Florida Attorney for Boat Accidents Caused by Unmarked Hazards
Hazards on the water can come in many forms. While some hazards might be marked, many are unseen and pose a significant danger to boats and passengers. Passengers onboard can suffer devastating injuries if a boat operator fails to recognize and avoid unmarked hazards.
Holding a boat operator liable for causing an accident with an unmarked hazard can be challenging. An experienced boat accident attorney can analyze your case for facts that indicate a boat operator failed to identify and avoid an unmarked hazard. However, before filing your lawsuit, it is important to determine which jurisdiction the boat accident occurred in as it will impact the court where you file your lawsuit and important deadlines for filing your claim.
If you were injured in a boat accident caused by an unmarked hazard, our experienced boat accident attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. can help you decide if a lawsuit is right for your case. Call us today at (305) 204-5369 for a free case evaluation.
Common Types of Unmarked Hazards that Can Cause Boat Accidents
There are numerous dangers in the water that boat operators need to recognize and be ready to avoid. Some hazards are marked, but many are not so obvious and might lurk just under the surface. A boat operator also needs to appreciate the overall boating environment as the water and weather can present hazards that can cause serious or even fatal injuries. The following are the most common types of unmarked hazards that could cause a boat accident:
Submerged objects can be particularly dangerous to a careless or inexperienced boat operator not keeping a sharp lookout. Objects like rocks, fallen trees, construction debris, and other objects can severely damage a boat and injure passengers onboard. Water levels can change quickly, and a boat operator not using a fathometer or depth finder should slow down to decrease the chances of a catastrophic accident. A speeding boat that hits a submerged object is very likely to throw passengers.
It might be surprising to learn that many dams are small and unmarked. A boat operator must be aware of changing currents that indicate a dam is nearby and take measures to avoid it, like dropping anchor. A boat operator could also spot a dam if they see a horizontal line cutting across the water downriver. However, a boat operator should be aware of the locations of dams in the waterway they are on before taking their boat out.
Large bodies of water, like oceans and large lakes, have an added danger because of the waves the wind creates. The greater the wind, the bigger the waves. Waves can build in size and momentum very quickly. Smaller boats can be capsized if the wave is powerful enough. Boat operators must be aware of how the waves are behaving and take appropriate safety measures when waters become too choppy.
Currents present a powerful unmarked hazard. Boat operators that do not respect the power of currents can cause serious accidents. A boat operator should anchor a boat in a strong current from the bow of the boat to prevent flooding and possible capsizing.
The weather has a massive impact on the behavior of a body of water and can change in an instant. Boat operators are responsible for checking the local forecast before launching and should stay alert for changes. Even without official reports, a boat operator should use reasonable judgment when they see clouds building and feel the temperature dropping.
Other boaters are also an unexpected hazard that presents significant dangers to even the most responsible boat operators. Boat operators should be alert for other vessels and take defensive or evasive measures to avoid an accident with another boat. Our boat accident attorneys are here to help no matter what unmarked hazard caused your boat accident.
Where to File Your Lawsuit for a Boat Accident Caused by an Unmarked Hazard
Bodies of water are divided into different jurisdictions depending on certain waterway characteristics. If a body of water adjoins more than one state, like the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, and the Pacific Ocean, it is under federal jurisdiction. You will typically need to file your boat accident lawsuit in a federal court where federal law would apply if the accident occurred in a federal waterway.
A body of water is considered in the jurisdiction of a state if the waterway is completely within that state. If your accident occurred in a state waterway, your lawsuit would usually be filed in the appropriate state court. Our boat accident attorneys can help you determine what jurisdiction your boat accident occurred in so that your lawsuit is filed correctly.
Deadline to File Your Unmarked Hazard Boat Accident Lawsuit
The deadline to file your boat accident lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. The federal government and states each have their own statute of limitations, so identifying what jurisdiction your accident happened in early will be crucial. If the deadline is missed, your case will be dismissed and can longer be litigated. The rule is strict and has very few exceptions.
If your accident occurred in a federal body of water, you would have four years to file your lawsuit in the proper federal courthouse. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, so the law must be researched to determine what your state requires. But typically, states’ deadlines can range from two to four years. Our boat accident attorneys can help you make sure that important deadlines are met regardless of which jurisdiction your accident occurred in.
Our Attorneys for Boat Accidents Caused by Unmarked Hazards Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident caused by an unmarked hazard, our boat accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. today at (305) 204-5369 for a free case review.