Riverview Boat Accident Lawyer

Home /  Riverview Boat Accident Lawyer
Riverview Boat Accident Lawyer

Riverview Boat Accident Attorney

Personal injury cases are not exactly infrequent, but boating incidents are especially common in Florida because of the significant number of people on the water. Watersport tourist attractions and numerous natives with registered vessels traverse Florida waters. If you’ve been involved or harmed in a recent boating collision, speak with a Riverview boat accident lawyer for legal assistance.

Attorneys at The Frank Santini Law Firm are knowledgeable and experienced in personal injury law, including boating and other watercraft accidents. We’ll make sure you receive the maximum compensation payout you’re legally entitled to for the damages you’ve endured.

Why Boating Incidents Are Prevalent in Florida

Florida law lacks certain regulations for who can rent and operate boats and other recreational vessels due to the high number of tourists. It is the most active state for recreational boating, which makes up a major portion of the tourist industry. Unfortunately, this results in a large number of inexperienced people operating boats, one of the main causes of boating accidents. This also means that there are numerous vessels on waterways on a daily basis.

Persons born after January 1, 1988, must obtain a boating safety certification, which can be done online upon completion of a boating safety course. There is no age requirement for operating a boat if these requirements are met. Moreover, not even this basic education and proof is required if there is someone born prior to 1988 in your party on the watercraft. This allows for the dangerous potential of uneducated operators with minimal experience operating a boat in waters full of other inexperienced operators.

Common reasons a boating accident may occur, besides inexperienced operators, include moving at high speeds, boating during poor weather like thunderstorms or heavy rainfall, failing to have necessary safety equipment on board (e.g., life vests), and operating a boat while intoxicated or in another negligent/unsafe manner. Additionally, operators boating with faulty parts or equipment, whether from subpar maintenance or defective manufacturing, are likely to get into accidents.

Common Types of Boat Accidents in FL

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the most commonly occurring type of watercraft incident is a collision between two vessels. Here are other frequently reported types of boating accidents:

  • Colliding with fixed objects
  • Flooding
  • Grounding– making contact with the earth or a waterway side
  • Falling overboard
  • Explosions or fires from fueling equipment
  • Hitting underwater objects
  • Capsizing– a vessel is rolled onto its side or further turned upside down by waves, wind, etc.
  • Damage from another boat’s wake– waves following a vessel’s movement along the water, which may cause nearby boats to capsize, swamp (fill with water but remain afloat), or rock.
  • Sinking

Florida has a wide variety of waterways, some with a higher rate of accidents than others. Bays and sounds, the ocean and the gulf, rivers, creeks, and canals are among the waterways where boating incidents most frequently occur.

Some hotspots for boating accidents include the Florida Keys, particularly waters between Key West and Islamorada, as well as in Miami-Dade county especially between Key Biscayne and North Miami Beach which is near the cruise terminal on Dodge Islands.

Potential Risks and Injuries in a Boating Accident Case

The circumstances of a boating incident can vary significantly, and thus, resulting injuries do as well. Bodily injury may come from a slip and fall, fire and fuel issues, and drowning. More than half of drownings among 15-year-old or older persons happen in natural waters such as oceans, lakes, and rivers. Drowning can cause serious or permanent harm, such as brain damage or even fatal injuries.

It’s important to know what increases the risk of drowning; not knowing how to swim, ineffective or absent fences/boundaries into deeper water, failure to closely supervise, and not wearing a life jacket are all ways someone may drown. Of the boat-related deaths in 2021, 81 percent died by drowning. Furthermore, up to 70% of watersport fatalities involved alcohol consumption.

Other injuries that can happen during a boat accident include near drowning and lung infections from inhaling water, severe thermal or electrical burns, significant abrasions/cuts and contusions, damage to the spinal cord, and broken bones. Most dangerously, traumatic brain injuries can occur from violent collisions, capsizing, or hitting something stable after being thrown overboard, such as a dock or a jetty of rocks.

