West Palm Beach Boat Accident Attorney
Living on the beach is a dream come true for many Americans, and West Palm Beach residents get to enjoy the sun and surf regularly. When you are out on the water, you may not be thinking about getting hurt in a boating accident. However, boating accidents can result in serious personal injury for the victim. These accidents sometimes involve impaired or distracted boaters, or boater negligence. If you have been injured in a boating accident that was someone else’s fault, contact the esteemed personal injury firm Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach boat accident attorneys can help.
Boating Accidents in West Palm Beach
Careless, impaired, and distracted boaters cause hundreds of boating accidents each year throughout Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 736 boating accidents occurred throughout Florida waters in 2013 alone. That year, in Palm Beach County, 3 fatalities and 20 injuries resulted from boating accidents. With over 30,000 registered boats in Palm Beach County alone, there is always a risk for local boaters. Boating accidents can involve personal boats or even commercial boats, such as tourist boats, fishing boats, and other commercial vessels. When another boater acts recklessly or negligently and causes an accident, the accident victim may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries and property damage. Boating accident victims often suffer serious injury, given the nature of these accidents. Heavy vehicles operating in natural waters create inherent risks. Adding boater carelessness onto those risks can create a deadly situation.
Civil suits for boating accidents can get complicated very quickly. What may seem like a straightforward incident may actually involve multiple parties, all of whom are likely to avoid claiming full legal responsibility. Boating accident victims may be able to seek compensation for property damages, medical bills for injuries, pain and suffering, and other types of damages. It is important to remember that every case is different, so you should seek an experienced boating accident attorney. An experienced attorney will understand the complex law surrounding boating accidents and can assess your specific circumstances to determine who is liable. Whether you are a passenger, boat operator, fisherman, or seaman, you could be entitled to compensation if someone else’s reckless or negligent actions cause you injury. Be sure to call an attorney right away after the accident, as strict legal deadlines may affect your case.
Causes of West Palm Beach Boating Accidents
The top causes of boating accidents are almost entirely preventable. Like collisions caused on land in traffic, boating accidents come down to operator error due to a variety of factors that should have been taken into account by the person behind the wheel. Listed below are the top five causes of boating accidents.
Inattention and Carelessness (Operator Becoming Distracted)
The number one cause of recreational boating accidents is operator inattention, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. When a driver’s mind wanders from the task at hand, they drift out of their lane, turn in front of oncoming traffic, cut off pedestrians and cyclists, and are a hazard to everyone on the road, including themselves. The same goes for watercraft operators who disregard their responsibility to pay close attention to what they are doing. Distraction causes slow reactions to emergency situations, which is unacceptable on the water where drowning can occur within minutes and no boat is outfitted with brakes, seat belts, airbags, or a crumple zone.
No Proper Watch is The Second Leading Cause of Boating Accidents
No proper watch refers to the scenario where a boat hit another object or suffered a mishap because there was no one serving as a lookout, or the lookout failed in their duty to notify the operator of the approaching danger. It is required that all vessels have a lookout (both serving for sight and sound) to notify the operator of the conditions ahead and the risks involved.
Inexperience and Lack of Watercraft Education Lead to Negligence
Operator error due to inexperience is the primary cause of boating accidents across the entire U.S. Many boating enthusiasts do not know the laws and regulations that govern the specific body of water they are on, are unaware of navigational rules or how to navigate in the first place, don’t know CPR, and are not skilled with necessary boating knowledge such as knot tying or reading the weather for dangers. These are all things that can be taught in a class setting or learned from more experienced boaters, yet few take the time to do so, which is why accidents are so prevalent.
Excessive Speed is the Fourth Leading Cause of Boating Accidents
It should come as little surprise that excessive speed is on the top five list of boating accidents. Motorboats can exceed 60 miles per hour without too much difficulty, though that does not mean that they should always be driven that fast. Jet ski and speed boat operators can get out of hand quickly when speeding, and lose control in an instant.
Alcohol is the Leading Factor in 21 Percent of Watercraft Deaths
Just because you aren’t on the road does not give you the right to drink and drive a boat. Safe watercraft operators know this, and know that an illegal blood alcohol content of 0.08 is no time to handle powerful equipment on the open water of the Florida coast. According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ten people drown every day. It is the primary cause of death in boating accidents and alcohol greatly increases the odds of drowning if going overboard.
Get Experienced Legal Help From Our West Palm Beach Boat Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been injured or sustained property damage in a boating accident, contact Pike & Lustig, LLP now. Our injury attorneys are dedicated to aggressively representing our clients’ interests. We will assess your case and help you choose the best legal option. With years of experience serving West Palm Beach, our attorneys have established a reputation for legal excellence and client service. Our experienced attorneys have spent years in court, successfully representing Florida clients. Contact our firm today to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.