Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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Fall may be in full swing, but Florida boaters know it’s the perfect time of year to be out on the water. Unfortunately, those waters can be perilous when reasonable care is tossed to the wind.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reports there were 931,000 registered vessels in the Sunshine State as of last year, and a total of 714 reportable boating accidents. Reportable boating accidents are those that result in more than $10,000 in property damage or personal injury or death. Of those 714 boat accidents, 421 resulted in injuries and 67 deaths. Personal watercraft (i.e., Jet Skis, SeaDoos, etc.) accounted for 13 percent of all registered vessels, but 26 percent of all reportable boating accidents. In terms of fatal crashes, there were 11 total, with nearly half of them involving a rented vessel. Palm Beach County ranked No. 3 in terms of the most reported boating accidents in Florida – 62 total reported with 3 of them fatal and 19 resulting in injuries. More than $1 million in property damage was reported.

Proving liability and obtaining compensation for a boating accident isn’t always a simple matter, but it’s often worth pursuing given the severity of injuries typically involved. The primary cause of Florida boating accidents, as assessed by the reviewing authority in cases last year, can largely be summed up as operator error. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from Jacksonville.com, boating accidents and related cases of personal injury and death are on the rise this year as compared to years past.  One of the most important aspects of these findings discussed in the article is not that the numbers are going up, but that they are going up because of boat operators’ conduct.

South Florida Boat Accident LawyerOne person interviewed is a man who repairs docks around the state.  He has a 26-foot boat he uses when he is on the job, and he frequently sees first hand how irresponsible people can be when they are out on the water.  Some of the more obvious issues involved speeding well above posted limits in certain areas and that are supposed to be no wake zones.  He also speaks of a person using a personal watercraft such as wave runner or jet ski that crashed into a dock near where he was working. Continue reading →

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One of the most popular activities in our area is going out on a boat.  Whether we are talking about inshore fishing, deep-sea fishing, or just taking a ride, boating can be a lot of fun.  However, many people do not realize how dangerous boating can be if things are not done right.  The other issue is that many people who enjoy boating do so via rental, charter or on a friend’s vessel.  In other words, they have little control of the safety of the boat on which they are riding.

boating accidents Florida Every year in South Florida, there is an added emphasis put on Safe Boating Week. Concern has been heightened this year following the high-profile death of Marlins staff ace pitcher Jose Fernandez. Unfortunately, many serious or fatal boating accidents involve the operator being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Continue reading →

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A federal appeals court ruled recently that a boating company didn’t have a responsibility to keep an eye on the weather and offer an updated forecast to six vacationers from Florida whose rental boat sank seven years ago, leading to four deaths. But the 3-0 ruling in the case of In re: Aramark Sports wasn’t a total win for the boating company. That’s because justices remanded the case on the question of whether the firm was negligent in its failure to warn the boat renters of the wind speed limitations  of the rented vessel’s design.

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The boat, a Baja 202 Islander, was a 20-foot vessel that had the capacity to carry eight people. Court records indicate the manual for that boat revealed it was able to withstand maximum wind speeds of just 31 mph. That manual also stipulates that the maximum noted wave height and wind speed for that category doesn’t necessarily mean the boat is safe at that speed or that passengers will survive if the vessel encounters those conditions. In fact, the manual indicates that only highly experienced boaters will have the ability to operate safely the boat in those conditions.

But this was not information that was passed on to the vacationers – three retired police officers from St. Petersburg, FL and their wives – in Utah. When they met with steady winds of 35 mph. At times, gusts hurled past them at 55 mph. Their boat began taking on water. They issued a mayday as the boat sank in Lake Powell. One couple made it to some jagged rocks, where they clung until rescuers found them. However, the other two couples perished in the sudden storm.  Continue reading →

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A cruise ship injury resulted in a$21.5 million verdict in favor of plaintiff after jurors in the federal lawsuit determined the cruise line was grossly negligent for failing to fix a faulty door, which was a known problem. cruiseship1

In Hausman v. Holland America Line-USA et al., tried in the Washington Western District Court in Seattle, plaintiff not only produced evidence of his own injury, but of similar injuries suffered by dozens of other passengers before him involving the same type of sliding glass doors that struck him. These other cases occurred across the company’s fleet, with the issue being faulty sensor settings.

