For many St. Johns County residents and tourists alike, there is nothing more enchanting than spending a day out on the water. Unfortunately, an accident resulting from someone’s careless or reckless behavior can often turn an idyllic experience into a nightmarish one.
If you or a loved one suffered injury and/or property damage in a boating accident, a personal injury attorney could counsel you regarding potential claims for compensation. A St. Johns County boating accident lawyer could be a valuable ally moving forward, potentially helping you to build a case and recover monetary damages.
The Rise in Boat-Related Injuries
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) reports that Florida has nearly 1,000,000 registered boating vessels—far more than any other state—and estimates that there are just as many active non-registered vessels using the state’s waters. In 2018, there were 66 boating and personal watercraft fatalities in Florida, and St. Johns County was ranked 16th out of 67 counties for the most reported accidents.
Florida boating accident survivors in 2018 suffered injuries that include broken bones, contusions, head injuries, internal injuries, hypothermia, shock, neck injuries, burns, spinal injuries, and amputations. While some of these injuries may be temporary and heal with time, others are life-altering and could leave victims unable to work while facing exorbitant medical bills. In these instances, a skilled St. Johns County boat accident attorney may be able to help pursue compensation from the responsible party or parties.
Common Boating Accident Causes and Consequences
The most common causes of Florida boating accidents include failure to pay attention, machinery failure, operator inexperience, excessive speed, weather conditions, careless/reckless operation, and intoxication. Any of these examples of negligent behavior could give rise to a civil action on behalf of an injured party under one or more different legal theories. A St. Johns County lawyer experienced with boating accident cases could identify all relevant legal concepts and defendants in a particular case to maximize a plaintiff’s potential for recovery.
Legally speaking, negligence is the failure to exercise the sort of care that a reasonably prudent person would use under the same circumstances. Examples could include a boat driver causing a collision when looking at a map or fidgeting with the radio, a mechanic’s failure to service or fix a boat properly, or inadequate marina signage or lighting.
Recklessness involves engaging in conduct despite knowing the risk it poses to the safety of others. Examples include excessive speeding or operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Liability for Defective Components
In some cases, mechanical failures result from ordinary wear and tear on a boat. In other instances, a defect in the watercraft’s design or manufacturing process could lead to an accident, rendering the seller, manufacturer, and possibly other parties civilly liable for an ensuing accident.
Speak with a St. Johns County Boat Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a boating accident, an attorney could help you navigate the legal system and pursue the compensation you deserve. An award following a successful lawsuit could include money for medical expenses, lost earnings, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment or life. In rare cases involving intentional misconduct or gross negligence by a defendant, punitive damages may also be available.
Most civil actions for personal injury or product liability claims must be filed within four years, so reaching out to a St. Johns County boat accident lawyer sooner rather than later may help you preserve your rights. Call today to schedule a consultation and get started on your case.