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Jacksonville Boating Accident Lawyer

Boat Accident Attorneys in Jacksonville, FL

Florida has great weather and beautiful waterways that attract tens of thousands of recreational boaters, jet skiers, anglers and wave runner operators to the water every week. Although there are many laws that govern safe boating on our lakes, rivers, intracoastal waterways and offshore, hundreds of watercraft accidents, injuries and deaths occur each year.

According to data compiled from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 67 people were killed and 431 seriously injured in the 742 boating accidents that were reported on the state’s waterways in 2011.

If you were harmed in a boating accident in Florida, call 904-309-6500  to speak with us about your legal rights.

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What Our Firm Can Do For You

At Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys, our Jacksonville boat accident lawyers have vast experience in representing personal injury victims and litigating the most complex accident lawsuits. To obtain a recovery for damages, it is most important to determine the cause of a boating accident as well as the extent of liability. Unique maritime laws inherent to boating accidents often complicate the approach to a successful lawsuit.

Our trial attorneys understand all aspects of personal watercraft cases and represent victims for a variety of causes that can include:

  • Aggressive or reckless driving. Boat operators have the same duty of care as motor vehicle drivers when it comes to operating their vehicles responsibly. Reckless boat operation can easily lead to a serious injury, and the boat operator will bear liability for the victim’s damages.
  • Boating under the influence. Florida’s laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs apply to boats the same as to motor vehicles on land. If a boat operator causes a boating accident because they were intoxicated, they face criminal charges for DUI and civil liability for the victim’s damages.
  • Improperly trained boat operator. You must only attempt to operate a watercraft if you possess the requisite training and experience to do so safely. If you were to cause an accident due to your inexperience, the fact that you weren’t entirely sure what you were doing would not absolve you of liability for the incident.
  • Operating at high speed. Florida waterways have many indicators posted at launch points and other popular boating locations that show the speed limits for boaters in the area. Many waterways in Florida are also “no wake” zones, meaning boaters are not allowed to go fast enough to produce a wake behind their vessels.
  • Collisions with other watercraft. All boat operators must be aware of their surroundings at all times. If a boat hits another watercraft, determining liability will follow a process similar to how drivers determine fault for a motor vehicle accident.
  • Overloading the vessel. Every watercraft has listed weight limits, and it is vital to heed these warnings carefully. Overloading any watercraft potentially endangers everyone onboard. The party responsible for neglecting the boat’s weight limits could face liability for damages to multiple victims.
  • Defective safety equipment. Boat owners and operators are responsible for ensuring all safety equipment onboard is functional before every outing. Flare guns, fire extinguishers, life jackets for each passenger, and first aid supplies are just a few pieces of safety equipment that need to be checked before every launch. If crucial safety equipment malfunctions or isn’t available when needed most, everyone on the boat could face serious injuries.
  • Defective watercraft design or manufacturing. If a product manufacturer’s defective or unreasonably dangerous design results in a boating accident, the victim has the right to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

Ultimately, boating accidents happen for numerous reasons, many of which are unpredictable. The determining factor as to whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim following a boat accident is if another party directly caused the incident. Boating accident claims typically pertain to acts of negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.

It’s understandable for the victim of a boating accident to have numerous difficult legal questions after this experience. However, the sooner you secure legal representation from a trustworthy Jacksonville boating attorney, the sooner you can begin working toward recovering your losses. Take advantage of a free case evaluation to learn more about your case and your rights. Call Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys at 904-309-6500 today!

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Lack of Boating Laws in Florida

Unfortunately, Florida has very few requirements for boating instruction, and many boaters find themselves at the helm of very fast, nimble personal watercraft without any specialized knowledge. Personal responsibility is paramount when avoiding liability for a boating accident. If you are unsure whether you possess the requisite experience and ability to handle a watercraft of any kind safely, or if you have recently consumed alcohol or drugs and feel inebriated to any extent, it is always best to refrain from operating the vehicle, so you do not absorb liability for a boating accident.

In their eagerness to have fun, some boaters underestimate the dangers of watercraft as compared to operating their car or truck. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding of nautical rules and safety requirements coupled with limited skills can lead to tragic consequences. If you believe any other party’s negligence or misconduct while handling a watercraft resulted in your injuries, a Jacksonville boating accident attorney can help you ensure accountability for the responsible party and secure compensation for your damages.

Recovering Compensation For Serious Boat Injuries in Jacksonville, FL

Boating accidents may not be as common as car accidents, but they are often more damaging because of the inherent risks of spending too much time on the water. Many boating accidents result in severe injuries, including burns, injuries from overexposure to the sun, and drowning-related injuries in extreme cases.

The state of Florida acknowledges how popular boating is to residents and visitors of the state and has gone to great lengths to make Florida’s waterways as safe as possible. Yet, hundreds of serious accidents occur every year on Florida waterways. Since boaters in a personal watercraft accident have much less protection than those in a car, victims can be faced with major medical expenses for compound fractures, traumatic brain injuries, disfiguring lacerations or spinal cord injuries.

Operators, passengers and the occupants of the other vessel who were injured due to a boater’s negligence or unreasonable actions may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, as well as the pain and suffering related to the accident. While the average person may be able to calculate recognizable losses like hospital bills and vehicle repair costs, they may have grounds to claim more extensive compensation. Your Jacksonville boating accident attorney can assist you in securing compensation for immediate and future losses resulting from your boating accident.

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Comparative Fault in Florida Personal Injury Cases

If you believe you have grounds for a personal injury claim against the person responsible for your recent boating accident, it is important to consider whether you may bear any level of fault for the incident. Florida enforces a pure comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff found partially responsible for the personal injury will lose a portion of their case award to reflect this. For example, if you are 10% at fault in a $200,000 claim, you lose 10% of the award, receiving $180,000 instead.

It’s relatively common for defendants in personal injury cases to allege comparative fault in their efforts to reduce their own liability. If you have any concerns about being found partially to blame for a boating accident, you must speak with an attorney as quickly as possible. A good lawyer will help you secure any contradictory evidence you may need to counteract the defendant’s claim of comparative fault.

What to Expect From a Jacksonville Boating Accident Attorney

When you choose Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys to represent you, you will have decades of professional legal counsel behind your claim and readily accessible legal advice when you need it most. Our team routinely assists clients in the Jacksonville area and surrounding communities with their personal injury claims, including those pertaining to boating accidents.

You could face a very complex insurance dispute following a boat accident, or you may have trouble discerning liability. Some victims are not able to fully assess the scope of their injuries until much later after their accidents, complicating their paths to recovery. Ultimately, no two boating accident claims are exactly alike, and you need an attorney capable of delivering the individualized counsel your case demands. Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys will work diligently to uncover every channel of compensation available to you and guide you through your case proceedings as efficiently as possible. Our goal is maximum recovery for every client we represent.

Contact A Jacksonville Boat Accident Lawyer Today!

In order to quickly resolve your claim and recover compensation for damages, your case should be investigated to its full potential and liability must be clearly established.

If you’ve been injured or have had a family member die in a boat or another watercraft accident, contact Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys to discuss the details of your case. Our Jacksonville boating accident attorneys have the skills and resources to fight on your behalf and help you obtain a fair settlement for compensation of your injuries.

Call our team today at 904-309-6500 for your free consultation.