The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, often shortened to “FWC,” released figures for boating incidents in 2015. These are the latest statistics and there is good news and some bad news.  The good news is that fatalities were down from the previous year. The bad news is that the total number of boating accidents was up from 634 to 737; an increase of 14%. Of course, if this tragedy happens to you or your family in Florida, it is very personal to you and statistics do not matter at that point. You need a boating accidents attorney who can help you recover damages with efficiency and professionalism.

888BOATLAW — Your Boating Accidents Attorney

At our law firm, we are boating accidents attorneys. We say there are no minor incidents and that is because people do not typically come forward with minor injuries in these types of cases. When a person decides to pursue a boating accident case, it is because there has been substantial injury or unfortunately sometimes a death.

The rise of boat-related incidents should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been out on the water on a Saturday, Sunday, or major holiday in Tampa. Boats are faster than ever and more prevalent, as are personal watercraft (“PWCs”) (also known as jet skis). Another factor giving rise to increasing boat-related incidents is the minimal qualifications for a person to operate a very high-powered vessel capable of great speed. It is true that anyone born after January 1, 1988 who operates a vessel with a 10 horsepower motor or greater must pass a boater safety course, but many times these classes are very basic. And, these classes typically do not involve actual operation of a vessel. Can you imagine if operation of a motor vehicle on Florida roads did not require at least some demonstration that the person is capable of operating the vehicle?

Common Boating Injuries

The most common types of boat-related incidents, the data shows, come from two main reasons: failure to maintain a proper lookout for other boats, and just plain inattention. Collisions with other boats and with fixed objects still account for almost half of the incidents according to FWC. This is consistent with what we see as boating accidents attorneys: many collisions with other boats in Florida.

But also, we see another very common injury from water recreation in Florida that may be hidden in the data: back injuries and broken bones arising when a captain goes too fast for the sea and weather conditions while a passenger is sitting toward the front of the vessel. Many times, passengers are sitting in the front of the vessel facing back toward the captain and the passengers do not know that the captain is going too fast or is about to hit a big wave or wake. The passenger is launched in the air when the boat hits the wake and the passenger comes back down just as the vessel is rising to hit a second wake.

A frequent injury we see from this situation is the passenger sustains fractured vertebrae. An almost constant feature to this injury that we handle for clients is that the client was sitting in the very front of the boat, and the captain was driving the boat too fast.

Choosing Your Boating Accidents Attorney

You have a choice of attorneys. On our website, we have given you a list of questions to ask any boating accidents attorney you are considering to represent you and your family in your serious situation in Florida. Ask the lawyer how many boat cases—not automobile cases—they have handled. Ask how many similar cases they have handled in which the lawyer has filed suit. Does the lawyer you are considering know that you may have a claim against the vessel itself, and why that is important?

(Here is the inside story on that.) Your boating accidents attorney knowing that you may have a claim against the vessel is important because the vessel may not have insurance—or the insurance company may disavow coverage on the vessel. If either of those events happens, your boating accidents attorney has to know how to proceed against the vessel itself.

Remember, this is your case; it is very personal and important to you and your family. You need to get this right. You deserve to hire an actual boating accidents attorney with the knowledge to handle all aspects of your case in Florida.

***None of the foregoing is legal advice and is not meant to give legal advice. Each case is different. This is why it is important to contact us on the specific facts of your case. What you say in making the claim can greatly affect your outcome.