With over a thousand miles of beautiful coastlines, Florida is a hugely popular place for boating and diving recreation. However, the open standards regulating charter boat rentals in Florida can result in devasting injuries and even prove fatal.
A Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyer can be helpful when these accidents occur. Both federal and state laws are in place to govern a person’s conduct on the water, but it can be incredibly confusing for a layperson to determine which laws apply to their case. Charter boats are also rented for a variety of recreational purposes. This means that many parties could be potentially responsible for causing a charter boat accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a charter boat accident, our Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyers can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. For your free case review, contact Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369.
Understanding Florida Charter Boat Accident and Injury Regulations
What laws and regulations apply to your charter boat accident will depend on the body of water the accident occurred on. Most charter boat accidents in Florida fall under federal maritime and admiralty law instead of state law.
Maritime and admiralty laws regulate water bodies and waterways used for interstate and foreign commerce. For instance, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are federal waterways. However, lawsuits for accidents in federal waters must be filed in a Florida federal court. This means that the attorney handling your case will need the proper credentials in order to practice in Florida’s federal court. Further, attorneys are usually required to hold additional certification to litigate maritime cases if a charter boat accident case falls under federal maritime law.
It is, of course, possible for your charter boat accident to occur on a state waterway. State bodies of water are confined completely within the state without touching the borders of another state. For example, Lake Okeechobee would be considered a body of state water. Charter boat accidents on state waters can usually be filed in a Florida state court. Our Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyers can review your case to help determine which laws apply and the proper venue to file your lawsuit.
Common Reasons Charter Boats are Rented in Florida
Countless types of boats are chartered every day in Florida. Some people rent boats to operate on their own. Others rent boats staffed with full crews, allowing the passengers to enjoy themselves. The following are the most common activities that charter boat companies offer in Florida:
- Fishing trips
- Scuba diving
- Ferrying services
Charter boat companies might also rent out smaller crafts like jet skis and skiffs. There are many ways accidents can occur on the water, depending on the activity. Many of the services that charter boat companies offer require special training and certification, such as scuba diving. Our Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyers can help you hold the charter boat company responsible for the injuries they cause.
Common Causes of Florida Charter Boat Accidents and Injuries
Victims of charter boat accidents can suffer a wide range of injuries. Most people charter boats for entertainment purposes and are not typically familiar with being on the water. This can lead to devastating and long-term injuries. The following are the most common causes of charter boat accidents and injuries in Florida:
- Colliding with another vessel
- Collision with a fixed object
- Distracted boat operator
- Fuel fire or explosion
- Striking underwater objects
- Falls overboard
- Navigational errors
- Obstructed vision
- Slip and falls onboard a vessel
- Wake force
Our Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyers can help you regardless of how your charter boat accident happened.
Who Can Be Held Liable After a Florida Charter Boat Accident and Injury
Several parties could potentially be held liable for your injuries, depending on the reasons for charting your boat. Boats are complex vehicles. Thus, many parties are typically responsible for the safe operation of a charter boat.
Charter Boat Operator
You will likely look to the boat’s operator first for liability after being injured on a charter boat. Just like car drivers, boat operators are required to follow the law and ensure the boat is operating in a safe condition. When boat operators act carelessly, they can cause catastrophic injuries or even death.
Charter Boat Owner
If the charter boat involved in an accident is not owned by the operator but by another individual, the boat owner could be held accountable. Boat owners are responsible for properly inspecting and maintaining their vessels. They could also be held liable if they allowed a negligent operator to drive their charter boat.
Charter Boat Company
Charter boat companies can also be held liable in many cases. For instance, charter boat companies can be held responsible for renting boats that are not operating properly or do contain the required safety equipment. They can also be held accountable for the negligence of their employees if the accident occurred while performing their job. For example, a charter boat company can be sued if an accident happens because their operator was under the influence of alcohol while out with a group of customers.
Other Third Parties
There could be many other parties that share the blame for your injuries, depending on what recreational activities you were engaged in when the accident occurred. For instance, another passenger might have injured you, or a scuba instructor could fail to give proper directions before diving. Our Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyers can help you determine who is liable for your charter boat injuries.
Our Florida Charter Boat Accident and Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured while chartering a boat, our knowledgeable Florida charter boat accident and injury lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. can help you hold the parties responsible for your injuries accountable. Call us today at (305) 204-5369 for a free case review.