Plaintiff alleged he suffered a minor brain injury when he was struck by the door as he exited behind several cruise members. Surveillance video of the incident, which occurred in open water, shows plaintiff approaching the doors and then being struck in the face and side of the head when the doors shut unexpectedly. Defense argued in trial plaintiff walked into the closing doors. Continue reading →

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Five teens were injured – three of them critically – and one was killed in a boating accident in waters running through a quiet residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale. nightboats

Authorities with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission indicated the small boat in which they were riding struck a bridge on the Middle River, shortly after midnight. At the time, the group was navigating waters that run along the North Dixie Highway in Fort Lauderdale, a residential neighborhood that is, by all accounts, pretty quiet.

The group had only been out for about an hour-and-a-half before the accident. Continue reading →

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In the boating injury case of Westfield Ins. Co. v. Vandenberg, the question was raised to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit regarding whether the construction company insurance held by a defendant in the injury lawsuit could be liable to pay defendant’s share of damages. boats

The appellate court answered no.

Plaintiff previously agreed to a $25 million settlement agreement, to be paid through the assignment of claims against defendants’ insurance companies. This decision means plaintiff will have to rely on payments from the other insurers. Continue reading →

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A 24-year-old Hollywood man was killed and his girlfriend seriously injured in a Florida boating accident in which the vessel, cruising along the Intracoastal Waterway, slammed into a concrete dock. The decedent was thrown from the boat, his head striking the sea wall behind a private home, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).lifefloat

Two others on board, including the girlfriend of decedent, were seriously hurt and had to be transported to nearby Broward Health Medical Center by emergency crews. A fourth person on board was unhurt.

Although the investigation is in the early stages, authorities say the boat was moving alongside another vessel, which had six people on board. One witness indicated the two boats were “splashing” each other, and both were reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed. There is some indication two people might have been operating the boat on which decedent was aboard, and investigators are examining whether alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

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While October isn’t the busiest boating season, warm fall weather means that plenty of boaters, both experienced and inexperienced, will be taking to Florida waters. In a tragic accident, a 29-year-old woman was killed when two boats were involved in a deadly collision. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the accident involved a 65-foot yacht and a 27-foot boat. Three people fell into the water following the collision and were brought aboard the yacht. All three victims were taken to Mercy Hospital for medical care. In critical condition, the 29-year-old victim was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

548713_boat_wake_2The deadly boating accident, which occurred near Key Biscayne, has sparked a wide investigation and controversy as operators of both boats await toxicology reports. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the 27-foot boat was headed south when it collided with the yacht, traveling in a northern direction after 10 o’clock in the evening. The crash occurred on Columbus Day weekend when there were additional officers patrolling the area. They were able to respond quickly when they saw flares shot into the air.

The agency has not determined cause of the accident, but did perform immediate sobriety tests on the operator of the larger boat. He performed a breathalyzer test and also had his blood drawn, but toxicology reports can take weeks. The officers were also investigating whether speed or reckless driving was a cause of the accident. Any accident involving a fatality should be investigated by authorities as well as an independent investigator. In this case, the cause of the accident may include speeding or reckless boating, drinking and boating, driving without a license, violation of Florida boating laws, manufacturing defects, and other causes.

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Labor Day in Florida means the sun-soaked masses will be spending the day basking along the surf, partying on the sandbars and blasting music on their boats. This year, the crowds on South Florida beaches are expected to be greater than usual, as the economy has bounced back, more people are taking vacations as gas prices are down.
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More waterway traffic means a higher likelihood for crashes, especially when alcohol is factored into the mix. But safety officials are particularly on edge this year in the wake of a tragic crash in the Biscayne Bay on July 4th. Although the crash is still under investigation, the post-fireworks collision that killed four and critically wounded several others is believed to have been the result of a combination of impaired boating and heavy traffic.

This was also the same area where, in May, a man was killed trying to help a popular local DJ push a party boat out of a sand bar. The engine was still on, and the man was struck by a spinning propeller. The event had been sponsored by a local alcohol vendor.

Our Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyers understand this holiday, law enforcement isn’t willing to take any chances. A task force comprised of federal,state, county and city officials has been formed to conduct extra patrols along the coast and in the bays.
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