The City of Pensacola is a popular location for tourists and residents of the state to engage in boating activities. However, the operator of a boat on an excursion should ensure that the boat is safe for all passengers. If a passenger is injured in an accident caused by the boat operator, they could have a valid personal injury claim against them. If you or a family member was injured in a boating accident in Pensacola, you should consult with an experienced Pensacola boating accident lawyer as soon as possible.
At Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., our skilled legal team has extensive experience litigating boating accident cases, and we could help you fight for the compensation you are owed. We know that a boating accident can be traumatizing for a victim, and we believe that you should not have to bear the burden of a negligent boat operator’s mistakes.
To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your potential lawsuit, contact our Pensacola boating accident lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., by calling (305) 204-5369. You could also contact our attorneys online to schedule your free case review.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Pensacola, FL
Boating excursions are often a great experience for family and friends that wish to enjoy an adventure on the ocean. However, a boating trip can quickly go wrong for a variety of reasons. The following is a list of common causes of boating accidents in Pensacola that could lead to a personal injury lawsuit.
Exceeding Speed Limit
It is the obligation of a boat operator to ensure that they remain within the posted speed limits. When a boat captain exceeds the posted speed limits, there is a high risk that passengers could be injured in the process. For example, the increased speed could cause the passengers to be violently jostled into hard surfaces or into each other. In some cases, a passenger could even be thrown from the deck, which could be a serious issue if they cannot swim, or they were not wearing a life jacket.
Alcohol-Related Boat Accidents
It is illegal for a boat operator to navigate while they are intoxicated. Specifically, a boat operator cannot have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher while driving a boat. Exceeding this BAC could make the pilot highly unpredictable, which could lead to collisions with other boats or a failure to notice obstacles in the ocean.
Additionally, if the operator of the boat is serving alcohol to passengers, it is important to monitor the amount of alcohol given to each passenger. An overly intoxicated passenger could cause a serious accident that could injure other passengers.
Inadequate Training and Lack of Experience
Inadequate training and a lack of experience among boat operators can contribute to boating accidents in Pensacola. When operators do not possess the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate Florida waters safely, they may make critical errors in judgment and maneuvering. This lack of preparedness can result in harmful collisions and accidents, posing risks to passengers and other boaters on the water. Fortunately, our Pensacola boat accident attorneys can help victims of such accidents bring claims against at-fault parties.
Failure to Adhere to Navigational Rules and Regulations
Failure to adhere to navigational rules and regulations established in Florida can be a factor in boating accidents. These rules encompass guidelines for right-of-way, speed limits in designated areas, and proper signaling. When boaters neglect to follow these rules, their actions can lead to collisions and accidents, endangering the safety of those on the water.
Equipment Failure and Improper Maintenance
Equipment failure and inadequate maintenance of boats can also contribute to accidents on the water. Boat owners and operators are responsible for ensuring that their vessels are in proper working order and regularly serviced. Neglecting these responsibilities can result in mechanical failures that lead to accidents, putting passengers and others at risk of harm.
Lack of Proper Safety Equipment
The absence or poor maintenance of essential safety equipment on board boats can create hazardous conditions. Florida mandates specific safety equipment, including life jackets, fire extinguishers, and distress signals, to be readily available. When these requirements are not met, accidents may result in more severe injuries and damage as passengers lack the necessary safeguards to protect themselves in emergencies.
Negligent Hiring of Boat Personnel
Negligent hiring of boat personnel can also contribute to accidents on the water. If boat owners fail to conduct thorough background checks or ensure their crew members possess the required qualifications, it can lead to accidents caused by crew incompetence or misconduct. These situations can endanger the safety of passengers and others involved in boating activities.
Overloading and Improper Weight Distribution
Overloading a boat or distributing weight improperly can be a source of boating accidents in Pensacola. When a boat carries more passengers or cargo than its safe capacity allows, or when weight is unevenly distributed, it can lead to instability and accidents. Such situations can result in harm to passengers and damage to the vessel.
Inattentiveness and Distracted Boating
Inattentiveness and distractions while operating a boat are significant contributors to accidents on the water. When boat operators become engrossed in activities like texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in non-essential tasks while navigating, their lack of focus can lead to accidents. These accidents can cause injuries and damage to both passengers and the boat.
Inadequate Lookout and Supervision
Inadequate lookout and supervision on a boat can create risky circumstances. Boat operators are responsible for maintaining a proper lookout and supervising passengers, especially during water sports or other activities. Accidents can occur when operators fail to remain vigilant or when they do not provide adequate supervision, resulting in potential harm to passengers and others involved.
