The state of Florida has the second-largest coastline in the country, allowing it to offer a wide array of recreational boating activities. With so much going on, and constant weather inclement, accidents leading to damage are not uncommon. There are many causes of boat accidents such as poor boat and dock maintenance, negligence, storms, etc. Accidents usually happen on the water, but they can also occur at the marina before a boar even departs the dock.
It is important to note that boating accidents usually don’t fall under state law, but are governed by federal Maritime law instead. The team at Klotzman Property Damage Law has handled numerous cases involving vessels such as fishing boats, yachts, and even cruise ships. A Hollywood boat damage lawyer will help you comprehend the law that governs your case and your legal options.
We are equipped to handle numerous types of boat damage and accident cases. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to get started!
What Should I Do After My Boat is Damaged?
If you find yourself in a situation where you have collided with another vessel, or the boat is taking on water, it is imperative to stay calm and do the following.
Check for Injuries
Following a boat accident or damage, instantly check any passengers for injuries. Ensure that everyone on board is wearing a life jacket in case you need to abandon the boat. Always check the state and local requirements for lifejackets as they save lives. If someone is injured, call for medical assistance.
Notify the Local Authorities and the U.S Coast Guard
Similar to auto accidents, boating accidents need to be reported to the relevant authorities immediately so that an investigation can be done. Familiarize yourself with Hollywood regulations so that you know when to call the authorities.
Bear in mind that you’ll most likely have to file a claim or lawsuit down the line. As such, it’s important to garner as much information as possible about the incident. This includes names and contact details of any parties involved and witnesses. You’ll also want to take photos and videos of any damage and injuries sustained.
Contact Your Insurance Carrier
Although you’ll want to secure your vessel as soon as possible to avoid additional damage or total loss, it is vital to contact your insurance provider soon after. The agent will guide you on the steps to take and the documentation required for filing a claim for repairs or replacement of the boat.
Find a Boat Damage Lawyer
There is always the chance of a lawsuit if another party was involved. Whether you are to blame or the other party was at fault and needs to be compensated, finding the right legal representation will save you a lot of stress. Given boating is an expensive recreational activity, most parties will take the initiative to seek fair compensation.
Who Liable for My Boat Damage?
Boat accidents tend to be complex as they can occur in numerous varying ways. As such, there may be many possible parties at fault in a boat accident claim. The team at Klotzman Property Damage Law will review your case to determine the party liable and what damages to claim. Some of the possible parties to be held responsible include:
Marina or Dock Owner
If the accident occurred while your vessel was docked, the marina or dock owner may be held responsible. If the accident was due to the owner’s failure to maintain the marina or dock, they are held liable for damages and injuries sustained as a result.
If you chartered or rented a boat for a private event, the vessel’s owner may be held liable for any injuries and damages. Just like marina and dock owners, boat owners have the responsibility to maintain the vessel as well as keep it in a working and safe condition. If their negligence was the result of the accident, then they are to be held liable.
Company Running the Business
The company that owns the boat can also be to blame in various instances. For instance, if you chartered an accident that occurred due to the negligence or reckless acts of a crew member, both the employer and crew member may be held responsible. Boat companies, however, tend to be held liable as they are supposed to ensure their employees are experienced and competent.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Boating Accident?
First and foremost, seek medical attention immediately. If you cannot use your phone, look for the boat operator or passengers around you for help. In most cases, boating accidents affect the passengers as well and so, follow the directions broadcasted and stay calm.
Ensure you provide the doctor with accurate information regarding the injuries. Their reports will be vital when it comes to making a claim or filing a lawsuit. If possible take photos and videos of the accident scene, damages, and injuries sustained. Also, collect witnesses or other victims’ contact details.
All this will be useful to your lawyer when arguing that your compensation should match the level of injuries and damages sustained. The more solid evidence of negligence you can show, the higher the chances of maximum compensation.
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 coverages are optional unless you are financing the vessel. They are 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 take a separate cover for that.
Is there a Statute of Limitations on Boating Damages?
Yes! The time window you have to file a boat damage claim, however, ultimately boils down to the location of the accident as this determines the applicable law. For boating accidents governed by Florida law, the time limit is four years from the date of the incident.
On the other hand, boat accidents governed by Admiralty law have to be filed within three years from the date of the accident. Also, depending on the accident and kind of party you’re suing, some claims have an even shorter time limit.
If you are filing a wrongful death claim, the deadline is two years and in some cases 18 months from the date of the incident.
How Can a Boat Damage Lawyer Help With My Claim?
Boat damage claims tend to be complex, not just due to the many parties that may be liable, but also the numerous factors surrounding the cause of the accident. A professional lawyer will come in handy in numerous ways including advice on your legal options, the worth of your case, accident investigation, filing a lawsuit, negotiations for a fair settlement and even taking your case to trial.
Hire a Hollywood Boat Damage Lawyer Today!
Boat damage claims can be stressful and complex, particularly if they result in intense court battles. Here at Klotzman Property Damage Law, we value all our clients and ensure to provide top-of-the-line services. Boating accidents resulting in damages and injuries can be traumatizing and life-altering. That is why work to protect the rights of our clients in Hollywood and ensure justice is served. We know how to navigate the complex procedures in this field and so, do not be afraid to contact us by calling 954-915-7405 today!