Melbourne, like other coastal cities in Florida, is a haven for boaters, jet skiers, divers, and others who enjoy the fun of the ocean. Unfortunately, every year, people get hurt and killed in boating accidents by negligent people.
Boat collisions and other accidents while behind the wheel of a water vessel can easily lead to death or maiming, but you have rights. Our Melbourne boating accident lawyers at Andrew Pickett Law will help you understand those rights and what to do to get compensation for your injuries.
How Does Fault Work in Boating Accidents?
Under federal law, both boat pilots have responsibility for avoiding a boating accident. However, that doesn’t mean both are at fault for the accident. Figuring out who is responsible for a boating accident is part of the job of your boating accident lawyer.
It’s more difficult than a car accident because there are no license requirements to operate a boat or personal watercraft. The at-fault party in a boating accident could be:
- Someone else operating your boat
- A distracting passenger on either boat
- The other boat pilot
- The owner of the other boat
- A boat rental company
- The manufacturer of a defective boat part
- A boat mechanic
Finding out who is at fault is always the first item of business in a lawsuit. Until we know who to sue, we don’t know which insurance companies to contact or whose assets to investigate. It could even be several parties.
For a free legal consultation with a boating accidents lawyer serving Melbourne, call 321-503-4014
What Damages Could I Win From a Boating Accident Case?
There are no unique damages in boating accidents, so it’s the same damages you could be eligible for in other personal injury cases. These include:
- Costs for repairing your boat and any damaged gear
- All medical expenses
- Lost income and future lost income
- Disability costs
- Non-economic damages like pain and suffering
You may also qualify for punitive damages. This is a punishment given by the court for severe cases of negligence. Your boating accident lawyer in Melbourne can try to argue for punitive damages if your case goes before a judge.
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Common Causes of Boating Accidents
The number one cause of boating accidents is drinking while boating. Driving on water while sober is confusing enough when you have multiple wakes and sudden waves that could bounce the boat. Alcohol just adds to the mix of confusion and leads to bad decisions, like:
- Speeding, especially in “no wake” zones
- Not looking for other boats, objects, and people in the water
- Driving in poor weather
Another cause is machinery failure. This is a strong possibility for rental boats. People who rent out boats must maintain their vessels. If something goes wrong with the engine and causes an accident, the owner may be liable. Your Melbourne boating accident attorney can investigate the circumstances of your wreck to determine liability.
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What Do I Do After a Boating Accident?
The steps you take after a boating accident are similar to what you need to do after a car accident. First, stop your vessel and see if anyone is hurt. If there is an emergency, call 911 and follow their instructions. Make an effort to help anyone hurt if it doesn’t risk others.
Exchange your name, address, and boat information in writing with everyone involved in the accident. Then, if you didn’t contact 911, contact one of these three parties to report the accident. You must do this within as soon as possible, especially if there is an injury, death, or extensive property damage:
- The Division of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- The Brevard County Sheriff
- The Melbourne police department
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What If I Was Working on a Sea Vessel?
If you were hurt in a workplace accident while on a vessel, there is a different set of laws that cover compensation, including the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Speak with our Melbourne boating accident lawyers if you fall into this situation. You will need specialized legal advice.
Get Help Today From a Boating Accident Lawyer in Melbourne
If you’ve been in a boating accident, you’re likely facing huge repair bills and medical bills. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you can get compensation from the responsible party. To get started, contact the Melbourne, FL, boating accident lawyers at Andrew Pickett Law by phone or by using our contact form. We’ll set up a free no-obligation consultation about your accident.
Call or text 321-503-4014 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form