While boating does not involve roads or highways, Florida law on boating negligence is the same for motor vehicles. You will be legally negligent for breaching your duty of care to operate a boat carefully that results in injury or property damage to another individual on the water. Though the negligence of boat operators is often the cause of most boating accidents, the negligent conduct of other boaters and boat passengers may also play a role.
Anyone who causes or contributes to the cause of a boating accident by failing to abide by boat speed restrictions, driving unreasonably close to another water craft, operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or disobeying any other regulation required by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can be charged with negligence.
Moreover, injury victims can still hold boaters liable even if they drive in accordance with applicable rules and regulations, but fail to provide required personal flotations devices and other necessary safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, sound-producing devices and visual distress signals.
Due to the recreational nature of boating in Florida, passengers can easily share negligence (with boat operators) for the accidents that injured them. Even the consumption of just one alcoholic beverage can cause intoxication due to the hot sun. This can lead an individual to use poor judgment which may send them or other passengers overboard, or otherwise cause injuries.
The shared responsibility amongst boat passengers and drivers for injuries can make boating negligence cases quite complex, as multiple parties attempt to shift liability to others. Boating accident victims need to seek legal representation from a personal injury lawyer who has the skills and resources needed to figure out what really happened in your case.
It is always best to hire an attorney to represent you in your boating accident case, especially if you have sustained injures. An attorney can help you to maximize your recovery and better defend you against liability if you’re at fault. Board Certified Personal Injury attorney Bryan Caulfield has decades of experience in boating accident cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, call Bryan Caulfield today for a free consultation.