A boating accident occurs when two or more boats collide, or a boater does something to cause an accident. For instance, a boater operating a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol may hit a boat and cause injuries to another boater or their passenger. A personal injury attorney services key west fl must determine two things before their client is compensated for an injury that occurred in a boat accident: cause and liability.
Causes of a Boating Accident
Negligence is the most common reason for a boating accident. The term “negligence” refers to determining who was at fault for the boating accident: the boater, the injured party or a third party. A third party is someone like a manufacturer who is responsible for the design or mechanics of the boat. The mechanics or design was flawed and caused the boating accident.
When a boater is negligent, they fail to act as an ordinary boater would in the same and/or similar circumstances. This failure to act as a reasonable boater and protect people from injury by avoiding an accident makes them liable. In court, the injured party must show the boater had a legal duty to protect them. This legal duty establishes a personal injury claim. Once the legal duty is established, the injured person must show the boater breached their duty. They also must show the cause of the boating accident.
Proximate cause occurs when a liable party does something that causes the accident but did not collide with the injured person. Another boater may hit the injured party. The injured party’s boat may hit an obstacle or land. Something the boater did cause the boating accident.
Direct cause occurs when a boater directly collides with the other boater.
Establishing Liability in a Boating Accident Case
Once the cause is known, the injured party must connect a link the boater’s negligence and their injuries. A Florida civil court will not take an injured person’s word that the boater caused their injuries. The court assumes the injured party could have been injured prior to the accident and is trying to get paid. The type of evidence that will connect the injuries to the boater’s negligence include expert testimony, witnesses and accident scene photographs. The last step in obtaining money for injuries suffered in a boating accident is proving damages. Damages include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and property damage. If the injured party can prove this, they will receive money for the boating accident.
How Boater Insurance Affects a Boating Accident Case
When a boater is at fault, that doesn’t mean they will pay an injured person damage. A boater with no assets or boater insurance probably won’t have the ability to pay damages. Motor vehicle insurance does not cover boating accidents. Homeowner insurance may cover boating accident injuries. However, the liable party may not have homeowner’s policy. Also, the injured party may not be able to file a claim against the homeowner’s policy.