Recovering Compensation in a Boat Incident Personal Injury Claim

If you were hurt in a boating accident because of someone else’s negligent actions or behavior, you are legally allowed to seek compensation. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those from a boating incident, is four years from the date of the event; if you don’t file your claim within this time frame, you risk losing the opportunity to pursue a settlement payout. For this reason, it’s advisable to begin your case as early as you can.

Collecting as much evidence as possible is an important component of establishing the circumstances of the accident, how it directly resulted in your significant injury, and the extent of bodily harm. If able, you or someone in your party should document the incident through photos or videos; the more visual evidence that paints a picture of the manner of the incident, such as the location, objects hit, property damage details, etc., the more convincing your case will be.

Seeking medical attention and calling the authorities soon after the crash are also ways to gain evidence and affirm the existence of your sustained wounds and other damages. Whether you were operating the boat or a passenger in the accident, it’s prudent to find out who the owner of the vessel you hit or hit you in addition to acquiring the contact info of all involved parties. You may also opt to get the contact information of any eyewitnesses to your boating incident.

What Damages You May Receive Repayment for in a Boating Accident

As with many other personal injury cases, settlements are the sum of the victim’s economic and non-economic damages. Economic losses are easy to calculate since they may consist of, depending on the situation, the victim’s emergency room and hospital stay costs, surgeries and medical treatment, required future care, medications, mobility aid devices, home convenience modifications, physical therapy, lost income/job opportunities, property damage, etc.

If you’re pursuing compensation for a loved one who died during the boating accident or later as a result of their injuries, you can file a wrongful death claim to recoup the above damages in addition to funeral and/or burial costs.

Non-economic losses are subjective, including emotional distress, psychological trauma, loss of consortium (e.g., companionship, child-rearing/ bearing), permanent or long-term physical and/or cognitive damages, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, etc. A judge typically determines these damages after considering various factors and available evidence.

Strong evidence for non-economic damages could entail journal entries, testimony from those close to you or a mental health counselor, or proof of life-changing injury such as disfigurement or paralysis.


Q: What Is the First Action Required After a Boating Accident?

A: The first thing to do after boating accidents is contact emergency services. Dialing 911 or radioing in will quickly get assistance from the Coast Guard or other emergency patrol.

If your boat has no means to contact help, ask a nearby vessel if they do. If not, someone may have to leave the scene to get aid, but this is generally inadvisable if there are serious injuries and/or damages. For accidents at night, utilize flare guns and other distress signals.

Q: How Do You Respond to a Boating Accident?

A: After contacting law enforcement or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), you should exchange information with any individuals involved in the accident. Incidents involving an unattended vessel still require you to make all reasonable efforts to find out who the owner is and notify them.

Boat operators must provide first aid, if able, to any injured persons and ensure passengers’ safety. They also should check the integrity of the boat and all equipment.

Q: What Happens in a Boating Accident?

A: Most accidents result from boats crashing. Flooding, capsizing, hitting fixed objects or something underwater, and fuel fires are all various ways an accident may occur. Additionally, falling on board or overboard is a potential accident and can likely result from the listed hazards.

The range of possible bodily harm includes drowning injuries, broken bones, spinal and/or brain damage, and severe burns/lacerations. Whether or not someone appears injured, it’s important to stay at the scene of the accident until authorities arrive.

Q: What Is a Legal Reason to Report a Boating Accident in Florida?

A: Legal reasons to report a boating accident include: a boat worth at least $2,000 sustained damage, other personal property suffered at least $2,000 in damages, injuries requiring more than first aid occurred, someone could not be found, and someone died as a result. Typically, most accidents resulting in bodily harm or damage to personal property will require you to report them.

If You’ve Recently Been in a Boat Accident, Speak With an Injury Attorney

The sooner you get into contact with a boat accident injury lawyer, the earlier the professional legal team at The Frank Santini Law Firm can begin working hard on your case. Schedule a consultation with us today so a trustworthy and skilled attorney can earn you the compensation you are owed.


Let Us Get You Started In The
Right Direction

Fields marked with an * are required

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.