Alcohol use is the main cause of boating accidents resulting in death. In 2020, 115 deaths were attributed to fatalities in boating accidents where alcohol was involved, according to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). While operator inattention is the most common cause of all boating accidents, 115 out of 767 boating deaths were a result of alcohol use.
When a boating accident results in a fatality, the victim’s surviving family members can hold the liable parties accountable through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. An accident attorney can prove what caused the fatal incident and who is financially responsible for the death.
Alcohol and Boating Accidents
Alcohol continues to be a leading factor in fatal boating accidents. Per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), eliminating alcohol consumption while operating a boat could reduce the number of accidents and fatalities each year.
Alcohol use not only affects the probability of getting into a boating accident, but it can also decrease the chance of survival if an accident does happen. When people are intoxicated, they lack the rational skills needed to make quick, life-saving decisions or the physical ability to swim or get themselves to safety.
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What Should You Do If Your Loved One Was Involved in a Boating Accident?
You have legal options if you lost a loved one to boating accident injuries. Florida law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death case against the liable party to hold them financially responsible for the resulting damages.
However, you don’t have long to take action due to Florida’s statute of limitations. Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d) only gives families two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit; after that, you lose your right to sue.
If another party contributed to your loved one’s passing, you want to begin building a case as soon as possible to ensure you have time to:
- Collect evidence before it disappears
- Interview eyewitnesses before their memories fade
- Identify what caused the accident and who to hold liable
The best course of action for you in such a situation is talking to a boat accident attorney Fort Lauderdale. They will help you with thorough accident investigations and reconstruction, uncovering evidence, deposing witnesses, hiring experts, and so on. Attorneys know well how to establish liability, demand compensation, and initiate a claim or a lawsuit while keeping up with the time frames.
Negligence Is a Common Theme in Boating Accidents
While alcohol is attributed to the main cause of boating accidents resulting in death, the USCG cites operator inattention as the reason for most boating accidents in general. Additionally, almost all boating accidents are preventable.
- Improper lookout caused 578 accidents.
- Operator inexperience caused 612 accidents.
- Excessive speed caused 418 accidents.
- Operator inattention caused 664 accidents.
Overall, there were 5,265 boating accidents in 2020, resulting in 3,191 injuries and 767 deaths – most of which could have been prevented through increased operator attention and safety.
If there is evidence that a negligent boat operator (or another party) contributed to your loved one’s fatal injuries, you can use it to support a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against them. You must prove their role in the incident to seek compensation.
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Proving Negligence in a Boating Accident
If you were involved in a boating accident due to someone operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or being negligent in any way, you may have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. Alternatively, you can seek wrongful death-related damages for the loss of a loved one due to a boating accident.
To prove negligence in a boating accident, you must establish:
- Duty: A boat operator always has a duty to operate their boat or vessel in a safe manner. This includes not driving the boat while intoxicated and paying attention to their surroundings.
- Breach of duty: If the operator of a boat or vessel behaves negligently or recklessly—such as by being inattentive or operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol—they will have breached that duty.
- Causation: If you or your loved one was injured, you must prove that the injuries were suffered as a direct result of the boat operator’s negligence.
- Losses: You must have suffered physical, emotional, or financial losses in order to receive compensation under a personal injury claim. In a wrongful death claim, you must connect your loved one’s death to the incident and prove the damages your family suffered as a result.
Building a compelling case can be challenging while your family is grieving a loss. You deserve time to heal without giving up your right to seek financial recovery – and hiring legal representation can help.
A Boating Accident Lawyer Can Handle Your Wrongful Death Case
Our personal injury firm represents boating accident victims and surviving family members in Florida. When you hire us for your wrongful death case, you don’t have to go through the filing process alone. Our team will:
- Gather evidence of causation, negligence, and liability
- Build a case against the liable parties
- Identify your recoverable damages to estimate a fair financial recovery
- Communicate and negotiate on your behalf
- File a lawsuit within the state’s deadline
- Update you on the case’s status as we move forward
- Offer guidance as you make decisions regarding the case
- Advocate for your family every step of the way
To protect your family from any further financial burden, our lawyers operate on contingency. Having this fee arrangement means we only get paid if and when you do, and you never pay out of pocket for our services.
Contact Our Firm to Hire a Boating Accident Attorney
If you were in a boating accident that involved alcohol use or any kind of negligent behavior, and you suffered harm, you should consider filing a personal injury claim. Similarly, if someone you loved passed away due to a boating accident caused by alcohol use or other negligence, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Consider hiring a boating accident attorney from our firm. Contact our team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 to determine your next steps and seek the compensation you deserve for your losses.
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