How Common Are Boat Accidents in Miami?
In places like Miami, boats are frequently owned and operated for business, pleasure, or even travel, which makes boat accidents far more common in South Florida than nearly anywhere in the country. But just how common are they? And what kinds of injuries do they usually cause? Miami boat accident lawyer Prosper Shaked shares some statistics on boating accidents in South Florida. If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer like Prosper Shaked about your case.
Boat Accident Statistics in Miami
Florida had the highest number of boating accidents of any state in 2016 (the most recent year with available statistics). According to the US Coast Guard’s stats, there were 684 boat accidents in Florida in 2016. This puts Florida at 302 more accidents than the next closest state (California). Of these accidents, 59 accidents were fatal, 287 included non-fatal injuries, and 338 were property damage only.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement has its own statistics that break down these accident stats further. These numbers differ slightly, with 56 fatal accidents reported, totaling 67 individual deaths. These stats also report a total of 671 accidents, rather than 684.
Miami-Dade County, by itself, had 67 reportable accidents. Seven of these accidents were fatal, and 37 resulted in personal injury. In total, there were $438,000 worth of property damage in these accidents. This was the county with the second most accidents, following behind Monroe County. In Monroe County, there were 105 accidents, 3 of which were fatal and 52 of which involved injury. These crashes accounted for $1,061,329 worth of total property damage.
Overall, we can see that South Florida has some of the most boating accidents in the country, with a total of 172 accidents in 2016 in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties alone. This accounts for just under the total number of boating accidents in the state with the 3rd highest number of accidents (New York State, with 174 accidents).
Causes of Boat Accidents in Miami
The Wildlife Conservation Commission also tracks causes of accidents, injuries, and fatalities in boating accidents, which gives us excellent insight into how many boating accidents happen in the first place.
Drug or alcohol use often an identifiable factor in crashes, and played a role in around 25% of all boating accidents. Many boat accidents caused by operating a vessel while intoxicated allow the victims to recover compensation for their injuries. Since boating under the influence is a crime in Florida, it simplifies proving that the drunk boat operator was at fault for the accident.
Most boating accidents occurred at night, peaking between around noon and 6pm (with the absolute highest point between 2pm and 4pm). Most accidents were in the ocean/gulf or bay/sound areas, as opposed to rivers or lakes. Most accidents are caused by a crash with another vessel (181 accidents), but many are caused by impact with stationary objects (174 accidents).
The Commission also studies the manner of injury after the initial impact. The vast majority of these injuries come from falls overboard (129 accidents). The next 3 most common methods of injury are falls inside the boat (54 accidents), capsizing (50 accidents), and being struck by a boat (32 accidents). Falls into other objects, against the floor or bulkheads inside a boat, or being struck by another boat carry a significant risk of traumatic brain injury and later drowning.
The primary causes of boating accidents were also explored. Though alcohol use was involved in around 25% of accidents, the top 5 causes of boat accidents were:
- Inattention (204 accidents),
- Inexperience (109 accidents),
- Speeding (63 accidents),
- Mechanical failure (59 accidents), and
- Careless or reckless boating (36 accidents).
Suing for Boating Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, take your case to a boat accident lawyer. If your injuries were severe, you may face expensive medical bills, lost wages, and serious pain and suffering. All of these damages may be compensation in a lawsuit under Florida law.
Any medical expenses that stem from the accident can be claimed against the party who injured you. This includes emergency medical treatment, doctor’s visits, medical procedures, and rehabilitation. If you had to miss work or are too injured to go back to work, you may be able to recover your lost paychecks as well. This includes paychecks you already missed during recovery, and any you will continue to miss if you can’t go back to work.
Lastly, you may be able to recover direct compensation for your pain and suffering. This is more difficult to put a price on, but you may still be able to cover substantial amounts for serious injuries.
Miami Boat Accident Lawyers
After a boat accident, talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case. These statistics show that you are not alone, and that hundreds of others are injured in similar ways every year. For a free consultation on your boat accident case, and for help understanding your next steps, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today. Our Miami personal injury lawyers are available at (305) 690-0244.