There were 700 boating accidents in Florida in 2022, leading to 65 deaths and many severe injuries. The accidents are often sudden and unexpected. The force of a collision can toss passengers into the water, making the accident even more dangerous.
James Horne Law can help you after a Florida boat accident. We can assist you in complying with legal obligations and seek compensation for your injuries.
Immediate Actions After a Boat or Jetski Accident
Take a moment to get your bearings after the accident. Once you can, act fast to ensure the safety of everyone involved and protect your legal rights.
Check for Injuries
Make sure everyone is safe and accounted for after the crash. Florida law requires you to render first aid to anyone with minor injuries. However, you need to call 911 if anyone is seriously injured.
Inspect and Secure Your Boat
Look over your boat for visual signs of damage. Drop your anchor to prevent it from drifting away. Patch any holes and bale out water to prevent your boat from further damage. If your boat has severe damage, be ready to abandon it to avoid harm.
Take clear photographs of the scene. This includes the boats, passengers, weather conditions, and any debris in the water. Get contact information from anyone who was in the accident or witnessed it. Your insurance company and attorney will want this information when calculating compensation.
Steps After the Accident
You have a few more steps to complete once you return to land. Putting off these responsibilities could expose you to legal complications and prevent you from getting compensation.
Report the Boat Accident
Under Florida law, you must report the accident to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The deadline to file this report depends on the nature of the accident:
- Death—24 hours,
- Disappearance—24 hours,
- Injuries that require more than first aid—48 hours,
- At least $2,000 of property damage—10 days.
You can face penalties if you don’t file this report on time. The paperwork can be confusing, so an attorney can help you file properly.
Get Medical Attention
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible is crucial, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries take time to appear, and delaying treatment can increase their harm. Also, seeing a doctor creates medical records that your insurer and attorney need. This documentation serves as valuable evidence.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company needs to know about the accident. Speak with a representative to file a claim as soon as possible. Provide detailed and accurate information about the accident, including the date, time, and location. The sooner you file a claim, the faster the insurer can resolve the incident. However, don’t ever admit to fault for the accident.
Speak with a Florida Boat Accident Attorney
Some boat claims are easy to resolve, but others can lead to conflict. An attorney can advocate for your interests and help you get compensation. Lawyers can assist with the following services.
You can seek compensation for any damages caused by the boat accident. These can include:
- Medical costs,
- Property damage to the boat,
- Lost wages if you’re unable to work, and
- Pain and suffering for physical and emotional injuries.
Your attorney will calculate your total compensation based on evidence like medical records and receipts. If you have long-term injuries, your lawyer will use advanced charts and formulas to estimate future costs.
Boat operators must follow navigation rules. An operator who violates these rules can be liable for any injuries and damage they cause. Attorneys can use the accident report, witness statements, and photos to determine who is responsible for the accident.
Negotiate with insurance companies
Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible after accidents. Be ready for your insurer or the other side to undervalue your claim. When this happens, your attorney will negotiate the value of your claim to increase the settlement. They will use all evidence to show your damages and justify your need for more compensation.
Some claims aren’t resolved through insurance settlements. Your attorney can file a lawsuit if you need more compensation than the insurer is willing to offer. Once your case goes to trial, your attorney will explain the law to show why the other side owes you compensation. They will also present your injuries to the judge or jury to illustrate the value of your claim.
Schedule a Consultation
James Horne Law can help maximize the value of your claim after a Florida boat accident. James Horne has helped Floridians recover millions of dollars in personal injury claims. Unlike some lawyers who push for fast settlement, James will fight as long as it takes and take your case to trial if necessary.
Call our office today to schedule a case consultation.