2021 Florida Boating Accident Claim Guide

You may be tempted to postpone medical treatment after a boating accident, especially if your injuries appear minor. Don’t make this mistake.

Boating accidents are all too common. In fact, the Coast Guard found that it wasn’t until 2019 that over 4,000 boat accidents occurred.

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, you likely have many questions about making a boating accident claim. You may be wondering if you can get compensation for your claim or if you should even go to the trouble of filing a claim.

If you are considering filing a Florida boating accident claim, there are a few important steps you should take to make your claim successful. These steps will help you gather vital evidence of your claim and the value of the damage sustained so that you can maximize your potential compensation.

Take measures to protect yourself after a boating accident

It can be difficult to think clearly right after a boating accident. However, if you remember to follow the steps below, it will make it easier to meet your boating accident claim. These precautionary measures will also prevent you from facing negative legal ramifications.

Make sure everyone is safe (but don’t leave the scene of the accident)

Before doing anything else, make sure that you, your passengers, and your belongings are not at risk. Also, do whatever you can to help other stakeholders.

However, do not leave the scene of the accident. Florida Statute 327.30 (5) prohibits anyone operating a boat involved in an accident or injury from leaving the scene until they:

  • Given “all possible help for those involved in the accident”;
  • Made “reasonable efforts to locate the owner or persons affected by the accident”; and
  • Notified law enforcement personnel.

However, not all boating accidents require you to notify law enforcement personnel.

Notify law enforcement

Florida law requires ship operators involved in a “major” boating accident to report the accident to local law enforcement immediately. A “serious” boating accident includes:

  • Property damage of at least $ 2,000;
  • Injuries that require medical treatment (in addition to first aid); or
  • The death or disappearance of people on board one of the boats involved in the accident.

You should notify either the local sheriff’s department or the local police department when reporting a boating accident. If you don’t know what county or parish you are in, you can also report the accident to the Florida Fish and Wild Conservation Commission. To do this, select * FWC from any Florida cell phone.

If someone has life-threatening medical injuries or an emergency exists, you should dial 911.

Exchange information with everyone involved

Make sure you know the name, address, and insurance information of all owners involved. Also, make sure you know the basic information of all the boats involved in the accident.

Document everything about the accident

Image by Shahid Kazi via Unsplash.com.

After a boating accident, it is important that you act quickly to preserve all evidence. This increases the likelihood that your lawsuit will be successful in court. These steps include:

  • Photographing the scene of the accident, the ships involved and any property damage to other objects;
  • Obtain testimony from witnesses (if possible);
  • Detecting unusual weather or environmental conditions; and
  • Save all documents and physical evidence related to the accident.

Also, make sure you document any losses you incur as a result of the accident, including medical bills and lost wages.

Get medical treatment (even if your injuries don’t seem serious)

The next step in making a boating accident claim is getting medical treatment.

You may be tempted to postpone medical treatment after a boating accident, especially if your injuries appear minor. Don’t make this mistake.

By getting medical help even for minor injuries, you can ensure that you are getting a proper diagnosis and evidence of your injuries.

You should consider consulting a doctor even if you do not feel injured at all. This way you ensure that you don’t have any hidden or delayed injuries like spinal cord trauma, whiplash, or PTSD.

Know your rights after a boating accident

In Florida boating accidents lawsuits, the party responsible for the accident is generally required to pay compensation to the injured party. This means you may be eligible for financial reimbursement for your accident damage. However, you must show that the party you are suing was negligent. In other words, you have to prove that the other party:

  • Owed you a duty;
  • Failure to perform this duty due to your act (or inaction); and
  • Made you lose because you failed to perform your duty.

However, Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that a court will decide to what extent each party was responsible for the accident. The court will then assign a percentage of the blame for the accident to each party. If you share some of the fault for the accident, your damage will be reduced proportionally.

Know how to get compensation

There are two main types of damages that Florida courts award: damages and punitive damages.


Compensatory damages are intended to reimburse you for any losses you suffered as a result of the accident, such as: B. Medical bills and lost wages. These damages can also be granted for more subjective losses such as pain and suffering.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are intended to punish a party who has committed an illegal act. This type of compensation is usually only granted in cases where a party has recklessly or deliberately caused a boating accident.

Contact an attorney as soon as possible

You have limited time to file a boating accident related claim. In Florida, this period – governed by the state statute of limitations – is typically only four years for negligence claims. If you wait until after this time to make your claim, it will likely be discarded. For this reason, it is important to contact a qualified Florida boating accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

While this guide provides a general background for making a boating accident claim in Florida, it is often difficult to make a claim on your own. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, calculate your damage, and maximize your compensation.

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