Boat Accident

Legal services

Experienced Boat Accident Attorneys In Bradenton & Sarasota

boating accident Lawyer and personal injury attorney services

What You Should Know About Boat Accidents

Boat accidents happen far more frequently in Florida than you might think. These accidents, just like car or truck collisions, can also result in legal liability. If someone else is wholly or partially responsible for the accident, you may be able to assert a legal claim against them. At Gallagher & Hagopian, our experienced boat accident lawyers can meet with you to review your situation, help explain your legal rights and determine the best path forward in your unique situation.


Boating Accident FAQs

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that 800 boating accidents occurred in Florida in 2020, leading to 79 deaths — the most since 2011. In addition, United States Coast Guard data from 2019 also suggests that Florida has the highest number of recreational boating accidents of any state in the U.S. Our state is also home to the most deaths that occur on the water.

The most common cause of recreational boating accidents is operator error. Other common causes include:

  • Negligent boat operation
  • Operating a boat while intoxicated
  • Boat maintenance problems
  • Failure to follow boating rules and regulations

If someone else has made an error while operating a boat, they (or their insurance company) could be liable for damages. Therefore, if you’ve been injured as a result of boat operator error, you could be eligible for financial compensation.

In order to receive compensation in a boat accident case, a victim needs to prove that the accident occurred because someone else was negligent. “Negligence” is a legal term that generally means the same thing as carelessness. When someone operates in a boat in a way that a reasonable person would not handle it, and it causes damage, that person is considered negligent.

A boat accident lawyer will not only investigate the accident on your behalf but will also help you follow the required rules to protect your legal rights effectively. This includes negotiating with any and all insurance companies involved in the accident claim.

It’s also important to realize that Florida has unique maritime laws and boating regulations. An experienced boat accident attorney will be familiar with these specific laws and regulations, which they can use to your benefit when negotiating or arguing for damages.

For example, many people do not realize that some boating accidents are governed by federal law because of the location where the accident occurred. These federal laws can be very complicated, meaning that a case must be documented and asserted in a certain way in order to be valid. Fortunately, an experienced boat accident lawyer can help boating accident victims navigate this potentially complex legal process.

The sooner you contact a boat accident lawyer after an accident, the better. Talking to an attorney right away increases the chances of a successful outcome in your legal case.

At Gallagher & Hagopian, not only do we explain all your legal rights after a boating accident but we will also travel to your home or even the hospital to discuss your case and get the legal process started right away. Our team of aggressive attorneys has won more than $300 million for clients and is ready and waiting to fight for your rights.

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, you should immediately report the incident to law enforcement. The paperwork the officer fills out will provide part of the required documentation for any claims you may make in the future. Avoid negotiating a settlement with the other party or the other party’s insurance company (or your insurance company, for that matter).

In Florida, the state’s No-Fault law requires that all accident victims (whether at fault or not) need to seek damages from their own insurance company first. This means that even if you didn’t cause the accident, you must file for medical and wage loss benefits with your own insurance provider.

As a result of Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law, all Florida residents need a minimum amount of coverage to legally operate a boat. This shows the government that you’ll be able to take financial responsibility for accidents or incidents involving your boat.

Even if you do not use your boat, if you own a boat with a state registration you must cover it with the minimum liability insurance requirements. 

Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law includes several minimum coverage requirements for boat owners. This includes:

  •  Bodily Injury Liability Insurance: 
    – $10,000 per person minimum
    – $20,000 per crash minimum
  • Property Damage Liability Insurance:
    – $10,000 property damage liability per crash
  • Personal Injury Protection Coverage:
    – Limit of $10,000 per person per crash