If you suffer injuries or property damages in a Florida boat accident, Florida Statute 327.30 requires the other party to remain on the scene and render aid if you or a member of your family sustained injuries. This statute outlines the requirements for any boater involved in a collision whether it is with another party, another manned vessel, or an unmanned vessel.
The most important thing to know about this statute is that you have a legal obligation to remain on the scene of the accident and to help anyone who sustained injuries in the accident. You also must report serious accidents to law enforcement.
Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
Under Florida Statute 327.30, any boater involved in a collision must stop their boat or other watercraft like jet skis immediately following an accident and remain on the scene. The only exception to this is if staying in place would endanger their ownwell-being, the safety of their passengers, or their vessel. If there is some reason why you might be in danger following an accident, remain as close to the scene as possible while ensuring your own safety.
At the same time, this statute also requires you to render aid to anyone injured or in the water following the accident. This may include pulling them out of the water, helping to stop bleeding, or stabilizing other injuries until first responders can arrive.
You Must Report Serious Accidents to Authorities
Under Florida law, all vessel operators must report a serious boat or watercraft accident as quickly as possible. This requires you to consider the best way to report the incident based on your location and the situation. A serious boating accident includes:
- The death of an involved party; or
- The disappearance of someone involved; or
- An injury that requires medical attention; or
- Damage to a boat, another vessel, or other property likely to cost $2,000 or more
Reporting a Florida Boating Accident
When you report a South Florida boating accident, you should report it to authorities as soon after it happens as possible. The authorities who can respond to this type of accident include:
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; or
- The local sheriff’s department; or
- The local police department
In some cases, it is difficult to determine the county or municipality when you are on the water. You can reach the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement by dialing *FWC from your cell phone anywhere in Florida. You can also report an accident to their police at 1-888-404-3922.
Failure to report a serious boating accident or render aid to injured victims are both crimes under Florida Statute 327.30. If you do not report an accident and remain on the scene to render aid, you could face charges that include a felony of the third degree.
If you fail to report an accident or leave the scene of a boating accident, even if it only resulted in property damages, this is illegal. Charges may include a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Exchange Information Even in Minor Accidents
While you do not need to contact authorities for minor accidents that result in property damages under $2,000, you should exchange information with the owner of the other vessel or owner of the damaged property. Ask for and provide:
- Name, address, and phone number
- The identifying number of all vessels involved
If you hit an unattended boat or other property, you must take “all reasonable steps” to find the owner to give them the necessary information. Failure to do so may result in accusations that you left the scene of an accident and lead to charges.
Pursuing Compensation Following a South Florida Boating Accident
If you sustained injuries or property damages in a South Florida boating accident, you may be eligible to pursue compensation from the at-fault boat operator.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar& Levine, our team offers free case reviews and can explain your rights and help you explore your legal options. Let us evaluate your case today. We can answer your questions and address your concerns while building a strong case on your behalf.
We can investigate your accident, identify the liable party, and pursue damages that may include:
- Medical care costs
- Ongoing care costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damages
- Other related expenses
- Pain and suffering
You can reach a member of our South Florida team today by calling our Fort Lauderdale office at 1-800-747-3733. Let us get started on your case right away