Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorneys Serving Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Georgia
Florida and Georgia are great places to own a boat. The boating options are seemingly limitless. Just like motorists, boaters must abide by certain rules and regulations, and exercise a degree of care in order to avoid causing an accident and catastrophic injuries on the water.
If another boater's carelessness caused an accident in which you or a loved one was injured, then you may have a case to pursue compensation above and beyond any insurance company offer. To find out if you have a claim, please call Kelleher Law offices in Naples and Fort Myers, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Georgia. Call 833-546-3675.
Claims Handled by Kelleher Law
If you think you may have a boating claim, give our attorneys a call. Depending on the location of the accident, there may be certain laws or rules that were broken by the boater who caused the accident.
Claims handled by our attorneys have to do with negligence. If someone else's negligence caused the boat crash, then you may have a claim to pursue compensation from the responsible party. Examples of behavior that may be considered negligence include:
- Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Colliding with another boat
- Reckless operation of the boat
- Overcrowded or overloaded boat
- Boating in inclement weather
- Lack of safety equipment
- Disobeying boating laws or regulations
After discussing the accident with you, our attorneys can determine if you have a claim. If you do, and if you move forward with a claim handled by Kelleher Law, then we will get to the bottom of how the negligence resulted in the crash. And we will work to demonstrate this case to insurers, judges, juries or whoever else is involved. We will not rest until the best possible outcome has been reached.
The Most Critical Part of Boating Safety
The most straightforward way to avoid a boating accident is to use common sense. Always check the weather, don’t go out during storms or when there are any type of weather warnings, and always bring safety equipment with you.
Wearing a life jacket on your boat that’s certified by the US Coast Guard can help keep you safe even if you fall into the water.
You should also follow good boating practices and ensure that you’re following the “rules of the water.” These include:
- Always giving the boat ahead of you the right of way
- Enter mooring areas at slow speeds
- Don’t create wakes that can disrupt other boats
- Use a normal speed; avoid racing other vessels or showing off on the water
- Be mindful of other boaters, jet skiers, kayakers, and anyone else using the water
- Follow the 1/3 rule for boating; use one-third of your fuel to leave, one-third to return, and keep one-third in reserve in case you need extra gas.
Boating Incident vs. Accident
In the legal world, incidents and accidents may sound like the same thing, but they have key differences. An accident is an event that is not deliberately caused by someone but results in harm or injury to people or property. An incident can be intentional or not, as is the case in boating negligence, and it usually doesn’t result in harm to people or property.
For example, imagine you have the right of way on the water, but another vessel is fast approaching. You try to speed up to avoid them, but you nearly hit a jet skier doing so. No one is hurt, so this incident may be frightening and frustrating, but it is not something you can sue over.
Meanwhile, imagine that you accelerated to avoid the other vessel, but had to rapidly turn to avoid injuring the jet skier. Nevertheless, they fell off into the water, hurt themselves, and the boat behind you hit your stern.
Now, you have not only become a victim, but you’ve also made someone else a victim due to someone else’s misuse of the water. This can be considered an accident that you may be able to sue for; furthermore, upon delving deeper into the situation, the other boater may also be held accountable for the injuries the jet skier sustained.
What Amount of Property Damage Is Required to Sue in FL?
Under Florida law, you must incur at least $2,000 worth of damages to sue. Florida Statutes § 95.11 sets a four-year limit on any legal action to recover damages to restore or repair property. It’s vital that you submit a claim to your insurance provider immediately to avoid missing their deadlines.
What’s more, having a claim filed with your provider also helps substantiate your own case in court. Without proper documentation, the other party could argue that the damage is not true or not as costly as you claim it is.
Your Boat Accident Claim
The attorneys at Kelleher Law are driven by obtaining great results for our clients. Jim Kelleher, our founder, has attained AV Preeminent® peer ratings, which means he has been rated by his peers as exceeding the highest standards of professional conduct. We are proud to have earned these ratings and work by those standards every day.
When you come to us for answers, we'll make sure you get clear and accurate answers and information. We want you to be able to make informed decisions about what to do next.
Our fees are contingent. If we do not successfully recover compensation on your behalf, then we don't get paid. No recovery, no fee. Your consultations are free, so there is no additional financial burden to call us and see if you have a case. This can be a huge advantage to injured people who are dealing with expensive medical bills and lost income from being unable to work.
How Common Are Boating Accidents?
Thousands of boating accidents occur each year. The Coast Gard reports that, between 2018 and 2020, there were 13,578 boating accidents resulting in 2,013 deaths and 8,261 injuries. Hundreds of these accidents take place in Florida yearly.
What Type of Injuries Might a Boat Crash Cause?
Injuries common in boating accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Broken or Fractured Bones
- Internal Organ Damage
More than half of all boating accidents result in injury. One in seven of these are fatal.
What to Do Immediately After Your Boating Accident?
If you are not too badly injured, it is a good idea to:
- Report the accident to the Coast Guard
- Move the boat out of the way of oncoming vessels
- Check everyone for injuries and administer first aid as you are able
- Get pictures of the scene from multiple angles
- Gather contact and insurance info from all involved parties
- Gather contact info from any witnesses
As soon as possible after your accident, you will want to see a doctor for a full evaluation. Some injuries take time to develop.
When Should You Contact the Insurance Companies After Your Boating Accident?
You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible following your boating accident. While you may have plans to seek additional compensation, filing a report with your insurer is the first step in claiming damages.
How Soon After Your Crash Should You File a Claim?
You should file a claim with your insurer as soon as possible after your accident. If you have been seriously injured, it is a good idea to contact an attorney as well. Speaking to an attorney before you accept an offer from insurance helps to make sure you are not waiving your rights.
You have four years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim in Florida. It is best to take action long before the statute of limitations approaches, however. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you can determine what your case may be worth.
Finding Out What Your Options Are
To find out if you have a claim, please call Kelleher Law at 833-546-3675 or contact us online. Our lawyers proudly fight on behalf of boat accident victims from across Florida and Georgia. We have offices conveniently located in Naples, Fort Myers, and Atlanta.