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Miami Boating and Marine Accident Lawyer

Boating is a way of life in Miami, Florida. Unlike in the Northeast where owners are forced to winterize their boats every year, residents of Miami have the luxury of enjoying the use of their watercraft year-round. They say a bad day of fishing beats a good day at the office, that is unless you experience a boating accident and the trauma that comes with it. In 2016, the Miami Marlins lost their beloved ace pitcher Jose Fernandez when he crashed his boat into a jetty along Miami’s Government Cut. This brought attention not only to the dangers of boating but also to the massive responsibility that comes with operating any sort of watercraft.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, it is imperative that you contact a Miami boating and marine accident attorney right away. When boats or other types of watercraft crash, the consequences can be catastrophic. The injuries experienced by parties to a boat crash can be life threatening and fatalities are known to occur. The Law Offices of Propser Shaked provide high quality legal services to victims of boating and marine accidents in the greater Miami and South Florida areas.

Miami personal injury attorney

Common Causes and Injuries of Boating and Marine Accidents

The most common types of watercraft involved in boating accidents are open motorboats, personal watercraft, cabin motorboats, kayaks and canoes, and pontoon boats. Boating accidents can be caused by a number of internal and external factors. Common causes of boating collisions are listed below:

  • Distracted operation of boat
  • Excessive speed
  • Reckless operation of boat
  • Inclement weather
  • Lack of training or experience in operating boat
  • Fires or explosions
  • Colliding with submerged objects
  • Boat exhausts
  • Lack of proper safety equipment
  • Alcohol use
  • Illegal substances
  • Prescriptions drugs
  • Mechanical failure
  • Improper maneuvering
  • Collision with swimmers
  • Lack of boat maintenance

When collisions involving boats and other watercraft occur, injuries that are sustained by operators and passengers tend to be severe. It is especially dangerous when boats travel at high speeds because passengers do not have the same safeguards that cars have such as airbags and seat belts. Some of the most common injuries sustained during crashes involving boats and other watercraft include:

  • Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Liability for Boating and Marine Accidents

In order for the operator of a boat to be held liable for injuries sustained by passengers in a collision, injured persons must prove that the operator was negligent. Thus, a plaintiff must show that the operator deviated from the reasonable standard of care that was owed to passengers of the watercraft as well as surrounding watercraft and swimmers. There are three essential elements that must be proven in order to succeed on a theory of negligence. These elements are:

  1. The operator owed a legal duty of care to passengers within the vicinity;
  2. The operator breached the legal duty of care that was owed; and
  3. As a result of the breach, the plaintiff suffered damages

 

South Florida boating and marine accident lawyer

Florida follows the Pure Comparative Fault Doctrine that allows for a plaintiff to recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident even if it found that a plaintiff is partially at fault. The amount of damages that a plaintiff recovers will be reduced by the portion of fault apportioned to him or her. For example, a court finds that a plaintiff can recover $100,000 in damages for injuries suffered in a boating accident. The court also finds that the plaintiff was 20% at fault for the accident. Thus, the damages will be reduced by $20,000 and the plaintiff can collect $80,000 in damages.

Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Boating Accident

There are two types of compensation that a victim of a boating accident can receive: compensatory damages and punitive damages. The purpose behind compensatory damages is to make a plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Monetary damages include:

  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Present and future lost earnings
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Household services
  • Wrongful death damages

Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate but are nevertheless still recoverable. Examples of nonmonetary damages are:

  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where a defendant’s behavior is found to be particularly egregious and outrageous. The purpose behind punitive damages is to “throw the book” at a defendant in an effort to deter others from committing similar acts in the future. Florida has a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a personal injury cause of action. A plaintiff may collect three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.

Miami Boating and Marine Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you love have been injured in accident involving a boat or any other type of watercraft, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. It is difficult for a lay person to understand the nuances and intricacies of federal and maritime law. Retaining a skilled and experienced Miami boating and marine accident lawyer can save you time and money, while also putting you in the best possible position to recover damages. Call the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked at (305) 690-0244 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a personal injury attorney who will fight tirelessly for your legal rights.

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