The Florida Boat Accident Guide was created by McKenzie Law Firm to help residents obtain the financial compensation they deserve after suffering from another’s negligence.
When the weather is nice, it is nice to get out on a boat. While boating can be pleasurable, accidents on the water can happen. Boating accidents can leave you and others on the boat in serious pain from significant injuries. First, we want to say how sorry we are that this has happened to you. It is very possible that these injuries could affect you for the rest of your life. What you need to know is that you deserve to get full compensation for this. We will do everything in our power to get you the best possible result. After you read about the specifics of a boat accident case below, please call our Florida boat accident lawyer to set up your free initial consultation to go over your case.
Florida Boat Accident Statute of Limitations
To have a successful case, you need to make sure you get your case filed in plenty of time. You are held to a deadline, known as a statute of limitations, by the state of Florida. You have four years from the date of your boating accident to bring your claim or have it settled in civil court. If you miss this statute of limitations, you will be barred from receiving compensation. As such, it is vitally important that you contact an attorney right away so that they are not working under a tight deadline. It might be tempting to wait since four years seems like a long time, but there are a lot of time sensitive things involved in your case. Your witnesses eventually will forget the fine details of the event, your evidence will go missing, and you could make some serious mistakes along the way, which is something that we want to avoid at all costs.
How Florida Boat Accident Compensation Works
When you seek compensation, there are a few things that you need to understand. You will be receiving compensation from the liable party, aka the person who caused the accident. That may be the driver of the boat that you were on or it could be the other driver of someone else’s boat that hit you. You are not directly suing the person who caused the accident, so you should never feel guilty about filing a boating accident claim.
You will be compensated for a number of things. That includes past and future lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage if your boat was damaged in the accident, and any expenses related to the accident. Your compensation award will be a dollar amount determined by these factors.
When a dollar amount is determined, you also have to go through the process of determining your role in causing the accident. Fortunately, you have a lot of leeway in the state of Florida. If you are determined to be 100 percent at fault, you would be barred from receiving compensation. If you are anything under 100 percent at fault, your compensation award, unfortunately will be reduced. For example, if you were found to be 10 percent at fault for your injuries and were awarded $10,000 then you would be able to collect $9,000 of that award. We will work to prevent you from getting blamed for your injuries.
Always Avoid Talking to Liable Party’s Insurance Company
There is one thing that we suggest to everyone in a personal injury case do and that is avoid talking to the insurance company of the liable party at all costs. You will be contacted by the liable party’s insurance company very shortly after the accident, potentially while you are in the hospital on pain medication recovering from the accident. They know that you are in a vulnerable state and will try to take full advantage of that. You will be asked to give a recorded statement to the insurance company and we strongly advise you not to do so because it can negatively impact your case. They are trained to ask you questions in a way that would force you to answer unfavorably and we want to protect you from that. It is hard to defend your case if you have said something damaging to the insurance company. The best option is to allow your lawyer to take over all communication with the insurance company.
Frequently Asked Boating Accident Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
We’re fortunate in this area of Florida to have white sand beaches and lots of water. The unfortunate part that comes with that is boating accidents and injuries that occur on the water. There are three things that are most important when choosing a boating accident attorney, and that is experience, focus and being a trial attorney.
Experience comes with handling these kinds of cases so you know what evidence may exist, what pieces of equipment may cause certain injuries in boating accidents, what should be there based on various regulations, or what kind of safety materials should have been on the boat that may or may not have contributed to any injuries that had been received. Only an attorney with experience will know to look for certain pieces of evidence like that and will only know how to advise you to ask for certain things like that. That’s why it’s imperative that they have experience in that area.
It’s also imperative that they focus in that area because there is certain specific laws that apply to boats and accidents on the water. Only an attorney who has a particular focus on those and their practice of law will know what those areas are and what pitfalls to watch out for. That’s why it’s imperative that you find an attorney who has both focus and experience with it.
