Many residents of Florida and tourists to the state are interested in sailing and other similar activities. However, whether you are booking a boat tour or going scuba diving, you should be aware of the inherent risks of the activity you are performing. If your boat captain or other crew members act negligently, this could cause a customer to be involved in a serious accident. If you or a family member was injured in a boating accident in Florida and are concerned about the statute of limitations for the potential case, you should speak with an experienced Miami boat accident lawyer as soon as possible. At Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., we are committed to providing our clients with aggressive legal representation to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our firm is here to explain the statute of limitations for boating accident lawsuits in Florida.
How Does the Statute of Limitations for Boating Accident Lawsuits Work in Florida?
Boating trips offer a memorable experience, whether you are a resident of Florida or you are visiting the state. When boarding a ship, you expect that the captain of the boat and the crew members will act responsibly and ensure that all safety precautions are upheld. However, if the captain or a member of the crew acts negligently, you or a family member could be seriously injured
If you were injured while on a boating trip, you will obviously be concerned about seeking damages from the person or company responsible for your injuries. One of the most important factors that you should consider when considering a boating accident lawsuit is the statute of limitations for your potential case.
The statute of limitations is a law that places a typically strict time limit on how long a potential plaintiff has to file a particular lawsuit with a court of law. Note, however, that the statute of limitations only affects the amount of time a person has to begin their lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is timely filed with a court of law, there are no limits for how long it can be litigated. Every state has statutes of limitations laws which are not uniform across all states. This means that it is likely that multiple states will not share the same statute of limitations deadline for a personal injury case.
Additionally, it is possible that the statute of limitations is subject to change depending on the circumstances of the victim’s case. For example, a victim that wishes to file a breach of contract lawsuit may have a longer filing deadline than a victim that wishes to file a personal injury lawsuit.
To avoid the possibility of missing your filing deadline, it would be best to contact an experienced Miami boat accident attorney that is familiar with the statute of limitations laws for the state.
To know more about when you need to file a boating accident lawsuit in Florida, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Florida Keys boat accident attorney as soon as possible.
Where Your Florida Boating Accident Happened Impacts When You Have to File a Lawsuit
The first thing to understand is that Florida has a statute of limitations that governs when you must file a personal injury claim arising from the negligent or intentional conduct of another person or company. However, unlike a car accident or other incident, where a boating accident occurs will determine when you must file a lawsuit. It is essential to speak with an experienced Miami maritime attorney to determine how much time you have to file a lawsuit.
Boating Accidents that Occur Within Florida’s Borders
Florida state law will apply to court cases that result from boat accidents that happen within the state’s borders. State waters are usually defined as sharing no border with another state, such as a lake. If your injuries were the result of an accident that occurred on Florida waters, you have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Boating Accidents that Happen On Shared Waterways
Many private maritime and nautical disputes are governed by federal admiralty law. Admiralty law is comprised of both domestic and international regulations and governs many disputes between private individuals and companies that operate ships and boats in the Florida area.
Admiralty law will apply when an accident occurs in a waterway that shares its boundaries with about state, including many rivers, bays, lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, which is shared by many states. The statute of limitations in federal lawsuits is less than the state statute allowing a plaintiff only three years to file the case.
Cruise Ship Accidents
Cruise ship injuries are very different. If you were hurt aboard a cruise ship, then the statute of limitations is usually one year, and in some situations, it could be as short as six months. Additionally, when you travel aboard a cruise ship, you agree to a contract when you purchased your ticket that could contain further restrictions. It is vital to talk with our cruise ship accident attorney to ensure you understand your rights and the deadlines you are facing.
Wrongful Deaths Arising from a Boating Accident
In some situations, a boating accident results in fatal injuries or drowning. These types of claims, known as wrongful death claims, are separate from ordinary personal injury lawsuits and are governed by a different law. In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of the death and, under certain circumstances, it could be only eighteen months.
When to File a Boating Accident Lawsuit in Florida
Boating accident lawsuits would fall under the umbrella of a personal injury claim. In Florida, a victim of a boating accident must file their personal injury lawsuit within four years of the date of the injury to avoid violating the statute of limitations.
If you miss the filing deadline by even a few days, you will be unable to litigate your case at all. The defendant in the case can request that the court dismiss the lawsuit entirely, which will eliminate all your legal options to obtain compensation from the defendant. That is why it is important to avoid making assumptions about your filing deadline and seek the aid of an experienced Florida lawyer for boat accidents. Our firm will ensure that your case is timely filed with the appropriate court of law.
Do Not Wait to File a Lawsuit After a Boating Accident
If you were hurt in a Florida boating accident caused by the negligent or intentional behavior of another party, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your injuries. As stated above, the time you have to file a lawsuit will depend heavily upon the accident’s circumstances and the governing law. No matter how or where your injury occurred, contacting our experienced Florida maritime attorney is one of the first things you should do.
Prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit depends on proving another party caused your injury. The way to prove negligence in a court of law is through evidence, including physical evidence, photographs, accident reports, medical records, and witness testimony. Much of the best available evidence is gathered as soon or shortly after an accident occurs. Waiting months or years usually means that vital evidence is lost, witnesses cannot be located, or their memories are faded and inconsistent. In any personal injury lawsuit, it is advisable to begin building your case as soon as possible.
The added problem in boating accidents is knowing what statute of limitation applies. Without understanding how your accident’s circumstances affect the applicable law, you could easily miss an important deadline. Statutes of limitations are not suggested guidelines. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the deadline has passed, a court will quickly dismiss your case.
Extension of Statute of Limitations
It is also important to note that although the statute of limitations is a strict deadline, there are some circumstances that may allow you to extend your filing deadline. Here are some circumstances that may extend your statute of limitations deadline for boating accident lawsuits in Florida:
- You did not experience symptoms of your injury until a later date after the boating accident
- The defendant attempts to avoid service of process for the boating accident lawsuit or the defendant flees the state
- The victim is incapacitated and cannot pursue a boating accident lawsuit
- The victim of the boating accident is a minor
Please do not assume that you have the ability to delay the filing deadline for your boating accident case. As mentioned, an incorrect guess about your filing deadline will mean that you cannot recover damages for your injuries.
Work with Our Experienced Florida Boating Accident Attorney to Discuss the Statute of Limitations for Your Case
If you were severely injured in a boating accident in Florida and you are unsure about the filing deadline for your case, contact an experienced Intracoastal Waterway boat accident and Florida dive boat scuba drowning accident lawyer immediately. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., possess a wealth of experience litigating a variety of cases, and we are here to stand with you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential personal injury case, contact Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., at (866) 386-1762. You may also use our online submission form to schedule your consultation.