When a serious boating accident turns a fun day out on the water into a stressful trip to the emergency room, you may find yourself unexpectedly burdened with medical bills, lost wages, and a painful recovery. Your injuries may result in permanent health issues that compromise your ability to work, enjoy favorite hobbies, or care for yourself.
If your boating accident was caused by the actions of a reckless or negligent boater, you have the right to seek damages to compensate for your losses in a boating accident lawsuit. Choosing the right boating accident lawyer to represent your interests can make a significant difference in the success of your boating accident claim.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Boca Raton Boating Accident Claim
The lawyers of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have over thirty years of combined experience negotiating complex boating accident lawsuits in order to obtain fair settlement offers for our inured clients. Our ability to consistently recover maximum compensation has made us a highly sought-after boating accident attorneys in the Boca Raton area.
In the event that we can’t come to an agreement with an insurance company about what your boating accident lawsuit is worth, we won’t hesitate to go to trial. Our prior trial experience, legal insight, and relentless work ethic are valuable assets when facing off against a powerful insurance company.
If you have reason to believe that someone else’s negligence caused your boating accident injuries, it’s time to get a professional legal opinion. Reach out to our Boca Raton team to request a no-cost, no-commitment strategy session to learn more about how our award-winning legal team will work to secure you a fair settlement in a boating accident lawsuit.
Common Causes of Boca Raton Boating Accidents
When an operator is negligent by being inattentive, unprepared, or intoxicated, they can cause serious harm to their passengers and the occupants of other boats. Florida consistently ranks among the top states with the highest number of registered boats and boating accidents.
Boat accidents may involve a variety of dangerous scenarios that can result in severe injuries or even death. For example, with a negligent boat operator at the helm, a boat may strike concealed obstacles or marine life, be caught in an avoidable storm, or collide with other vessels. In 2020, the FWC reported an increase in boating accidents with a total of 836 boating accidents in Florida waters, nearly half of which involved a collision.
Speeding is a Factor in Many Serious Boat Accidents
Many Florida waterways have speed limits, just like roads. Speed limits are meant to prevent boats from traveling at speeds that inhibit safe maneuvering, but a distracted, drunk, or reckless boat operator may fail to observe the posted speed limit.
When a negligent boat operator is going too fast, they may be forced to make sharp turns or sudden stops to avoid a collision with another vessel or obstacles like sandbars. Jarring movements like this may eject passengers, slam them up against hard surfaces, or cause them to slip and fall.
Unskilled Boat Operators Can Be Held Liable for Boating Accidents
Novice boat operators may be prone to serious judgment errors and mistakes that more seasoned sailors would not make. Boat operators who don’t have enough experience may be unable to accurately anticipate changing weather conditions, lack the needed control to safely maneuver a boat, or overestimate their skills and knowledge. Too often, this can result in serious or fatal injuries.
Drunk Boat Operators Engager Everyone Around Them
Many people like to enjoy a day on the water fishing or relaxing with friends and their favorite alcoholic beverage. However, a sober boat operator is critical to the safety of themselves, their passengers, and anyone else out on the water.
Drunk boat operators may maneuver erratically, fail to notice obstacles in their path, and neglect to account for poor weather, low gas, or onboard safety hazards. With a BAC of 0.08 or above, a boat operator can be charged with Boating Under the Influence and is also vulnerable to facing civil action from injured parties.
Risk of Boating Accidents Increases Without a Lookout
One of the most common causes of boating accidents is boating without a lookout. Boat operators must be constantly aware of conditions and obstacles within a 360-degree radius at all times, which is virtually impossible without a lookout. Even when a boat operator is doing their best to be attentive to the water and vessels around them, a second set of eyes is critical to spotting things like a stranded swimmer, an oncoming boat, or a reduced speed limit ahead.
Boater Operators Are Responsible for Monitoring Bad Weather
One of the most important parts of safely operating a boat happens before you ever get out on the water. That duty is checking the forecast before taking a boat out. Boat operators should also regularly stay informed of weather conditions while they are on the water, as conditions can shift quickly.
It doesn’t take a huge storm to cause serious damage to a boat or create unsafe conditions for anyone out on a boat. For example, rain can make the deck slick creating a fall hazard or wind may blow a boat off course and strand people without supplies. In a worst-case scenario, the boat could become caught up in a storm or capsize completely.
Poorly Maintained Boats Can Lead to Severe Injuries
Boat owners are responsible for properly maintaining their boats, which includes everything from the fuel lines to the headlights. If a boat operator is negligent in taking care of their boat, they may be found at least partially liable if the issue causes injuries in a boating accident. For example, if another boat collided with a poorly maintained boat because the boat owner had failed to replace burnt-out headlights, they would likely be assigned at least a portion of the fault in a boating accident lawsuit.
Serious Boca Raton Boating Accidents Can Lead to Severe Injuries
Boating accident injuries can be sustained from a sudden, jarring impact, diving off the boat into shallow or otherwise dangerous waters, or touching electrically-charged waters while exiting the boat at the marina. While some people are able to escape a boating accident with a few cuts and bruises, others are left with permanent, life-altering injuries.
