In the state of Florida fault in a boating accident is determined by finding the owner and operator of a boat to be negligent in their operation of said vehicle. In the instance that more than one boat is involved – for example, one boat colliding with another boat – one or both operators may be found to be liable and the fault may be assigned to each depending on the circumstances of the case. The at-fault boat operator may be assigned full liability, but in order for a case to be successfully brought against them, negligence must be established.
What Are Some Examples of Negligent Boat Operation?
In some situations, a boat operator’s negligence may be obvious. If, for example, the boater were moving at a speed above the legal limit when they collided with a stationary vessel, that would ostensibly be a situation where liability is assigned solely to one negligent driver. Likewise, if the boat driver in question was operating the vehicle while intoxicated, that would be another case in which they might be found to be demonstrably negligent. Under circumstances such as these, the negligent boat drivers would likely be found to be responsible for the accident and any damage or injuries that may have resulted from it.
What if More Than One Party is Liable for the Accident?
There are some instances in which liability may not be so easily assigned to one party. As Florida is a state operating under comparative fault law, two parties may each be assigned an appropriate percentage of liability based on the ruling of a judge or jury. Such a determination may be made, for example, in the event that two boats collide and one driver is determined to have been speeding and the other to have been operating under the influence.
Should I Contact a personal injury Attorney if I’m Involved in a Boating Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, regardless of who was at fault, you should contact a personal injury attorney regarding your next steps. You may be tempted to leave compensation up to insurance companies in an effort to save yourself money and hassle, but anyone else involved in the accident may not be so willing to let things play out on their own. In a case like that, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of playing defense in court. That’s why it’s important for you to speak with someone knowledgeable in such matters in advance of any possible legal actions or disputes, in order to best protect yourself and secure any compensation or protections to which you may be entitled.