Florida offers miles and miles of sandy beaches and crystal clear oceans to residents and visitors to enjoy all year round. Some of the most common recreational activities tourists and Floridians relish the most are fishing and boating. For those coming to visit or residents without their own boats, chartering or renting a boat is a great opportunity to savor the ocean for a while.
When a boating accident injury occurs on a charter boat, the entire experience can be completely tarnished. Liability concerns arise and, quite often, the victim is unsure how and where to properly report the injury and what exactly the Florida laws say about boating accidents and liability. Because there are different types of charters, the specific type of charter will determine who is liable for the injury. Let’s look at some scenarios.
Hiring a Crew
People who are not familiar with boats might prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride and allow an experienced captain (skipper) and crew handle the operation of the boat. Pay close attention to paperwork that you sign when you rent a boat and a crew, as you may be signing to take on any responsibility for damages and injuries while the boat is in your possession. You may also be releasing the charter company and the crew from any liability.
Boat owners are expected to keep their vessels in safe working condition. The company or the skipper of the chartered boat can be held liable if the boat was not functioning properly or the hired skipper acted negligently. For example, if a passenger is injured on a rusty nail, the negligence factor would fall in the charter boat owner’s lap, not the skipper operating the boat. However, if the skipper’s negligence causes damages and injury, he can be held responsible.
Bareboat charters are the most popular ways to spend time on a boat in Florida waters. When you elect this type of charter, you essentially rent the boat for a specific amount of time. While this is a way to feel free on the ocean, manning the boat on your own, this type of charter can be risky legally, as the person who “captains” the boat can be held responsible for damages and injuries in the event of an accident.
Who is at Fault?
Essentially, the accident that caused the damage and injuries will determine who is at fault. For example, a group of people decide to rent a boat and elect for one of the group members to operate the boat. The operator starts driving erratically and hits a large rock jutting out of the water. The driver would be found responsible because he was acting negligently and that act was what caused the damage to the boat and injuries to passengers.
Contact A Legal Representative
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you should contact a Florida boating accident injury lawyer to help you pursue a case to recuperate compensation for your injuries. Contact us if you have been injured in a cruise ship or charter boat accident, BUI accident, Jet Ski accident, or any other recreational water activities. Call our firm today to speak to an advocate.