panhandle. If you’ve been hurt in a boating accident, contact us today for a free review of your case.