Florida is surrounded by miles and miles of water and sandy beaches. With great weather and ready access to waterways, water sports like wind-surfing, jet skiing, and boating are extremely popular. There are over a million boats registered in Florida. Unfortunately, accidents and storms can damage your boat or yacht.
The costs of repairing or replacing a boat are steep, so owners rely on boat insurance. Boating insurance is different from auto and homeowner’s insurance which most of us are familiar with. Boat insurance is a comprehensive policy that covers the boat, passengers, other boats, and their passengers who share Florida’s waterways.
Filing a boat damage claim is complex and requires the assistance of an experienced boat damage lawyer. Klotzman Property Damage Law is your trusted partner in Florida when you decide to file a boat damage claim. Our job is to make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you by offering a low settlement or denying your claim altogether. We will fight for the money you deserve.
What Should I Do If My Boat Is Damaged?
If your boat is damaged in an accident or a storm, you can file a boat insurance claim to help cover the costs. However, your health and safety should be the first priority after a boating accident.
Here are the steps you should take if your boat is damaged.
Check for Injuries
Your first priority is to address the medical needs of everyone involved in a boat accident. Check yourself and all passengers on board for injuries and call 911 if anyone has serious injuries. Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket in case you need to abandon the boat.
Even if you think you have no serious injuries after the accident, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
Report a Boating Accident
Florida law 327.30 requires boat operators to report accidents when more than minor injuries or damages are involved. You must notify one of the following agencies if a boat accident involves injuries that require more than first-aid treatment, death, missing people, or damage totaling more than $2,000.
- Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Sheriff of the County Where the Accident Occurred
- Police Department of the Municipality where the accident occurred.
Collect Information From Affected Parties
You should collect the name, address, boating registration number, and contact information of any other party involved in the accident. Share your information with all affected parties and individuals. If the other boat’s owner was not present during the accident, you should take steps to notify the owner.
If you are involved in a boat accident, gather as much evidence as possible at the scene. You can use your smartphone to take photos or videos. Another kind of evidence is eyewitness testimony from people who witnesses the accident. These are some of the most compelling pieces of evidence in boat accidents.
If your boat was damaged in a storm, take photos and video of the damage to your boat and keep receipts for all temporary fixes needed to prevent further damage. You should always document all of your expenses regardless of whether your boat was damaged in a storm, accident, or some other mishap.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
While you’ll want to secure your boat in the shortest period possible to avoid more damage or complete loss, it is important to call your insurance carrier soon after. They will advise you on the steps you should take and the paperwork needed to file a claim.
Call a Boat Damage Lawyer
Boat damage claims tend to be expensive, so it’s common for insurance companies to try to deny, delay, or undervalue your claim. As such, you will need the representation of an experienced Florida boat damage lawyer. Call us today to protect your rights!
Who Is Liable for My Boat Being Damaged?
Determining who was a fault in a boating accident can be difficult. Water has a way of easily destroying evidence. Accident reconstruction is far more difficult in a boat accident compared to accidents that happen on land. That’s why you need to work with an experienced boat damage lawyer to determine who is liable when your boat is damaged.
Many different parties could be liable for boat damage.
The Boat Owner or Operator
The boat owner should make sure anyone using their boat is qualified to use it safely. Although Florida doesn’t require a license to operate a boat, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, should take a safety class and get a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card.
If the operator of the boat didn’t obey safety laws, they can be liable for the damage.
Marina or Dock Owner
If the damage happened while your boat was docked, the dock or marina owner can be held responsible. If they failed to maintain the dock or marina, that is considered negligence and they are at fault.
The Boat Manufacturer
If the boat was defective because of how it was designed or manufactured, the manufacturer can be held liable. Similarly, manufacturers of defective parts could be liable.
The Boat Rental Company
The rental company should maintain its vessels and keep them in a safe condition. If they fail to properly maintain the vessels, they can be held liable.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Boating Accident?
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may have a valid injury claim in Florida. If your injuries were caused due to the other party’s negligence, they can be held liable for your injuries, and you can seek adequate financial compensation from the negligent party.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, our one focus is to negotiate with or fight insurance companies for your rightful financial compensation after damage to your property. We don’t handle personal injury cases, but we are always happy to refer clients who were injured in a boating accident to a personal injury lawyer.
What If My Boat Was Damaged in a Storm?
If you live in an area with storms or hurricanes, boat insurance should protect your boat from damage. In fact, boat insurance is designed to cover damages from windstorms, flooding, hailstorms, lightning, and more.
You should always read the policy’s terms and conditions. Some insurance policies may exclude damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. If so, you need to add a storm plan to your boating insurance by paying an additional fee.
If your insurance provider has denied your claim or is offering a low settlement, our Florida boat damage attorneys can help you fight back.
How Can a Florida Boat Damage Lawyer Help With My Claim?
Filing a boat insurance claim is complex. At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we have experience helping boat owners in Florida get the money they deserve from insurance companies.
Here are some of the ways we help you.
- We conduct investigations and help you gather the evidence and documentation needed for your claim.
- We negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a settlement for your boat damage.
- We can help you challenge a denied claim.
- We are prepared to take your case to court if your insurance is refusing to pay you fairly.
Call Us Today for a Free Case Review!
Insurance companies will try every tactic to deny your boat damage claim. You’ll want to protect your rights by seeking the services of the best property damage lawyers in Florida. The team at Klotzman Property Damage Law will fight aggressively to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to get started!