Jacksonville Boat Accident Lawyer

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    Jacksonville Boat Accident Lawyer

    When victims are hurt in boat accidents in Jacksonville, filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for their injuries can allow them to recover the compensatory damages they deserve.

    Boat accidents in Jacksonville must be reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) and the police. Reporting your accident will result in documentation of its possible cause, your injuries, and other damages, which is why it is so important. The FFWCC releases report regarding boat accident causes, injuries, and fatalities annually, giving boaters and passengers a clearer idea of the likelihood that such an accident will occur and what types of injuries might come as a result. After an accident happens, getting medical attention and beginning an investigation immediately is crucial. This can allow you to start building evidence, like medical evidence, to use in your claim. Make sure you file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations in Jacksonville, which is two years, so that you give your case the best chances of success.

    To discuss your case for free with our Jacksonville boat accident lawyers, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. now at (305) 204-5369.

    Boat Accident Reporting Requirements in Jacksonville

    When boat accidents happen, regardless of the property damage or severity of injuries to victims, it is important to alert the proper authorities to document the incident thoroughly should any of the victims require compensatory damages in Jacksonville.

    First, boat accidents should be reported to the police. You can call for help using your cellphone or boating radio. From there, you can explain to the police what happened, why you were injured, and your immediate injuries. Officers will likely create an incident report that our boat accident lawyers can use when building out your case.

    In addition to informing local law enforcement of a boat accident, victims must also report incidents to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Reports must be made in writing any time a person dies, disappears, or is injured during a boat accident, according to Fla. Stat. § 327.301(1). Reports must also be made if boating accidents result in at least $2,000 in property damage.

    While victims need only report boat accidents to two agencies, others, like the medical professionals at the nearest hospital, should be made aware of victims’ injuries. Depending on the type of boat accident that took place, a victim might have anoxic brain injuries from a lack of oxygen, a traumatic head injury from falling overboard, or a broken bone from slipping and falling on the deck. Regardless, medical attention is crucial following boat accidents in Jacksonville, not only for the health of victims but also for the success of their future claims.

    Causes of Boat Accidents in Jacksonville

    There are various types of boat accidents that might cause injury to passengers in Jacksonville. If a boat capsizes, passengers might fall overboard and sustain head injuries. If two vessels collide with one another, even more serious injuries might occur.

    Boating is a popular recreational pastime in places like Jacksonville. While you cannot legally operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that does not mean that boat operators always heed such safety guidance. Based on information provided in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2022 Boating Accident Statistical Report, alcohol or drug use was the cause of 13% of fatalities.

    When it comes to boat accident injuries in 2022, 192 injuries were caused by an impact with a boat, 87 were caused by an impact with a fixed object, and 25 were caused by an impact with the water.

    Also according to the FFWCC, the majority of boat accident fatalities happened when vessels were cruising. Furthermore, the primary cause of death for 64% of fatality victims was drowning, followed by trauma.

    Even the most experienced boaters might behave negligently, leading to accidents and injuries to passengers. While the majority of boat accidents in Florida in 2022 involved operators with no boater education, 31% did involve operators with boater education, reaffirming the point that, just because an operator is experienced, does not mean they are immune to causing accidents in Jacksonville.

    The FFWCC also reported that Florida led all 50 states in boat accident fatalities. There were 63 reported boat accident fatalities in the state in 2022, 18 of which were caused by falls overboard.

    Most Common Boat Accident Injuries in Jacksonville

    Each year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission releases a statically report, detailing the various boating accidents that happened throughout the state over the past year, including the most commonly reported injuries.

    According to the FFWCC’s 2022 Boating Accident Statistical Report, 58% of victims hurt in boat accidents were passengers, 42% were boat operators, and about 1% were swimmers. Furthermore, the majority of victims were not wearing personal flotation devices at the time of their accidents.

    Lacerations were the most common injuries reported to the FFWCC in 2022, followed by contusions, broken bones, head injuries, back injuries, and burns. While less common, cases of neck injuries, spinal injuries, shock, amputation, and hypothermia occurred from boat accidents in Florida in 2022.

    While it is mandatory to report boat accidents that result in injuries in Jacksonville, not all incidents get reported to law enforcement or the FFWCC.

    Investigating Boat Accidents in Jacksonville

    Because some evidence might be lost in the chaos of a boat accident, investigating these cases can be challenging in Jacksonville.

    We can begin by referring to the incident report for your boat accident completed by law enforcement. Although this document may not be admissible evidence in your case, our attorneys can review it to learn the basic facts of your accident, facts that you might have a hard time recounting because of your injuries.

