Knowing what to do after a boating accident can help you get emergency rescue services faster, get medical treatment faster, and help secure the information you need to later file an insurance claim or lawsuit for injuries and boat damage. The Florida boating accident lawyer at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. have been handling boat accident cases for decades, and we are here to explain what steps to take after a boat accident to keep yourself and your passengers safe while protecting your potential right to sue.
Steps to Take After a Boating Accident in Florida
Quick action is sometimes necessary after a boating accident. If people are in danger, emergency services might be necessary to help get everyone safe. Sometimes, getting to a hospital quickly is vital to your care. All the while, keeping an eye on the future of your accident case can help set you up for success in a lawsuit. Because of these factors, our Pensacola boating injury lawyers suggest taking the following steps after a boat accident:
Call Emergency Services
Calling 9-1-1 is one of the first things to do after any sort of accident or emergency. Especially if people are in danger and need assistance from the Coast Guard or other local emergency patrols, calling 9-1-1 is usually the best way to get them there. If you don’t have a phone but can radio for help, that works too.
If no one on your boat happens to have a phone with them, see if anyone on the other boat can call for help. If no one can, you may have to leave the area where the accident happened in order to get help, but this is not recommended if you have serious injuries or a damaged vessel.
Especially if the accident happened at night, flare guns and other distress notifications are designed for this kind of situation. Use them if you have them, especially if someone’s life or safety might depend on it.
Take Pictures of the Accident
If you have a camera available, take pictures of the accident scene if you can. Seeing how two boats collided or how your boat struck a stationary object can help show the jury the extent of the injuries and potentially give them information they need to decide who is at fault. Often, taking pictures of the accident right after it happened will be less important, and taking pictures of the damage and injuries later could be okay. However, you should still get as much documentation and proof as you can regarding what happened and what damages resulted.
Get Medical Help
Once you leave the scene of the accident, you may not be able to go back and take pictures or gather information later, as the vessels will have been moved and any debris or damaged parts may have floated away, sunk, or been cleaned up. However, the chance to get medical treatment for injuries is always more important than the chance to collect evidence. If you were injured, contact emergency services and get the medical attention you need, even if that means being evacuated by helicopter or boat. Any delay in seeking medical attention could result in worsened conditions – and sometimes the delay is longer than expected when you need to get from the water to the nearest hospital.
Ask for Information from Others
If you were involved in an accident involving two or more boats or your boat crashed into a stationary object, you need to get the information of the other people and property owners involved in the accident. If you were the driver of a boat that was hit, it is important to know who owns the boat who hit you and who was operating it so that you can later hold them responsible for the damages you faced. If you were a passenger, it is important to know who was driving the boat and who they work for, especially if you were injured in a ferry accident, a party boat accident, or some other kind of accident.
If you work on a commercial boat, such as a fishing boat or shipping barge, you may have forms for your employer to fill out that detail who everyone involved in the accident was and what vessels were involved. If you were injured at work in an accident with another boat, you could be entitled to sue the operator who hit you (or the company they work for) with the the help of our attorneys.
How to Handle the Aftermath of Boating Accidents in Florida
Boating accidents can be stressful, and everyone’s tensions may be high after an accident. Often, adrenaline will mask mild or even severe injuries, potentially leading you to think you are in a better state than you are. You could also be angry at the operator who caused the accident, especially if you suffered injuries because of their negligence.
It is important to remember that others are feeling the same way. Call for the police or the Coast Guard and allow them to handle any potentially drunk or belligerent individuals. Trust in the EMTs and other emergency responders who may have a better idea about how severe your injuries are since. After that, trust in a Miami boating accident lawyer rather than trying to fight for compensation on your own without the experience and training to fight insurance companies and negligent boat operators.
If You Were in a Boating Accident in Florida, Our Attorneys Can Help
While the first call you make after a boating accident should be 9-1-1, soon after, you should call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (866) 386-1762. Our Miami boating accident attorneys are available for free legal consultations to help victims understand their options after a boating accident and work to help victims get the compensation they need.