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.As discussed in a recent article from the Sun Sentinel, Fernandez was driving his fishing boat with cocaine and alcohol in his system. He was driving the 32-foot fishing boat at 65-mph in middle of the night. Fernandez and his two friends died in the fatal boating accident.
As our West Palm Beach boating accident lawyers can explain, there are two basically two different examples of negligent behavior that we see in many boating accidents. The most common type of accident is when someone is driving in a dangerous manner (usually after drinking) and either crashes the boat or otherwise injures a rider. In some cases, we have someone fall off the boat. This can result in a drowning or being seriously injured or even killed when hit by a boat or moving propeller. There are also many accidents that occur to skiers and others pulled behind the boat on tubes or rafts.
Another basis for a claim of negligence involves what the owner or operator does after the initial accident occurs. In some cases, the owner does not have proper safety equipment like life preservers or a ship-to-shore radio. If you are close to shore, the radio isn’t as big a problem as it used to be, since cell phones will often work, but the U.S. Coast Guard requires certain safety equipment depending on the size of the watercraft.
In some cases, the boat has all necessary equipment, but the operator is not able to safely go back and get the person who has fallen overboard. This can result in serious personal injury or death. It is not easy to safely get next to a person in moving water, but if the owner is drunk, it is very dangerous to do this.
Fortunately, most who own a boat have a valid insurance, as they would in a car. Your experienced boating accident lawyer will be able to work with an adjuster from that insurance company and negotiate a settlement that gives you a full and appropriate recovery. However, you want to make sure you have an attorney who is willing to take the case to trial if the insurance company is not willing to offer a fair settlement.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Safe Boating Week strikes chord in South Florida this year, May 18, 2017, By Steve Waters, Sun Sentinel
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