Can You Sue Boat Rental Companies for Injuries in Miami?

Miami is a very popular vacation spot.  Thousands of tourists and visitors come to our lovely beaches, and many spend some of their days out on the water.  This means that many rent jet skis or boats for a day on the water for a fun opportunity to try something new.  Unfortunately, many of these riders are inexperienced.  Negligent boat rental companies allow untrained persons to take their boats out on the water, which can lead to serious injuries for untrained boat renters and other boating enthusiasts alike.  If you were injured in a boating accident with a rental boat, talk to Miami boating accident lawyer Prosper Shaked about your options to sue for your boat accident injuries.

Can Boat Renters Sue the Rental Company for Injuries?

When you rent a boat, you may be required to go through a short training course.  The rental company will often ask you if you have experience, and they may walk you through the boat’s controls and main functions.  However, this often isn’t enough training to really teach you how to operate a boat.  While some of the techniques and controls are similar to driving a car, others are radically different.  There is no substitute for experience and good training, but boat rental companies may still let you pilot a boat without giving you the tools you need to drive safely.

Many boat rental companies try to avoid responsibility by using rental agreements and waivers that avoid holding them liable for the injuries.  The waivers contained in many of these agreements attempt to sever responsibility for accidents while serving as warning to boat renters that they will be using the boat at their own risk.  However, these waivers are not always properly written or legally binding.  There are loopholes in some waivers that may still allow you to sue the rental company if you are injured.

First, many rental waivers ask the renter to sign statements agreeing that they understand boating laws and have the skill and experience to pilot a boat.  It may be dangerous for a boat rental company to rent you a boat if they see obvious signs that you are not actually able to pilot the boat.

Additionally, many waivers might not account for mechanical problems or similar safety hazards.  The waiver may say that you take responsibility for injuries you cause, but if the injuries were caused by bad maintenance or serious mechanical failure, it may still be the boat rental company’s fault.

Because these waivers work to limit the boat rental company’s liability, you may not be able to sue the boat rental company for all injuries.  It is important to talk to an attorney about the specific facts of your case and the details of the waiver you signed to determine whether you have the right to sue or not.

Can Victims of Boat Accidents Sue the Rental Company?

If you were hurt because of a boat accident caused by a novice boat renter, you may have options to sue the boat rental company.  You could be injured as a pilot or passenger of another boat, or in a wakeboarding accident or tubing accident.  In many cases, you could sue the boat pilot directly for any injuries they cause in an accident.  The pilot of a boat is responsible for its function, and any accidents caused by their reckless driving or inexperience are usually their own fault.  However, the contract between the boat renter and the rental company has many important details that may govern your ability to sue as a third party.

Some rental agreements and waivers have clauses where the renter agrees to “indemnify” the rental company.  These “indemnity clauses” are agreements that the renter will take responsibility for any issues the boat rental company faces – and sometimes pay for them.  These clauses often use language that the renter will “hold harmless” the boat rental company.  This may limit your ability, as a third-party victim, to sue the boat rental company.

However, if there is insurance on the boat rental or the rental company covers damages to third parties, you may still be able to recover.  Additionally, you may be able to sue if the boat rental company was especially reckless.  There is always a risk when you let someone behind the controls of a vehicle you own.  If the boat rental company was negligent in allowing the renter to take the boat out in the first place, you may still be able to sue.  This could occur in cases where the renter has a clear lack of skill or experience that makes it too dangerous to let them pilot the boat, or if the rental company rented a boat to a drunk or drugged renter.

Miami Boat Accident Lawyer

Miami personal injury attorney Prosper Shaked represents victims of boat accidents against those responsible for the crash.  For a free consultation on your case, and for help understanding who you may be able to sue in your case, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today.  Our number is (305) 690-0244.

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