Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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Aaron Papero, Esquire Freeman Injury Law

So, you slipped or tripped and fell and injured yourself while in the common area of your condominium. What duty does the Condominium owe to you as a tenant or invited guest otherwise known as an “invitee”?

Under Florida law, a landowner owes you two duties:

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Cruise ship vacations and travel are a top tourist draw in Florida, with ships commonly leaving from ports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral. While many come home from these excursions with memories they’ll always cherish, others are left with a nightmare they’d forget if they could. 

Sexual assault on cruise ships is a major problem, as reported last year by NBC News, which noted victims are disproportionately under 18. In one instance reported by the outlet, the 16-year-old girl of a single mother was allegedly sexually assaulted by a trainer in the gym on board the cruise ship. The case was reported, and the ship did collect evidence and contact the FBI. However, no criminal charges were ever filed – something NBC reported was common in these cases. Of the 92 alleged on-board crimes that were reported by cruise lines in 2016, 62 of those were for sexual assaults and rapes – a Congressional report finding one-third of the victims were minors.

As our Fort Lauderdale cruise ship injury attorneys can explain, cruise lines can be held liable for sexual assaults and other criminal attaches that occur on ships and during excursions – particularly if they involve employees of the ship. In the event an employee was involved, cruise lines may be deemed strictly liable, meaning it’s not necessary to prove negligence. However, in cases where other passengers were involved, plaintiffs will need to prove negligence, which is failure to exercise a duty of reasonable care. Continue reading →

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Boating is one of the more popular activities in South Florida. In some cases, this includes going out in the bay or offshore from areas like Fort Lauderdale, but it can also involve taking a boat out of Lake Okeechobee in the Greater Orlando area. While this can involve a lot of fun, there are also serious boating accidents that occur each year which can result in serious personal injury or death. Some of these accidents can lead to the need to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent news article from TC Palm, a major fishing tournament was canceled after the first day when two boaters went missing while participating in the tournament. Authorities including those from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, have said one team consisting of two men who had traveled to the state to participate in the tournament were reported missing the night following the first day of this tournament on the lake. Continue reading →

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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, 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.

One 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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