With one of the biggest coastlines in the United States, Florida is full of fun water activities. It’s no surprise that boating is a popular pastime in the area around Miami. However, the weather in this region is highly unpredictable and there is always the risk of a boating accident. Your boat or yacht could be damaged in a storm or a collision with another vessel.
The costs of repairing or replacing a boat are steep. Fortunately, boating insurance exists to help. However, filing a boat insurance claim and getting the financial compensation you need can prove complicated. This is why you should work with a trusted Miami boat damage lawyer.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, our team of experienced Miami property damage lawyers is ready to help with your case. You won’t have to worry about dealing with insurance companies or the party liable for a boat accident as we will do our job to ensure your rights are protected.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to learn more about your legal options.
What Should You Do After Boat Damage?
Your boat or yacht could be damaged by a hurricane, some other storm, or a collision with another vessel. It’s normal to be worried and confused about what to do after your boat is damaged. Here are the steps you need to take.
Check for Injuries
Immediately after a boat accident, you should check everyone on board for injuries. Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket in the event you need to leave the vessel. It is advisable to check both the local and state lifejacket requirements as they can be the difference between life and death. If someone has sustained injuries, seek medical assistance.
Report a Boat Accident
Florida law 327.30 requires boat operators to report all accidents when more than minor injuries or damages are involved. You must notify one of the following agencies if a Miami boat accident involves injuries that require more than first-aid, death, missing people, or damage totaling more than $2,000.
- Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Miami-Dade Sheriff
- Miami Police Department
Given how expensive boats can be, chances are you will need to file a claim. As such, it is advisable to gather as much information as possible. Take photos and video of the damage to your boat and keep receipts for all temporary fixes needed to prevent further damage.
If your boat was damaged in an accident, you should write down the names and contact information of witnesses and other parties involved.
Call 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 boat damage lawyer. Call us today to protect your rights!
Who Is Liable for My Boat Damage in Miami?
There are numerous factors that can lead to a boat being damaged. Other than storms and natural disasters, it usually comes down to negligence.
Parties that can be held liable for your boat damage include:
Marina Owner 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 Owner
If for example you rented or charted a boat for an event and experienced an accident, the owner may be held responsible for the damage. Similar to marina and dock owners, vessel owners must maintain and keep their boats in a safe condition. If their negligence was the direct cause of the damage, then they can be held accountable.
The company running the chartering or renting business can also be held liable in several situations. For example, if you rented or chartered a boat and an accident occurred because of a reckless or negligent crew member, both the individual and their employer can be held liable. However, boat companies are usually held liable as they are supposed to make sure they hire people suited for the job.
What Should You Do If You Were Injured in a Boat Accident?
Health comes first and so, you’ll want to seek medical attention immediately. If you can’t use your phone, ask those around you including the boat operator for assistance. Most boat accidents affect everyone on board and so, it is important to follow the broadcasted instructions and remain calm.
Ensure you give the doctor accurate information regarding your injuries. That’s because their report will be crucial when it comes to filing a claim or lawsuit. If you are able, take videos and photographs of the accident scene including injuries and damages experienced. Don’t forget to collect the contact details of the other victims or witnesses.
This information will be highly useful to your attorney if you pursue a personal injury case. The more clear evidence of negligence you present, the higher the chances of fair compensation.
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 the Boat Was Damaged in a Storm?
Florida is one of the states notorious for unpredictable weather, including storms and hurricanes. Fortunately, you can get boat insurance, a form of coverage that protects your boat in case of physical damage.
However, it is important to note that physical damage insurance is optional unless the boat is under a financing plan. This coverage is meant to repair or replace your vessel following weather-related damages.
Also, it is important to note that some policies don’t cover damage due to hurricanes and you will need a separate policy for that.
What Is the Statute of Limitation for Boat Accident Claims in Miami?
When it comes to making a boat accident claim, the time limit depends on the accident location. For accidents in Florida waters, the deadline is 4 years from the date of the accident. If the Admiralty or Maritime law is applicable, the deadline is 3 years from the date of the incident.
Some accidents may have a shorter time window.
How Can a Boat Damage Attorney Help With Your Claim?
Boat damage claims are not as easy and straightforward as we would all like due to the factors that come into play. With an experienced Miami boat damage lawyer, however, you do not have to fret.
They will help in an array of ways including investigating the accident or damage, collecting the necessary evidence, filing a claim, negotiating for a fair settlement, and even taking your case to trial if necessary.
Hire the Best Miami Boat Damage Lawyers!
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 Miami. The team at Klotzman Property Damage Law will fight aggressively to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to get started!