Third and most importantly, you need to ensure you hire a trial attorney. A trial attorney means a person who is willing to go the distance for your case in order to maximize your recovery. That means being able to go to trial for you if necessary, handle appeals oftentimes if necessary, and will be there with you from point A to point Z, until it’s seen to its logical conclusion. The reason that’s important is because if there is an attorney who’s not a trial attorney and the circumstances that arise when a case must be needed to go to trial, they likely have not done certain things that a trial attorney would’ve done. There are also things that a trial attorney knows to do from the very outset to try and set up a case for success that other attorneys who are not trial attorneys may not know to look for. That’s why, when the insurance companies and defendants deal with these trial attorneys, they usually give better offers to those attorneys because they know those attorneys are willing to go the distance for their clients, and they also know those attorneys focus on certain aspects of cases that usually can better maximize their client’s recovery.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
When it comes to boating accidents, the most common mistake that I see as an attorney is that, when an accident occurs on a boat, be it a single boat accident or even sometimes a multiple boat accident, officials aren’t contacted. The marine patrol and the fish and wildlife commission aren’t as readily available as normal law enforcement officers are, and so oftentimes if what is perceived to be a minor accident occurs, they don’t get contacted. It is imperative that if you’re involved in even what you consider to be a small accident on a boat and anybody is injured, even if the injury appears slightly minor, it could be greater than you know, and it’s imperative that you contact law enforcement so that they can conduct the necessary investigations as soon as possible; that ensures that evidence is protected.
The next mistake that we see happen in boating accidents is that lawyers aren’t contacted quickly enough. People don’t know whether insurance applies in certain circumstances when it comes to boating accidents. While there are very distinct differences between them, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as quickly as possible to protect your rights. There are all sorts of things that come into play, especially depending on whose boat it is and who you’re on the boat with that require an attorney’s specialized knowledge and attention to maximize a potential recovery any injured person may have.
How Much is My Case Worth?
In Florida, we’re governed by law to determine what the injuries of a person are and look at a number of things to determine the value of a case. For instance, what are you injuries? What treatment has been required for your injuries? What future treatment is going to be required for your injuries? Are you able to still work? Is your work reduced and you’re taking a reduced rate of pay? Are you ever able to work again? What are those numbers, in the end, for your life going to look like? How has your life been affected by the injuries?
How you used to conduct activities, how you feel about yourself, and how others perceive you now comes into play. All of these are key things that your attorneys need to know in order to determine what the damages are in your case and in order to determine what the value of your case is.
That’s why you need an attorney who’s experienced in this area, who’s experienced with injury cases, and who knows how to go through the process with you, not only to determine what your easily obtainable damages are, such as knowing what medical damages are and the total for those in the end, but also the more discreet ones, which how your daily life has been affected by these kinds of things. They need to spend time with you and speak with you to know how your life has been affected in order to determine what the value of your case is.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
Even if you haven’t gone through the process of selecting or hiring an attorney yet, you should at least speak to an attorney before returning any phone call from an insurance adjuster or someone you believe may be representing or responsible for an injury that has occurred to your or any of your loved ones. The reason being is that those people are not looking out for your interest or your loved one’s interest, they’re looking out for their interests. Therefore, you should always look to hire an attorney or at least have an attorney do a limited appearance for you to speak with them so that they know under what circumstances you should or should not be speaking to an insurance company or one of their representatives.
How Long Will This Case Take?
Every case, especially boating accident cases, is unique. The injuries are unique, the issues of law are unique, and the people involved are unique. All of those things are different factors determining when a case will or will not get resolved and the way they interact with each other. We simply cannot tell you the future here, but what we can tell you is that we will get your case resolved as quickly as possible, given the particular circumstances and needs of your case. We have to do that to ensure that we’re still maximizing any potential recovery that can be made on your behalf.
Contact Our Pensacola Boat Accident Lawyers Today
If you want compensation after getting seriously injured during a boating accident, please do not hesitate to call our Florida boat accident lawyer. We offer free initial consultations to go over the details of your case, and we can get to work for you right away. You are a priority, and your case is important to us. We want you to feel secure, comfortable, and confident in your lawyer when you pursue compensation.