common boat injuries

Florida’s extensive coastline and numerous waterways make it a prime location for boating enthusiasts. However, the popularity of boating also leads to a higher incidence of boating injuries. Understanding the types of common injuries can help boaters take preventive measures and know what to do if an injury happens. Keep reading for more from a Florida boat accident attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath.

Types of common boat injuries

1. Cuts and lacerations

These are often caused by contact with boat propellers, sharp objects onboard, or during docking and repairs. Such injuries can range from minor to severe, potentially requiring emergency medical attention.

2. Broken bones and fractures

Boating accidents can involve collisions with other vessels or stationary objects like docks, leading to significant impact forces causing broken bones and fractures.

3. Head injuries

Falling on the boat deck or hitting overhead equipment can lead to concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

4. Drowning and near-drowning incidents

Despite the use of life jackets, drowning remains a risk, especially in cases of capsizing or individuals being thrown overboard.

5. Hypothermia

Falling into cold water can lead to hypothermia, even in Florida’s generally warmer waters, especially during the cooler months.

6. Carbon monoxide poisoning

Boaters can be exposed to carbon monoxide from the boat’s exhaust, particularly in areas with poor ventilation.

Legal responsibilities and preventive measures

1. Safety equipment

Florida law requires boats to have sufficient safety equipment, including life jackets for all passengers, fire extinguishers, and flares. Compliance with these requirements can mitigate some of the risks associated with boating.

2. Operator training

The state mandates that individuals born on or after January 1, 1988, must have a Boating Safety Education ID Card to operate a boat with ten horsepower or more. Proper training can reduce accidents due to operator error.

3. Alcohol consumption

Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Florida and significantly increases the risk of accidents. Florida Statutes Section 327.35 outlines the penalties for BUI (Boating Under the Influence), similar to DUI laws.

What to do if injured in a boating accident

1. Seek immediate medical attention

Prioritize getting medical help for any injuries. Immediate intervention is crucial for the best medical outcomes.

2. Report the accident

Florida law requires reporting boating accidents with significant property damage, missing persons, or injuries. The report should be made to the local sheriff’s department or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

3. Document the incident

Take photos of the injuries and the accident scene if possible. Collect contact information from any witnesses.

4. Legal consultation

Contact a lawyer specializing in boating accidents in Florida to understand your legal rights and options for compensation. A knowledgeable attorney with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can guide you through filing a claim and dealing with insurance companies.

Possible legal claims and compensation

1. Negligence

Most boating injury claims in Florida are based on negligence. You must prove that someone else’s careless actions led to your injury.

2. Product liability

If the injury was caused by a defective boat or equipment, you might have a claim against the manufacturer.

3. Compensation

Victims may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the injury.

4. Statute of limitations

In Florida, you have four years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim. Consult with an attorney to ensure you file within the legal deadlines.

Hurt in a boating accident? We’re here to help.

By understanding the common types of injuries and taking steps to prevent accidents, boaters can significantly enhance their safety on the water. Consider consulting with a qualified Florida boating accident attorney to protect your rights and navigate the complexities of boating injury claims effectively.

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