Examples of Boating Accident Injuries:
- Severe Lacerations and Abrasions
- Head Trauma
- Broken Bones
- Internal Injuries
- Severe Burns
- Back Injuries
- Near Drowning
The severity of boating accident injuries can often be compounded by the fact that medical care may be delayed while the boat returns to shore. The importance of seeking prompt medical treatment cannot be overstated, especially if you hit your head or are experiencing spinal cord injury symptoms.
A medical professional will be able to accurately gauge the severity of your injuries and administer the appropriate treatment. Seeking medical help as soon as possible also preempts an accusation from the insurance company that you are embellishing your injuries, which would likely allow them to reject or diminish your settlement.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Boca Raton Boating Accident Lawsuit?
After a serious boating accident, your injuries may have impacted your financial stability, lifestyle, and career prospects. These are all damages that you can potentially receive compensation for in a boating accident lawsuit. Damages may be economic in nature, with a clear value, like a pay stub that verifies the value of lost wages or a bill from a clinic for physical therapy.
Your damages may also be non-economic, with a more subjective value. An example of non-economic damage in a boating accident lawsuit would be loss of enjoyment of life for a swimmer who became partially paralyzed after a negligent boat operator’s actions resulted in an irreparable spinal cord injury.
Examples of Boating Accident Damages:
- Medical bills
- Lab Tests
- Ambulance Rides or Airlifts
- Transportation to Appointments
- Hospital Stays
- Mobility Aids
- Home Healthcare Services
- Home Modifications
- Physical or Occupational Therapy
- Property Damage
- Repair or Replacement of a Boat
- Repair of Dock Damage
- Job-Related Injuries
- Lost Wages
- Lost Earning Potential
- Costs of Job Retraining
- Missed Promotions
- Inability to Continue Career
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
- Funeral and Burial Costs
- Loss of Consortium or Parental Guidance
- Lost Income Contribution
To have the best chance of recovering the value of your financial and non-economic losses, you need a boating accident attorney who is familiar with the tactics insurance companies will employ to try and reduce the value of a claim. KMW Legal has years of experience contextualizing damages to establish their true value and recover maximum compensation for our injured boating accident clients.
Why Should I Hire a Boca Raton Boating Accident Lawyer?
If you are considering pursuing a boating accident lawsuit on your own, you should be aware that plaintiffs who represent themselves in claims like boating accident lawsuits consistently recover lower settlements than those who hire a personal injury lawyer to represent them against powerful defendants like insurance companies.
Having a capable representative to speak on your behalf lends your claim legitimacy, as personal injury lawyers take on claims that they believe have merit and stand a good chance of recovering damages. It also indicates to the insurance company that you are serious about pursuing a meaningful settlement in a boating accident lawsuit.
A skilled boating accident lawyer can be beneficial for more than just negotiating with insurance companies. They will manage calls from bill collectors, collect and analyze relevant medical records and evidence, calculate the value of your financial and non-economic damages, and protect your rights.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Boca Raton Boating Accident Lawsuit
At KMW Legal, we know that no two boating accidents are the same. You can expect customized legal advice that is based on our extensive knowledge of how boating accident lawsuits are handled. We will help you document your pain and other losses, obtain expert testimony, as well as draft statements detailing your damages.
For insurance companies, the goal is to reduce the impact on their bottom line by getting you to accept the lowest settlement possible. For the lawyers of KMW Legal, the goal is to make sure that your settlement respects the full range of your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
We have over thirty years of combined experience handling a variety of boating accident lawsuits, and our clients will vouch that our results-based approach and clear communication are incredibly effective at securing maximum compensation.
KMW Legal is Proud to Serve Boating Accident Victims in Boca Raton, Florida
Boca Raton is a coastal city in Palm Beach County, making it an ideal location for anyone with a boat to take advantage of Boca Raton’s mild weather. It is home to 97,422 residents and plays host to visitors looking to take advantage of its luxury shopping, booming business district, and stunning beaches.
KMW Legal has invested our time and talents into the Boca Raton community for the past decade. We have fought to ensure that Boca Raton residents who have been severely injured in boating accidents can recover the true value of their financial, physical, and emotional losses.
Contact a Boca Raton Boating Accident Lawyer Today
After being severely injured or losing a loved one in a tragic boating accident, taking on a boating accident lawsuit may seem like an untenable strain on your family’s resources and mental health. With the support of KMW Legal, you won’t have to sacrifice your right to seek damages from a negligent boat operator in order to continue healing.
KMW Legal’s team is comprised of tenacious advocates who will stand up to powerful insurance companies on your behalf when your losses are not being fully recognized. With our founding partners’ prior trial experience, we are willing to take your claim to trial and we are capable of succeeding.
Our injured Boca Raton clients know that they can count on the lawyers of KMW Legal to guide them through each step of filing a boating accident lawsuit. Reach out to our Boca Raton office today to schedule a free strategy session with our award-winning team. We look forward to discussing your legal options with you and tailoring a strategy that best meets your needs.