Fishing is one of the largest attractions for vacationers and leisure-seekers in the State of Florida. Unfortunately, all boating excursions, including fishing expeditions, can become dangerous, particularly if one of the parties responsible for ensuring your safety behaves negligently or recklessly. When this happens, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party to recover damages from your injury.
Depending on the nature of the accident and the negligence that caused it, you may be able to name the boat operator, owner, rental company, manufacturer, other boat operators, or others in your lawsuit. When more than one party is liable, you may be able to name multiple defendants in your lawsuit.
The experienced Florida boat injury attorneys and Florida yacht accident lawyer at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. know what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve for your hired fishing boat accident injuries. Get a free case assessment when you place your initial call to our offices at (305) 204-5369.
Can You Sue Someone If You Get Injured on a Hired Fishing Boat in Florida?
Florida law allows you to take action against the person, company, or other entity responsible for negligently causing your injuries. To win a lawsuit for injuries suffered on a hired fishing boat, you must demonstrate that the defendant failed to satisfy the duty of care that they owed to you. You must also show that this failure was the actual cause of the accident that injured you. A Ft. Lauderdale boating accident lawyer can help with this.
When Can a Hired Fishing Boat Operator Be Held Liable in Florida?
When an accident happens on a chartered vessel in Florida, the party that is most commonly liable for the damages is the boat operator. Operators owe a number of legal duties, not only to their passengers, but also to other boat owners and passengers on the open seas. Below is a summary of the duties that boat operators must meet in order to avoid liability.
- Reasonably provide for safety of passengers
- Undertake sufficient training for safe vessel operation
- Refrain from operating the vessel while intoxicated
- Refrain from other reckless activities while operating the vessel
- Follow all boating laws and guidelines that apply to where they are operating
- Possess the adequate amount of safety and survival gear on board the vessel for emergency situations (e.g., life preserves or emergency rafts)
Boat operators may still be liable even if another party’s recklessness was the cause of the accident. For instance, if the boat operator let someone else without requisite experience pilot the vessel and that person acted recklessly behind the wheel and caused a collision or capsizing event, the operator would be liable under the legal doctrine of negligent entrustment. Your Jacksonville boat accident lawyers and Miami yacht accident lawyer can help connect what happened to their negligent actions.
When Can a Hired Fishing Boat Owner Be Held Liable in Florida?
Boat owners owe legal duties as well, especially when they know (or reasonably should know) that others will be using the vessel. This is true even when they are not on board, which is critical to know if your injury occurred on a chartered boat without an employee captain on board.
Chartering fishing boats for private use is a common practice in Florida. Groups of friends or families may rent the use of a vessel and designate a captain among the group for the duration of the experience. However, the owner who rented out the vessel still has legal obligations to ensure that the vessel is operated legally and working properly.
If the owner of the vessel did not check to make sure that the designated captain of a chartered vessel had the requisite boating licensure necessary for legal operation, they will likely be liable for any recklessness or negligence on the captain’s part. If the owner fails to repair safety hazards such as weak handrails or uneven floorboards that cause injury to a passenger, the owner is also liable for the damages associated with that injury. Even in the case of some hazards that cannot be helped, such as particularly slippery patches on the deck, owners still have a legal responsibility to warn the passengers, either verbally or with clear signage.
Who Else May Be Liable for a Hired Fishing Boat Accident Injury in Florida?
There are other instances where liability might not be as easy to identify. If you aren’t sure who to name in your lawsuit, our Florida boat accident lawyers may have the answers that you are seeking. You may also name more than one defendant in your lawsuit if liability is unclear.
Boat owners or operators may pass liability to the rental company if they contractually agreed that the rental company would be responsible for housing the vessel and fixing any maintenance problems. The boat manufacturer may be liable if the cause of the accident was related to a manufacturing defect. Other passengers may also be liable if they caused the accident by acting in such a reckless manner that the operator was unable to prevent the harm. If the harbor that you dock in is not properly maintained, your case may be against the owner of the facility. If channels are not marked correctly, the government body responsible for inspection and maintenance of the waterways may be liable.
Collisions are a particularly complicated area in boating liability. To identify who was at fault for causing the boat collision, you will have to take into account the regulations in the waters where the collision occurred. You could potentially have a lawsuit against the person piloting your vessel, the person piloting the other vessel, or both, if each shared some contributory fault.
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. Can Help You Identify Who Is Liable for Your Hired Fishing Boat Injuries in Florida
Our diligent Miami boat injury attorneys are waiting for your call. Get a free initial case assessment from Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. by calling (305) 204-5369 today.