In 2006 there were an estimated 1,024,375 registered vessels in Florida, and this number has grown substantially throughout the years. Due to the large number of boats and vessels in the waters of South Florida boating accidents are likely to occur. If you were involved in a boating accident in Miami or Fort Lauderdale Florida, please give our office a call. Boating accidents can cause serious bodily injury or even death. Typical boating accidents occur because of the following:
- Falls overboard
- Vessels capsizing
- Failure to wear a life jacket
- Drowning and trauma
- Personal watercraft (WaveRunners, jet skis) colliding with another vessel
Common injuries caused by boating accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury, anoxic brain injury, concussion
- Spinal, thoracic, lumbar, cervical injury
- Sprain, fracture, broken bone
- Internal, soft tissue, burn injury
Frequently asked questions about boating accidents
Q: What do I have to fill out an accident report?
A: Federal law requires the operator to file a boating accident with the State Reporting agency when as a result of a event that involves the boat or the boat’s equipment a person dies, a person disappears from the boat and there are circumstances indicating the missing person is either dead or injured, a person is injured and requires more medical care then basic first aid, the damage to the boat and other property is at least $2,000 in the aggregate or the boat is destroyed. If the operator of the boat is deceased or unable to make the report, the owner of the boat must file the report.
Q: What state agency do I contact in Florida?
A: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission. http://www.myfwc.com/
Q: How long do I have to report my boating accident?
A: If you are required to fill out an accident report, you must, by the quickest means possible contact of the following: the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred, or the police chief of the municipality in which the accident occurred, if applicable. However, if the accident occurred in federal waters you have to file the accident report within 48 hours after the persons dies, the injury requiring more that first aid occurred or when a person goes missing suggesting injury or death. You have 10 days to file the accident report when there is only damage to the boat or property.
Q: So, I had an accident; can I just go home?
A: It is unlawful for any person operating a vessel involved in a boating accident to leave the scene without giving all possible aid to the involved persons and without reporting the accident to the proper authorities.
Q: Where can I find these boating report forms?
A: The U.S. Coast Guard has the forms online and more state’s accept these. http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/accident_reporting.aspx
Q: How do I know if I have a case?
A: A boat operator may be determined to be a fault if his or her actions were negligent or intentional and those actions caused the accident. A boat operator may be a fault if his or her actions are deemed to have be action without reasonable care under the circumstances. For instance, if a boater is violating safety laws, the boat operator can be determined to have been negligent and at fault.
Q: Do I need an attorney for my boating accident?
A: Most likely, yes. The is because boating accident laws are more complex than your typical motor vehicle accident requiring special insight. If you were injured in a boating accident it is advisable to consult with any attorney who is familiar with boating laws. Contact boating accident attorney Ofer Shmucher of Shmucher Law, PL today.