    Based on the incident report filed by police, we can learn the location of the accident, the date and time of the accident, contributing causes to the accident, the identities of involved parties, the identities of eyewitnesses, and much more information.

    If eyewitnesses did see your accident take place, whether they saw the entire event or just a portion of it, getting statements from them will be important. Because memories can fade as time passes, our lawyers will be determined to speak with eyewitnesses as soon as possible following a boat accident in Jacksonville.

    Our investigation might churn up additional evidence as well, such as surveillance footage from the vessel or a nearby vessel. Depending on the source of such footage, we might have to subpoena it.

    If you are able, you can start building evidence yourself after your incident. Start by photographing your injuries, if you can, and getting emergency medical attention. Any claim brought for injury must be backed by solid medical evidence.

    Medical Treatment for Boat Accident Victims in Jacksonville

    Since medical evidence will likely be very important to the success of your boat accident case in Jacksonville, building it should be one of your top priorities. Medical evidence is some of the only evidence victims can control themselves by getting the proper treatment for their injuries.

    The first type of care you should receive is emergency medical care. Do not wave off first responders at the accident scene. As much might be noted in the police report for your boat accident, giving the defendant more room to contest your claim. Go straight from the incident location to the hospital. Delaying care for even a few hours, let alone days, might put your access to recovery in jeopardy.

    Then there is the long-term specialized care you may require. Depending on your injuries, you might need multiple surgeries, to engage in physical therapy, receive various treatments, or take expensive prescription medications. Certain injuries might require involvement from specialists, like neurologists for drowning injuries, to ensure victims receive the necessary care to heal.

    There is no one timeline for physical recovery following boat accidents. Victims might need long-term medical treatment for many years to come. This means there may be medical costs you have yet to incur and will not incur during the course of your claim. Because of this, our boat accident lawyers might enlist experts who can provide statements explaining the likelihood of your full physical recovery and any future treatment you are likely to need. This can help you recover compensation for medical expenses and treatment that do not yet exist.

    Litigating Boat Accidents Claims in Jacksonville

    When preparing for boat accident lawsuits in Jacksonville, victims should begin by determining who is at fault for their injuries. From there, they must aim to file claims within the statute of limitations.

    We will begin by confirming who exactly is to blame for the boat accident that caused you injury. If you were injured on a recreational boat, did the operator act negligently? Were they operating the boat under the influence of alcohol when it crashed and you got hurt? Did they fail to have the proper number of personal flotation devices on board? Or, if you were hurt on a commercial boat, was it because a staff member acted with intentional malice and assaulted you? We must determine who is ultimately at fault for your injuries so that we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.

    Doing this quickly is important as boat accident claims must be filed within two years of an incident occurring in Jacksonville, according to Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(a). This comes as a relatively recent change to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida.

    Furthermore, if you were hurt while on a cruise or other commercial vessel, not a recreational boat, there might be a section within your passenger ticket stipulating when and where injury claims must be filed. It might be a different jurisdiction than you anticipated, reducing the statute of limitations in your case and making it harder for you to file.

    Because boat accidents can be so devastating, defendants, especially commercial boating companies and cruise companies, might want to settle out of court instead of going to trial. Ensuring that all boat accident settlements are appropriate before accepting them is important. If you accept a settlement offer, you will be unable to proceed with a lawsuit, even if you realize you require greater damages in Jacksonville.

    Types of Boat Accident Settlements in Jacksonville

    Once your claim has concluded, and you have been awarded damages in Jacksonville, you will either receive them through a lump sum or structured settlement.

    Structured settlements are more common. With structured settlements, defendants pay a portion of the damages they owe to victims monthly. Over time, they end up paying the full amount. While a structured settlement might seem less than ideal initially, it can make recovering compensation less overwhelming for victims and ensure they properly allocate funds to pay off previous and upcoming medical bills or other expenses related to their injuries.

    Victims often envision that they will receive lump sum settlements when they file boat accident claims in Jacksonville. With lump sum settlements, the entire awarded amount is paid to the victim after the claim concludes. Lump sum settlements tend to be rarer, as defendants do not always have the financial ability to fully compensate a victim immediately after a case ends. With structured settlements, you will eventually receive the full amount you are entitled to, just over time.

    Your compensation does not diminish based on the type of payment plan prescribed to the defendant. You will still get all damages awarded to you for economic and non-economic damages. Our lawyers will submit evidence of a defendant’s fault and proof of your damages to ensure you are awarded all you deserve. Because of this, it will be important to keep all documents pertaining to your losses, financial or otherwise.

    Call Our Jacksonville Attorneys About Your Recent Boat Accident

    You can call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369 to get a free case assessment from our boat accident lawyers today.

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