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Dinner Key Marina Tragedy Kills Four, Injures Another Five

The Dinner Key Marina was filled with boats on a festive Fourth of July night that suddenly turned from celebration to tragedy when a boat crash claimed four lives, and sent another five to area hospitals. The crash involved three boats, all situated about a mile and a half from the marina. A representative of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimated the accident to be the most severe of its kind on record in over a decade. At the moment of collision, one boat “t-boned” another – crashing head-on into one side at a high speed. The level of damage was disturbing, with one onlooker describing a “boat full of blood.” Evidence has surfaced indicating that alcohol played a large role in the tragedy. If this is indeed the case, both survivors and families of the deceased may have personal injury and wrongful death claims, respectively, to bring against any negligent, careless, or reckless boat operators.

Florida Has Laws Against Boating Under the Influence

In Florida, it is illegal to boat under the influence of alcohol if the influence is so much as to impair one’s normal faculties. Subjective considerations aside, the law sets a bright line in terms of blood-alcohol Level at 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Those found guilty of the offense – boating under the influence – are subject to a punishment of fines and/or imprisonment. If boating under the influence results in injuries to persons, damage to property, or involved an egregiously high blood-alcohol level (0.15 or above), severity of punishment will increase accordingly.

Calculating Blood-Alcohol Level Involves a Number Of Factors

The effect of drinking alcohol on blood-alcohol level varies from person to person. In other words, one’s normal faculties become impaired according to a number of individual factors. These factors include age, gender, rate of consumption, drink strength, body type, fat content, muscle content, metabolism, hydration, emotional state, medications, diet, carbonation of drinks, alcohol tolerance, and overall health. Importantly, and regardless of how these factors combine, in the eyes of the law, a blood-alcohol level of .08 is the determining criterion with regard to the offense of boating under the influence.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims When There Has Been Boating Under The Influence

Evidence of boating under the influence will support a personal injury or wrongful death claim. This is because these claims often arise from accidents involving the negligent, careless, or reckless conduct of another person. Negligence, for example, occurs when one breaches a duty of due care owed to other human beings, and that breach is both the actual and proximate cause of damages suffered by the non-breaching party. Some duties are more general, requiring us to act in a reasonable manner, whereas others are very specific. With regard to boating under the influence, the duty is very specific, as the law clearly tells us not to boat under the influence, and provides a dual framework – blood-alcohol level and the impairment of faculties – with which to understand the duty. Thus, it is relatively straightforward to determine if and when the duty not to boat under the influenced has been breached. If you have been injured or lost a loved one as the result of another person’s boating under the influence, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death claim to recover compensation for damages suffered. Time is of the essence with regard to filing such a claim, so it is imperative that you contact an experienced Florida personal injury and wrongful death lawyer at Pike & Lustig, LLP immediately.

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