A former professional hockey player and educator who was killed and his young daughter injured in a Florida boating accident in September 2017 was determined to be at fault after an extensive investigation whose findings were recently released.

According to Tampa Bay Times report on the results of the investigation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigators concluded the crash was caused by Craig Butz through “operator inexperience and inattention.”  Alcohol was also a contributing factor, as Butz’s blood-alcohol content level at the time was 0.156.  (This is almost twice the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in Florida.)


The Boating Accident in Question

The accident in which Butz was killed and his four year old daughter injured took place off Clearwater Beach on Florida’s West Coast. Butz was piloting a Sea-Doo jet ski into the ocean at a high rate of speed when he drove straight into the left side of a larger boat with four people onboard. The larger boat turned sharply at the last minute to avoid impact with Butz’s Sea-Doo, which caused the jet ski to go underneath the nose of the larger boat. Both Butz and his daughter were thrown from the Sea-Doo and suffered serious injuries. Butz was later pronounced dead at a local hospital and his daughter suffered a head injury as well as broken bones in her arms and legs. Neither the captain nor the three passengers aboard the larger vessel were injured as a result of the collision.

Florida Law Regarding Boating Accidents

Florida law concerning the operation of boats is similar to the state’s laws regarding the operation of motor vehicles. A boat operator must use appropriate measures to keep his or her passengers as well as nearby boaters safe. If a boat’s operator is negligent in operating his vessel, such as by piloting it at excessive speeds or drinking and then operating a boat, the boat operator can be sued for negligence if that negligence results in an accident that injures or kills someone.

If a boat’s operator is negligent in causing an accident, a victim is entitled to recover any bills and expenses for medical treatment necessitated by her injuries, any lost past or future wages caused by those injuries, as well as past and future pain and suffering. Therefore, in this scenario, if anyone in the larger boat that collided with Butz’s jet ski had been injured or killed, those individuals would have a claim against Butz’s estate for any injuries they suffered, subsequent medical treatment they required, as well as other damages.

Contact The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath if You or a Loved One Have Been Injured or Killed in a Florida Boating Accident

As this boating accident demonstrates, boating accidents can have devastating consequences for those involved.  Boating accidents typically mix high speeds and alcohol in a combination that can be deadly.  The experienced personal injury attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have decades of experience representing those who have been injured or the families/loved ones of those who have been killed in boating accidents.  Our firm offers free case evaluations. Call our office at (561) 655-1990 or (561) 655-1990 to schedule a free consultation today.

Boating Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach

About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath                                                                   

Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer. Call us at 561-655-1990 or Visit us at.

Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
515 N Flagler Dr, 10th Floor
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 655-1990