Bradenton Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating, jet skiing and other watersports are popular pastimes in Bradenton, and the weekends are often full of revelers on boats from the Manatee River to the Gulf of Mexico, from Palma Sola Bay to Tampa Bay. As a recreational activity, many boaters don’t give a second thought to loading up their vessel with beer, despite the fact they will be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle capable of reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour, and much more depending on the boat. Even sober people without any training or experience might rent a boat and take it out on the water, or experienced boaters might drive carelessly or recklessly.
Boating can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Hundreds of boating accidents occur in Florida every year, most of them involving boat-on-boat collisions. Other leading causes of injury include collisions with fixed objects, falls overboard and drowning, slipping or tripping on deck, or getting struck by loose objects. Around ten percent of boat accidents end in death, which is a very high figure compared to auto accidents. Short of dying, boat accident victims face serious injuries including paralysis, head injuries, lacerations and broken bones.
Boat owners and operators owe a duty to their passengers and others on the water to act with reasonable care. When boat operators fail to exercise care, they can and should be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by their negligence. Bradenton boat accident lawyer Don Cahall moves swiftly and aggressively to hold responsible parties liable and recover significant compensation to help boat accident victims with their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other legal damages. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Bradenton, Florida, come get justice. Call Cahall.
Causes of Boat Accidents in Bradenton
Here are some of the main acts of negligence that lead to boating accidents in Bradenton:
- Not looking
- Too many passengers onboard
- Too much gear onboard
- Gear is unsecured or improperly stowed
- Distraction, inattention
- Reckless maneuvers
- Failure to yield
- Lack of working or sufficient safety equipment on board (life jackets, fire extinguishers, radio)
Operators of Jet Skis, Waverunners, Sea-Doos and other personal watercraft (PWC) also risk injury from going too fast, inexperience, or making risky maneuvers such as wake-crossing. Operators and their passengers also risk injury from PWC sold with product defects, including manufacturing or design defects. These vehicles are often rented by the hour, and rental companies can be liable for negligent maintenance of the craft or renting to inexperienced riders without the bare minimum in reasonable safety instruction.
Anyone Can Drive a Boat in Florida
Even though boats can travel crowded waters at high speeds equivalent to what one might find on the road, and despite the danger of severe injury or death from a boat crash, Florida does not issue operator licenses or require boaters to demonstrate any type of skill or proficiency before getting behind the wheel. Florida does not even have a minimum age in the law that a person must reach before being allowed to drive a boat. The closest thing Florida has to a license is an ID card required of anyone born after 1998 to drive a boat of 10 horsepower or more. To get this card, one must complete an approved boater safety course which is usually taken online. Once obtained, the ID card is good for life. People who buy a boat have 90 days to get their ID card and can lawfully operate the boat in the meantime. Plus, anyone required to have a boater ID card can still drive without one so long as they are accompanied by another person who is at least 18 years old and has a card.
The vast majority of Florida boat accidents involve people with no formal boater education.
Boaters Must Stop and Render Aid After a Boat Accident in Bradenton
After a boating accident, Florida law requires the boater to stop at the scene if safe to do so and render assistance to the injured party. The parties should also exchange contact information with each other. If the accident involved more than $2,000 in property damage or any injury that needed more than First Aid, the boater should report the accident to the Bradenton police, the Manatee County sheriff or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Help is Available After Boating Accidents in Bradenton
If you need help recovering compensation from a negligent boater, rental company or product manufacturer after a boating accident in Bradenton, call The Cahall Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your claims and options for a full and fair financial recovery for your injuries and damages.