SOUTH FLORIDA BOAT ACCIDENT LAWYER
Florida: the Sunshine State. Residents and visitors alike love the wonderful year-round temperatures, gorgeous scenery, miles of coastline, and of course, the nearly ever-present sun. This makes it the single busiest state in the country in terms of recreational boating. But, perhaps inevitably with this many people on the water, Florida also leads the nation in boating accidents.
While certainly not a deterrent from enjoying a day out on the water, it is essential to take steps to protect yourself – both on the water and in the event of an accident. If you or a loved one are injured in a boat accident in Florida, contact LaBovick Law Group. Our experienced maritime law team will protect your rights – and ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a boat accident in Florida, contact us today for your Free Consultation.
INVOLVED IN A RECREATIONAL OR FISHING BOAT ACCIDENT?
Coping with an injury as a result of a boating accident is difficult enough; contending with the law can add an unnecessary, and untenable, layer of complexity.
Florida has no age requirement when it comes to boating. Many operators are not licensed (those over 30 years of age do not have to have a license) and do not have any formal training or safety courses under their belts. This can result in poor or rash decisions on the water – and in accidents that could have been prevented.
The difficulty, though, is that accidents that occur on public waterways or navigable waters are not regulated under the same laws as those that happen on land. Different jurisdictions – state, federal, and international – play a role, and each has its own procedures. Further complicating the matter, there are different laws pertaining to cruise accidents and injuries sustained by maritime workers.
Recreational and fishing boat accidents exist in a legal middle ground that can be challenging to navigate. Your representative must be an expert in maritime law and able to argue in state and federal courts to ensure you receive the compensation owed to you if you are injured by a negligent, reckless, careless, or intoxicated boat operator.
COMMON FACTORS IN BOATING ACCIDENTS
Collisions with other vessels are one of the most common causes of boating accidents in the Sunshine State. Incidents involving drugs and alcohol also contribute to unfortunate statistics. Similar to motor vehicle regulations, Florida prohibits boat operators from being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A blood alcohol level of 0.08 is considered legally intoxicated; for underage operators, this drops to 0.02.
Operators suspected to be under the influence must comply with appropriate testing by law enforcement; failure to do so may result in loss of driving/operating privileges.
Other factors involving boating accidents include:
- Collisions with other boats
- Collisions with fixed objects
- Overboard falls
- Wake damage
Negligence also plays a role: whether caused by inexperience or other factors, operators can cause serious injury by using excessive speed, overloading the vessel with people and/or gear, navigating in unsafe conditions (i.e. stormy, treacherous weather), failing to follow standard boating rules, passing other vessels in an unsafe manner, etc.
Accidents and incidents related to defective vessels and/or equipment are relatively rare – but they do occur. If you are injured due to defective property, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner of the vessel, rental company, and/or manufacturer. Please contact the LaBovick Law Group; our team will evaluate your situation and help you determine the appropriate steps forward.
FLORIDA CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
Cruise line accidents occur in various forms, from slips and food poisoning to herniated disks, fractures, dismemberment, and even death by drowning. Unfortunately, maritime laws that govern cruise ships are complicated and not very passenger-friendly, so it is important to hire a knowledgeable Florida cruise ship accident lawyer to protect your rights and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
CRUISE LINE ACCIDENTS AND MARITIME LAW
Maritime law provides a number of statutes to protect those on cruise ships from accidents. Unfortunately, most of them pertain more to staff and employees, not passengers. For instance, while cruise staff can seek compensation through the Jones Act, passengers have considerably fewer protections.
Cruise ship operators owe passengers what is called a duty of “reasonable care.” This means that they are required to provide a reasonably safe environment from cruise ship injuries, which includes warnings about potential dangers, such as slippery decks, dangerous equipment, or wobbly gangplanks. However, the term “reasonable care” is open to interpretation, and the passenger is responsible for proving that the company was negligent in causing the cruise ship accident.
As with most personal injury accidents, there is a statute of limitations for cruise ship accidents. Injured passengers sometimes have less than a year to submit personal injury claims against cruise operators. Several cruise lines have special clauses inserted in the contract of carriage (often explained in the fine print on the back of passengers’ tickets) that can shorten the statute of limitations even further, sometimes down to six months.
Most cruise operators require injured passengers to sue them in a specific city, which often makes it more complex for the passenger. The “forum selection clause”, usually found in the fine print on the back of the ticket, can hinder the injured passenger’s chance of legal compensation if they have not complied with the forum selection clause. This is a perfect reason why cruise ship injury victims should only turn to an experienced maritime/admiralty law attorney for a cruise ship accident.
CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENTS & CLAIMS
If you have a cruise ship injury, there are several essential steps to take to make sure that you receive proper compensation.
First, as soon as the accident occurs, you should file a written report with the security office of the cruise ship, keeping a copy for yourself. A member of the cruise staff may try to have you sign a waiver or other document to exempt them from responsibility, but it is imperative that you not sign anything. You should also take photographs of the scene of the accident, and write down the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
After you arrive home, contact an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible. Cruise line accidents are a special area under admiralty and maritime law, and compensation can be determined by a number of factors ranging from the type of accident to the home port of the cruise line or even the foreign country where the cruise ship is registered, so it is essential that you contact a cruise ship accident lawyer to protect your interests and ensure a successful case.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured on a cruise ship, contact us right away to set up a free consultation with a qualified cruise ship accident lawyer at the LaBovick Law Group.
CHOOSING A BOAT & CRUISE INCIDENT LAWYER
As Florida’s top Boat & Cruise accident attorneys, we can help you seek, and receive, compensation to cover:
- Medical expenses, including medication, medical supplies, physical therapy, etc.
- Lost wages.
- Property damage.
- Pain and suffering.
Contending with mounting bills when you are suffering from a boat accident injury is not a stressor you need – or that you can afford. Your attorney will take the burden from you, investigating the incident and building a compelling case that will lead to the results you need.
Many people, including some attorneys, do not realize that injuries and grievances that occur on navigable waters are subject to drastically different laws. As specialists in maritime injury law, LaBovick Law Group will help you weather rough seas due to the willful, careless, or reckless actions of others — and ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
What is maritime law? It is a specialized area of the law with unique rules governing maritime activities and the relationships between private entities that operate vessels on oceans and other waters where commerce is conducted.
We are knowledgeable in all aspects of maritime law and experienced in meeting a variety of clients’ maritime legal needs, including providing legal representation for:
- Injuries to passengers on cruise ships
- Recreational boat accidents
- Boat collisions
- Ship and yacht fires
- Seamen’s personal injury
- Maritime liens and other transactional work
The Law of the Sea differs greatly from the Law of the Land. The maritime legal team at LaBovick Law Group has the expertise you need to navigate maritime legal complexities successfully.