Florida is home to many boats and boaters, and it is also one of the number one places for boating accidents in the country. Many tourists rent speed boats and jet skis, and local fishers, ferry operators, and other boaters end up having to share the waters with these inexperienced boaters. While you may be a responsible boater with insurance, the boater that hit you might not be. If the boater who hit you doesn’t have insurance, what can you do after an accident? The Florida boating injury lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind discuss.
Do Boaters Need Insurance in Florida?
Florida doesn’t actually have any laws that require all boaters to carry insurance. While car insurance is absolutely required for all drivers across the state, boaters do not have the same requirement. This means that if you are hit by a boater, they might not have insurance, and you will often need to find another way to get compensated for your injuries and property damage.
If the operator does not have boaters insurance, other insurance that they carry might still cover damages they cause in an accident. Talk to a lawyer for help understanding what kinds of insurance claims are available to you.
Can I File a Claim with My Own Boaters Insurance in Florida?
If you do carry insurance, you might be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if the boater who hit you doesn’t have insurance. Insurance is designed to cover injuries after a crash, and that usually happens in two different ways:
- Victims can file third-party claims against the insurance company of the boater who hit them to get damages and injuries covered.
- Policyholders can file first-party claims against their own boaters insurance to cover their needs after an accident.
If you were responsible for the crash, then your insurance will probably be the insurance that covers the accident anyway. If you were not at fault but the boater who hit you doesn’t have any insurance, you could still be entitled to a claim with your own insurance to help cover damages.
If your insurance has first-party benefits, these can often help cover damage caused by accidents, weather, and other sources. There may also be coverage for injured boaters and passengers included in that coverage – but it is important to check your policy.
One thing that is important to understand about using your own insurance is that premiums might go up depending on how the insurance company sees the case and the question of fault. There may also be deductibles that you need to pay before your insurance will start covering you, meaning that you might have out-of-pocket expenses even if someone else was responsible for the crash.
Can I Sue if the Boat that Hit Me Doesn’t Carry Insurance in Florida?
Boaters who cause accidents open themselves to liability. “Liability” is legal fault and functions like the civil law version of “guilt” in criminal law: someone who is liable for an accident is the person who has to pay damages to the injured parties. We would normally say that this person was “at fault” for the crash, or that it was their “responsibility,” and courts can back that up with a legal ruling against the operator that includes an order to pay damages to the victims.
To prove that a boater was liable for an accident, you need to prove that they did something legally wrong. Accidents that are simply “freak accidents” might not allow you to file a lawsuit, and insurance could be the best way to get your injuries and property damage covered. If the other boater was operating under the influence, speeding, failing to pay attention, or doing something else dangerous when the accident occurred, courts can typically hold them liable and get you the damages you need because of their legally recognized mistake.
When filing a lawsuit for a boating accident, it is important to work with a Miami personal injury lawyer. The question of liability and negligence can be difficult to understand, especially when it comes to the complexities of trials. Boating accident cases in Florida are also handled under a different set of laws called “maritime law,” and attorneys who want to practice maritime law usually need a separate certification to hold themselves out as maritime lawyers. It is important to look for a Florida maritime injury lawyer when you need help with a boating accident in Florida.
Who Pays Damages in a Boating Accident Without Insurance?
In most injury cases, the at-fault party will pay damages. Once the court finds them liable, the judge and jury will also issue a decision that states how much the defendant owes the victim in damages. The numbers used in this calculation will be based on the evidence both sides present, and juries typically start their calculation by looking at the damages the victim claims.
The law allows you to claim any damages related to your accident. That means that if the other boater damaged your boat, you can include the repair costs in your case. You can similarly claim any medical bills related to the injuries you faced in the accident. If you couldn’t work because of the injuries or recovery period, you can also be compensated for the effect the accident had on your wages and earnings. Other damages, such as pain and suffering, can also be claimed.
Talk to a Hialeah personal injury lawyer for help calculating damages in your case and understanding who pays these damages.
Call for a Free Legal Consultation with Our Florida Boating Accident Lawyers
The Miami boating accident lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind fight for the rights of injured boating accident victims. For help taking your case to court and getting compensation from a boater who doesn’t have insurance, call us today. We offer free legal consultations on new cases. Call us at (866) 386-1762 right away to schedule your free consultation.