An unfortunate event like a boating accident can significantly alter your life. It is important to determine who is responsible for covering the costs of any necessary repairs. However, it might be challenging to determine who should be held accountable without carefully examining all the relevant evidence. Insurance companies will often try to deny or underpay your property damage claim.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we have knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale boat damage lawyers who can assist you in recovering compensation after a boating accident. Contact us at 954-915-7405 to get a no-obligation-free case review.
What Should I Do After My Boat Is Damaged?
Even while damage to your boat might be inconvenient and expensive, there are steps you can take to ensure that repairs are swiftly completed so you can resume your favorite water activities.
It’s important to take these steps after your boat is damaged.
Check for Injuries and Prevent Further Damage
Check yourself and any passengers for injuries after a boat accident, and seek immediate medical attention for anyone who needs it.
Tie down the boat to prevent more damage. If the ship is sinking, get it out of the water as soon as possible. However, make sure that doing so is safe for you. Never attempt to rescue a sinking boat if doing so could endanger your life or the lives of others.
If your boat was damaged in a storm, take steps to prevent further damage such as covering the boat with a tarp.
Report a Boat Accident
Boating accidents should be reported to the authorities as quickly as possible so that they can investigate, just like with auto accidents. 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 in Fort Lauderdale 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
- Broward County Sheriff’s Office
- Fort Lauderdale Police Department
Gather Information and Take Pictures
Use a camera or phone to take images of your damaged boat. Be sure to keep a careful record of all the damage and costs involved. If your boat was damaged in an accident, collect the other boat’s hull identification number and the other party’s contact information, and insurance information.
Alert Your Insurance Provider
The insurance provider will advise you on the steps to take and the documentation needed to file a claim for repairs or replacement of your boat.
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 boat damage lawyer. Call us today to protect your rights!
Who Is Liable for My Boat Being Damaged?
There are numerous factors that can lead to a boat being damaged. Other than storms and natural disasters, it usually comes down to negligence. You shouldn’t have the shoulder the costs of repairing or replacing your boat if someone else is to blame.
Parties that can be held liable for your boat damage include:
The person operating the boat during an accident is typically held responsible. The boat’s operator is responsible for adhering to all maritime regulations. However, many boat accidents are caused by seeding, carelessness, operating a boat drunk, and other negligent behaviors.
The boat owner may be liable if the boat wasn’t properly maintained. In case of an accident, it might be possible to prove that the owner’s negligence caused the malfunction or breakdown that resulted in the collision.
The boat manufacturer may be liable if an accident occurs due to a defect. Any boat’s construction or design shortcomings must be the manufacturer’s fault.
Rental Boat Service
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.
A Passenger on the Boat
If someone else on the boat behaves carelessly or negligently and causes a collision, that person may also be at fault. Pushing someone overboard, lighting a fire on board, or interfering with the boat’s driver’s ability to execute their job are all examples of this kind of activity.
Although each boating accident is unique, our skilled boat damage lawyers in Fort Lauderdale can determine who was at fault in your case.
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?
The state of Florida is prone to storms and hurricanes and so, it makes sense to have boat insurance available. This policy protects you if your boat experiences physical damage. Bear in mind that physical damage coverage is optional unless you are financing the vessel. This coverage is designed to repair or replace your boat if it sustained damage due to a weather-related accident.
However, note that some insurance companies do not cover hurricanes in the above-mentioned policy and you may have to obtain additional coverage for that.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Boating Accident Claims?
Florida law defines the specific time limits for filing a claim after a boat accident. Here are some broad guidelines for how long you have to file a claim after a boating accident.
- 4 years if the accident occurs on Florida-controlled waters.
- 3 years if the accident occurs on the Admiralty-controlled waterways.
- 6 to 12 months if the accident involves a cruise ship.
- 18 months or two years if the accident caused a wrongful death.
How Can a Boat Damage Lawyer Help With My Claim?
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we have experience handling boat insurance claims across Florida. Our Fort Lauderdale boat damage lawyers can help you in the following ways.
Investigate the Incident
We will gather the necessary evidence and documentation for your insurance claim. If your claim involves a boat accident, we will help obtain proof of who was at fault.
Submit a Claim and Negotiate With Insurance
We help you submit a claim to your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance provider. We will negotiate for a fair settlement based on your damages. We will stand up for your interests if the insurance company unfairly denies your claim or tries to pay less than what you deserve.
Take the Case to Court
Sometimes, settlement negotiations with insurance companies aren’t successful. When this happens, our boat damage attorneys in Fort Lauderdale will represent you in court and fight for your rights.
Hire a Professional Fort Lauderdale Boat Damage Lawyer!
Accidents and storms can wreak havoc on your boat or yacht. The costs of repairing or replacing a boat are steep, so owners rely on boat insurance. Boat damage claims can be stressful and complex, and you need a skilled lawyer on your side.
Here at Klotzman Property Damage Law, we have helped many boat owners throughout Florida file property damage claims. Contact a qualified boat damage attorney in Fort Lauderdale at 954-915-7405 for a free case review and legal representation.