Many Floridians rely on their boats for business, research, and recreational purposes. When disaster strikes, a boating accident can leave a trail of exorbitant medical bills and physical as well as mental recovery of injuries.
No one wants to have to worry about grappling with complex insurance jargon and contending with claims adjusters who are motivated to get you to settle quickly while you are still trying to recuperate from a boating accident injury. Additionally, attempting to navigate your settlement claim or boating accident trial on your own puts you at risk of receiving less compensation than you are truly eligible for.
The personal injury attorneys of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh are diligent and determined champions for Tampa area residents who have been injured or lost family in a boating accident. Our results-driven approach has garnered us recognition for our ability to settle boating accident claims that encompass the real scope of what an injury means in terms of medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional damages.
Our years of experience have made us hardened litigators who know how to protect our clients from being taken advantage of when they are in a vulnerable state. KWM Legal invites you to get a sense of our abilities in a free, no-commitment-necessary strategy session. Our Tampa boat accident lawyers will review your case and describe how our services can be an asset to your lawsuit.
COMMON CAUSES OF BOATING ACCIDENTS
Boat ownership surged during the pandemic, as did the rate of accidents nationwide. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reported 836 boating accidents in 2020, constituting a 16% increase in boating accidents as compared to 2019. Unfortunately, negligent boat operators are typically the culprits, and a Tampa attorney can hold them financially accountable when it comes to ascertaining liability in a boating accident lawsuit.
If a boat operator carelessly decides to ignore the designated speed limits, they can be found at fault if they are unable to swerve to avoid causing a collision with another watercraft, capsize the boat after striking an obstacle, or run the boat aground because their speed didn’t allow them enough space to stop. The ensuing jostling or impact can throw occupants overboard or against the surfaces of the boat, potentially leading to head or back injuries, severe lacerations, and extensive contusions.
Unskilled Boat Operators
Inexperienced boat operators can put themselves and their passengers at risk of incurring a debilitating injury. Just like the roads, waterways are governed by a set of regulations and safety guidelines intended to protect their users. When a boat operator is unfamiliar with the rules, terrain, or how to safely steer and slow down, their negligence can cause a boat accident.
Failure To Maintain a Lookout
It can be difficult to identify and anticipate obstructions in the water without traffic lights or crosswalks to regulate the obstacles. Having another person scan the water for sandbars, marine life, swimmers, and small watercraft can be the difference between a fun afternoon on the water and a trip to the emergency room. If they fall short of their duties, the operator may ram into a sandbar beneath the surface of the water or get too close to a smaller watercraft, harshly jolting the occupants with its wake.
Intoxicated boat operators on the water can be just as much of a threat as drunk drivers on the road. Having a few drinks while enjoying being out on the water with friends may not seem like a big deal, but it doesn’t take much alcohol to diminish your reflexes, motor skills, perception, and critical thinking skills that are crucial to safely operating a watercraft in Florida waterways. A drunk boat operator may fail to recognize that they need to return to shore to avoid incoming weather, exceed safe speeds, or make dangerous turns.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Boat owners should check the weather report prior to going out on the water and remain cognizant of changing weather conditions. Failing to account for inclement weather carries the risk of being stuck in a storm with limited provisions, being swept out to sea, and sustaining injuries from being tossed against hard surfaces or thrown overboard.
Poorly Maintained Boats
Regularly changing the oil, checking fuel lines for deterioration, and examining the propellor and engine for damage are all part of properly maintaining a boat. Maintaining adequate fuel is also paramount to ensuring that a boat can safely return to shore if someone on board has an unexpected medical emergency. Vigilant upkeep is critical to the safe operation of a boat, lessening the risk of becoming stranded or injured from a collision.
COMMON BOATING ACCIDENT INJURIES
The U.S. Coast Guard’s most recent data from 2020 cites “3,191 injuries and approximately $62.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents”. Some of the worst boat accident injuries are sustained from a forceful impact or from being cast over the side of the boat and into the water.
