A civil lawsuit often follows a boat accident. At first glance, the type of case you are dealing with seems obvious. You may immediately think you have a personal injury case on your hands. Perhaps you will focus on the defendant’s negligence. However, boating accidents can become very complicated because you might be dealing with multiple areas of law.
It is not uncommon for boat accidents to fall under maritime or admiralty law in Florida. Maritime law tends to be more of a niche subject area with which many skilled attorneys are unfamiliar. Even if maritime law is not involved, boating accidents often require a certain level of boating knowledge that some attorneys might not have. If you need to refer a boat accident case, please contact our Florida boating accident attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. Call (866) 386-1762 to discuss your referral.
When You Should Refer a Boat Accident Case in Florida
You should consider referring a case to another attorney when it becomes clear that you do not have the skills or knowledge necessary to take on a particular case. The law is an extremely vast body of knowledge and a single person cannot be expected to be a master of every legal subject area. Maybe you accepted the case because it seemed like a straightforward personal injury lawsuit. If you no longer think you can handle a boating accident case, get in touch with our Florida boating accident lawyers for a referral.
Boating accidents are frequently tried as personal injury cases and the issue of negligence comes up often. However, to effectively try a boating accident case, you need at least a base-level knowledge of boating. Determining negligence will be difficult if you do not understand the proper way to operate a boat. Our Florida boating accident attorneys are very knowledgeable in all things boating and boat-related.
Complicated Boat Accidents in Florida
Boating accidents, like many other types of accidents, may overlap with multiple areas of law. Many boating accident cases will involve personal injury claims and allegations of negligence, but these cases can become complicated when specific boating knowledge is required.
For example, a personal injury case often requires a showing of the defendant’s negligence. If you do not understand how to operate a boat safely and properly, proving negligence will be very challenging. Negligence can be generally defined as doing something in a way that is out of line with normal or standard practices. To prove that a defendant was operating their boat in a negligent manner, you first need to understand how they should have been operating the boat in the first place. This usually requires somewhat extensive boating knowledge that many attorneys do not have.
Boating knowledge that might be required in order to represent a client injured in a boating accident includes the skills needed to drive a boat and how those skills change under specific conditions. Operating a boat on calm waters will look very different from running a boat in stormy weather. The proof required for negligence may change under each circumstance. Our Florida boating accident lawyers know the ins and outs of boating and can effectively represent a boating accident case.
Referrals for Boat Accidents Under Maritime Law in Florida
Boating accidents can become even more complex when maritime law is involved. In many boating accident cases, the ordinary state law of Florida might not apply. Instead, a body of law known as maritime law or admiralty law may kick in, depending on the circumstances.
Maritime law may be in effect when a boat accident occurs on navigable waterways. While the courts have been known to differ on their precise definition of “navigable waterway,” the term generally refers to any body of water used for interstate or foreign commerce. This definition also includes bodies of water that may not be presently used for such commerce but could be.
For the most part, this will likely include larger bodies of water that are more frequently trafficked. Smaller bodies of water that are less conducive to trade and commerce may not be considered navigable waterways for maritime law purposes. Additionally, the nature of the boating accident must have some sort of connection to traditional maritime activities. This would include most boating accidents on the water but might not include accidents on docked boats or accidents in marinas.
Maritime law is considered a body of federal law, not state law. If you are unfamiliar with maritime law, you should seriously consider referring a boating accident case to an attorney more knowledgeable in the subject. Our Florida boating accident attorneys are experienced in maritime law and can take on a boating accident referral.
Fee Sharing for a Boating Accident Referral in Florida
Referral of a boating accident case in Florida will follow standard rules for fee sharing or the division of fees between attorneys. According to Rule 4-1.5(g) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, if the total fee charged to the client is reasonable, attorneys may split fees in one of two ways. First, attorneys can split fees in proportion to the services each provided the client. Second, the attorneys can agree to take on joint legal responsibility, each being available to the client. Fees can be split in a manner agreed upon by the attorneys and the client and must be in writing.
If the fee is a contingency fee, Rule 4-1.5(f)(4)(D) states that whoever is the primary attorney must receive at least 75% of the overall fee while the other attorney receives no more than 25%. You can discuss potential fee sharing with our Florida boating accident lawyers.
Contact Our Florida Boating Accident Lawyer for a Referral
If your client was injured in a boating accident, but the case now seems to require knowledge and skills you do not have, consider referring the case to one of our skilled attorneys. You can refer the matter to our Florida boating accident lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. Call (866) 386-1762 to talk to our staff about a potential referral.