Naples Boat Accident Lawyer
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), more vessels are registered in Florida than anywhere else in the country – 985,005 in 2020. There were also 836 reportable boating accidents that year, resulting in 79 fatalities and 534 injuries. That’s more than double the number of boating accidents in California, which has far fewer vessels.
The sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico beckon residents and tourists alike to venture out into the waters around Naples and Marco Island, but not all of them have safety foremost on their minds. Of the 67 counties in Florida, Collier County ranked number eight in experiencing the most boating accidents.
When boating accidents aren’t fatal, they cause injuries from cuts and bruises to head injuries, back injuries, broken bones and internal injuries. But there isn’t anything inherently dangerous about boating; accidents only happen when boat operators, passengers, and people in the water are careless. Speeding, drinking and boating, distraction and inattention, operator inexperience, and reckless passenger behaviors are the main reasons boat accidents happen. When they do, Cardinal Law is here to help.
The Naples boat accident lawyers at Cardinal law serve accident victims in Bonita Springs, Estero, and all the coastal waters in Southwest Florida. We put in the time and attention on every case to help our clients get compensation for the full value of their personal injury claims. Clients come first at Cardinal Law, and everything we do is geared toward making sure you are taken care of and that we get results. If you or a family member were injured in a boating accident in Naples or Southwest Florida, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal boating accident caused by another’s negligence, call Cardinal Law for immediate assistance.
Florida Boating Accident Laws
You don’t need any kind of operator’s license to drive a boat in Florida, and there’s no minimum age required either. People born in 1998 or later must take a boater safety course which is offered online, but nothing else is required in the way of age, competence or skill to drive a boat. It’s no wonder so many boating accidents get chalked up to operator inexperience.
Florida boating laws and regulations do have some requirements about what to do after a boating accident that are similar to what automobile drivers must do after a crash. Boat operators must stop at the scene, render aid, and call the authorities. It is unlawful to leave the scene without giving all possible aid and reporting the accident.
Boaters must exchange information with each other, including their names, addresses and boat ID numbers. They must also report the accident “by the quickest means possible” to either the FFWCC Law Enforcement Division, the county sheriff, or the local police department after any accident involving death or disappearance, an injury that needs more than First Aid, or one that involves $2,000 or more in property damage. Reporting the accident is necessary to comply with the law and also to establish a record of the incident, which can help you when you need to file an insurance claim.
How Cardinal Law Can Help After a Naples Boating Accident
Boating accidents can be a lot more complex than car accidents when it comes to figuring out how the accident happened and who was at fault. Often there are multiple parties who might share in the liability for the crash, and it’s important to bring them all into the claim or lawsuit to maximize compensation for your damages. Parties liable for boating accidents can include, for example:
- The driver of the boat
- The boat operator’s employer
- The owner of the boat
- A tour company that arranged the trip
- The resort that sold the fishing or diving package or other excursion
- The manufacturer of the vessel
- The mechanic or company responsible for maintaining the vessel in good working condition
When reporting the accident to an insurance company or the company you deem responsible, it’s important not to sign anything, accept any payments or make any recorded statements without talking to a lawyer first. Otherwise, you could end up waiving your rights or damaging your case. If you call Cardinal Law first, we can take care of a lot of that communication for you so you can focus on getting your health back and putting your life back in order after a devastating or terrifying crash has turned it upside-down.
Our first concern after a boating accident is making sure you get proper medical care and securing your rights and ability to make a claim. We’ll investigate the accident and consult with experts as needed in the fields of medicine, engineering and accident reconstruction to build a strong case that proves the responsible parties’ liability to you for the full amount of the damages you have suffered. We know how financially and emotionally draining a serious boating accident can be, and our job is to make you whole again to the furthest extent possible.
Get the Experienced Legal Help You Need After a Serious Naples Boating Accident
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a boating accident in Naples or Southwest Florida, or if you lost a beloved family member in a fatal boating accident caused by another party’s negligence, call Cardinal Law at 239-610-0845 for a free consultation. We don’t charge any fee until after we win your case.