IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN INJURED IN A BOATING ACCIDENT, BARNES & COHEN IS HERE TO HELP!
2020 BOATING ACCIDENT STATISTICS
- In 2020, the Coast Guard reported 5,265 recreational boating accidents – accounting for 767 deaths, 3,191 injuries and approximately $62.5M in damages to property.
- Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor of fatal boating accidents.
- Where cause of death was known, 75% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. 86% of victims were not wearing a lifejacket.
Boating operators are responsible for the injuries and the destruction of property caused by their negligence. Pleasure boats, personal watercraft, jet skis and commercial boats operated with excessive speed or too close to skiers and boaters carelessly put others at risk. Accidents often occur among friends enjoying our waterways together. Alcohol is often a factor. Injured victims often trust a friend or even their insurance company to do the right thing. As a boating, diving and fishing enthusiast Chuck Barnes, understands boating laws in Florida and Georgia. At Barnes & Cohen we understand how to deal with the insurance company and how to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Our advice remains the same: Don’t sign anything, don’t give a statement, don’t hesitate to call us. We offer a Free No Obligation Consultation with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney. Contact our law firm today in Jacksonville or Kingsland, Georgia. Hablamos español.
BOATING ACCIDENT INJURY FAQs
While boating accidents are defined as accidents that happen on or with a boat – they can be much more complex than that. A boating accident refers to a wide variety of both accidents and water vessels including speedboats, sailboats, jet skis, hovercrafts and more. The most common types of boating accidents are when one vessel hits another or collides into an obstacle (reefs, docks, etc.).
When a boating collision happens on a lake or a river, it will likely be covered by local and state laws. However, when boating accidents happen at sea, they will fall under maritime law. In both Florida and Georgia, when at least one of the following occurrences has happened because of your collision, it must be reported to the Coast Guard:
- A life has been lost
- Significant injuries that require medical treatment beyond first aid
- Any missing persons
- The total damage in the accident equals or exceeds $2,000
While the root cause of boating accidents will typically vary from case to case, here are a few of the most common causes of boating accidents in the U.S.:
- A distracted boat captain – Boat captains are responsible for taking charge of driving and safely navigating a watercraft and its passengers. This includes keeping track of wind patterns, water hazards and weather conditions. If a captain becomes distracted, it is easy to miss upcoming hazards, make sudden turns, drive at unsafe speeds, etc.
- Driving a boat while under the influence – Alcohol and other substances play a significant role in the number of boating crashes each year. Just like operating other heavy machinery or automobile, driving a boat while intoxicated will impair the captain’s operating ability and put other passengers at serious risk.
- Inexperienced boat operator – Inexperienced boat drivers often underestimate the complexity of operating a boat and may not fully understand navigation rules, maritime laws, and how to properly handle unpredicted emergencies.
Boating accidents are often unexpected and can cause an extreme amount of stress to both the captain and any passengers on board. The first thing to do after being involved in a collision on the water is to check that everyone on the boat is safe and to check everyone for injuries. If a passenger has fallen overboard, make sure the boat is stopped and throw a personal flotation device out if the passenger was not wearing a life jacket.
In the event that the boat sinks, it is also recommended that passengers get to land if possible but stay near the incident site so that those who are stranded are easier to find. Once everyone is accounted for, the accident must be reported if it meets the boating accident criteria in Florida and Georgia.
If the accident involved a collision with another boat, the necessary steps are similar to those of a car accident. Both operators will need to exchange information such as insurance, names, addresses and phone numbers. It is also important to take photos of any damage, as well as inventory of any personal items that may have been lost during the collision. Then contact an experienced boat accident attorney who has dealt with similar cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Receiving compensation in boating accident lawsuits is typically similar to other personal injury accident cases. Those who have been involved in a boating accident may receive compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Long-term disability
- Rehabilitation / long-term care
- Wrongful Death
There are several safety measures that both operators and passengers can take to prevent boating accidents and collisions, including:
- Confirm there is a life jacket available for every passenger
- Do not drink alcohol or take drugs while boating
- Regularly check your safety equipment to make sure everything is functioning properly
- Be aware of other boats and obstacles on the water
- Take a boating safety class in your area
- Always wear a like jacket while out on the water
After being involved in a boating accident with another vessel, you may have the responsibility of proving the negligence of the person at fault for the accident and providing evidence to back your claim.
Hiring a professional personal injury lawyer who has experience with boating accident cases will take that responsibility off your shoulders. A seasoned boating accident lawyer can interview witnesses, investigate underlying causes that contributed to the accident, review important information from the Coast Guard or law enforcement reports, negotiate reduced medical costs if needed, and ultimately help you build a strong case.
If you have been involved in a boating accident in Florida or Georgia, you can trust our team of experienced accident attorneys at Barnes and Cohen to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
CHOOSE A FIRM WITH EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS
With some of the largest settlements in South Georgia and North Florida secured for our clients, we have earned our place as one of Jacksonville area’s premier law firms for helping the victims of personal injury cases. We will come to you! We offer home and hospital visits. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you. Hablamos español.
Barnes & Cohen is a Jacksonville personal injury law firm dedicated to providing strong advocacy to personal injury clients throughout North Florida and South Georgia for over 40 years.