When a boat operator fails to exhibit the proper caution while making turns, slowing down, or maneuvering around other watercraft and other obstacles, the occupants of the boat may find themselves flung against hard or sharp surfaces, resulting in severe trauma. Examples of boating crash injuries:
- Severe lacerations and abrasions
- Head trauma
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Back injuries
- Near drowning
After sustaining an injury such as a blow to the head or a deep cut from a propeller blade, boat occupants may be at a greater risk of drowning. A traumatic brain injury can render you unconscious, a spinal cord injury may induce paralysis or loss of sensation, and even a more minor injury, like a broken ankle, can hinder your ability to keep yourself afloat until help arrives. A lawyer in Tampa could account for all injuries in a boat wreck claim.
The Importance of Lifejackets To Avoid Boating Accident Injuries
The longer your brain is deprived of oxygen when you are underwater, the more unlikely a full recovery becomes. Properly fitted lifejackets keep you afloat and are recommended for everyone, even strong swimmers. Your skill level is irrelevant if you are unconscious or incapacitated, which is why a lifejacket is such an essential part of any boat outing.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER IN A Watercraft ACCIDENT LAWSUIT?
Hillsborough County boasts 41,495 registered vessels, including both pleasure and commercial watercraft, meaning that a large number of boaters take advantage of the sunshine. Tampa residents should know their rights when it comes to recovering compensation for damages inflicted by boating accidents caused by someone else’s negligence. The following are some of the common damages that are involved in boating accident claims:
- 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
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Costs of job retraining
- Missed promotions
- Inability to continue career
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Lost income contribution
In order to be sure that you are recovering the full value of these damages, you should have a boating accident lawyer in Tampa review your case.
WHY DO I NEED A TAMPA BOATING ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?
As attorneys who have handled boating accident cases on behalf of clients who have had to relearn how to walk after a spinal cord injury, permanently lost the ability to work, or paid thousands to repair their boat, we always recommend purchasing boating insurance. If your boating insurance carrier is unjustly denying your claim for compensation or offering you compensation unsatisfactory for your needs, it is time to speak to a professional to recover the restitution you are owed.
At KMW Legal, our Tampa attorneys employ our substantial resources and utilize our negotiating skills to prevent you from being shortchanged by your insurance company or the carrier of the negligent boat operator’s policy.
When you enlist the assistance of KMW Legal, you can be sure we will assist in the following ways:
- Calculate the damages you are owed as a result of someone else’s negligence
- Recruit an expert to determine the value of your lost earnings and future earning capacity to claim as damages
- Work tirelessly to recover the costs of your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering
- Analyze the reports and documentation associated with your accident to gather evidence to support your claim
- Explain legal language to ensure you understand your options
- Utilize the legal insight we have honed to secure you a better settlement
- Field inquiries from bill collectors and insurance companies
- Negotiate a fair settlement that accounts for the true extent of the bills and stress you have already experienced and the losses to come
- Stand firm in court against insurance companies at trial
KMW IS PROUD TO REPRESENT INJURED BOATING ACCIDENT VICTIMS
Tampa is the largest city of Hillsborough County in Florida and home to a population of 387,916 people. Our firm has been serving the people of Tampa for over ten years now with enough success to earn us recognition as authorities on personal injury cases involving boating accidents. The lawyers of KMW Legal have managed to secure compensation for countless people harmed while trying to enjoy a day out boating and can help you too.
CONTACT A REPUTABLE TAMPA BOAT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
During our years practicing injury law in the state of Florida, we have been able to create an organic network of clients through word-of-mouth recommendations. Our clients appreciate our straightforward and compassionate approach to settling lawsuits, and they rely on us as a trusted source of legal advice.
When your boat is damaged, you are injured, or a loved one tragically loses their life in a boating accident, you may not know where to turn when an insurance company rejects your legitimate claim. The attorneys of KMW Legal even the playing field with intimidating insurance companies and ensure your right to compensation for boat accident injuries is respected.
KMW Legal is not afraid to go up against insurance companies who insist on denying you the full value of your boating accident claim or go to trial to secure you compensation for the costs associated with your injuries.
Our Tampa boat accident lawyers can be reached at your convenience to schedule a complimentary strategy session to discuss how we can best support your boating accident lawsuit goals. KMW Legal is ready to receive you and help get your life back on track. Call now to start your claim.