Negligence regarding weather conditions can also play a significant role in boating accidents. When boat operators do not adequately consider or respond to adverse weather conditions, accidents can happen. This may involve insufficient preparation for changing weather, failure to monitor weather forecasts, or making reckless decisions during inclement weather. Such negligence can lead to accidents causing harm to those on board and damage to the vessel.
Reasons to Hire a Pensacola Boating Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a boating accident in Pensacola, Florida, you could personally begin working on a boating accident lawsuit against the party that caused your injuries. However, there are many benefits to hiring an experienced Florida boating accident lawyer to help you litigate your potential case.
One reason to hire a Pensacola boating accident lawyer is that they will understand how the laws work pertaining to your case. Boating incidents that occur on public waterways are often subject to maritime laws. This means that instead of applying state laws to your boating accident case, your case may have to adhere to federal laws. If you are not familiar with maritime law, a simple mistake could be costly to your potential lawsuit.
Another reason to hire a boating accident attorney is that litigating an injury case could be highly time-consuming. You will need to gather evidence for your case, handle discovery matters, and file a variety of documents. This could be a lot to manage for a person that could be recovering after a serious boating accident. Our firm understands the burden set upon victims of boating accidents, and we would be pleased to help you with your case.
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., welcome the chance to further discuss why we would be a great fit for your boating accident case. We are invested in providing our clients with the legal representation they deserve.
Common Injuries Caused by Boating Accidents in Pensacola
Boating accidents can produce many different types of debilitating and painful injuries. Fortunately, if you suffered any of the following as a result of your crash, then our Pensacola boating accident lawyers can explain your options for pursuing financial compensation:
Broken bones are a common type of injury resulting from boating accidents. They can occur when passengers are thrown or jolted during a collision, grounding, or capsizing. The impact with the boat’s structure or other objects can lead to fractures. Treatment options for broken bones may include casting, splinting, or in severe cases, surgical intervention to set the bone properly. Physical therapy may be necessary for rehabilitation.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be particularly devastating in boating accidents, often resulting from high-impact collisions or falls. These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, affecting a person’s mobility and sensation. Treatment options vary depending on the severity but may include surgery, physical therapy, and assistive devices like wheelchairs to help manage the effects of the injury.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Boating accidents can also cause traumatic brain injuries when passengers are thrown against hard surfaces or objects during their collisions. These injuries can range from concussions to severe brain damage. Treatment for traumatic brain injuries may involve surgery, medication, and extensive rehabilitation to address cognitive and physical impairments.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage includes injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can occur due to sudden movements or impacts during boating accidents. Treatment options typically involve rest, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery to repair severe soft tissue injuries.
Internal injuries may result from the blunt force trauma of a boating accident. These injuries can involve damage to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Immediate medical attention is crucial, and treatment may involve surgery to repair or remove damaged organs, along with post-operative care and monitoring.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement can occur when passengers are exposed to sharp objects or suffer burns during a boating accident. These injuries can have both physical and psychological consequences. Treatment may include scar revision surgery and counseling to address emotional distress.
Burn injuries can result from fires, explosions, or contact with hot surfaces during a boating accident. The severity of burns can vary, and treatment may involve wound care, skin grafts, and reconstructive surgery to restore appearance and function.
Psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and emotional trauma, can affect boating accident victims. Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event on the water can lead to long-lasting psychological distress. Treatment options for psychological injuries may include therapy, counseling, and medication to manage symptoms and improve mental well-being.
Evaluating Settlement Offers in Pensacola Boating Accident Lawsuits
If you file a boating accident case in Pensacola, the defendant will likely attempt to settle your claim before going to trial. If you enter into a settlement agreement, then the defendant will pay you a certain sum of damages in exchange for the dismissal of your case. There are advantages to settling before trial. For instance, by settling early, you may acquire payment more quickly. You may also avoid some of the costs associated with litigating your case.
However, many defendants attempt to settle their boating accident claims for less than they are worth. If an appropriate offer is not presented, then you will have to go to trial to obtain the full extent of monetary damages you are owed. Thankfully, our experienced legal team can help evaluate any settlement offers made in your case.
Consult with Our Experienced Pensacola Boating Accident Attorneys Today
If you were a victim of a boating accident in Pensacola, you should work with a committed Pensacola boating accident attorney today. At Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., we welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your legal options in a boating accident claim.
To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation for your case, contact our Pensacola boating accident lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., by calling (305) 204-5369. Your free consultation could also be scheduled online.