People from all over the country spend their vacations on Florida’s beautiful beaches and sail across our pristine waters. However, operating boats on the ocean or other waterways is not a free-for-all. There may not be any marked lanes, red lights, or stop signs like on the highway, but there are still rules to follow. In the event of a collision or accident, boat operators usually exchange insurance information. Unfortunately, some people may refuse to hand over their information, making it difficult to cover the costs of any necessary repairs to your boat. Please keep reading to learn more about what to do after a boat accident in which the other driver refuses to provide their insurance information. Reach out to Florida boat accident lawyers and Florida yacht accident lawyer at the Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. for any additional guidance.
Boat Insurance Requirements in Florida
Believe it or not, boat insurance is not legally required in Florida. You can own and operate a boat without insurance if you choose to. Bear in mind that this applies mostly to boats intended for personal use. If you operate a boat as part of a business, there may be insurance requirements.
It is possible that after a boat accident, the other boat operator does not provide you with their insurance information because they do not have any. Many people find this a little unnerving. If the law requires insurance to operate a motor vehicle, it only makes sense this requirement extends to boats. For better or worse, boats do not need to have insurance.
However, a person may be required to have insurance on their boat for reasons besides legal ones. For example, if someone takes out a loan to buy a boat, the terms of that loan will probably include insurance requirements.
Why Would Someone Withhold Their Insurance Information After a Boat Accident in Florida?
After an accident, the next logical step is to exchange insurance information with the other person. That is what insurance is for, after all, to cover you in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, some people think they can weasel their way out of responsibility by keeping quiet about insurance. They might be thinking you can’t make them pay if you don’t know who their insurance provider is. This tends to backfire as they may end up being sued personally by a maritime accident lawyer or Port of Miami accident and injury lawyer when they could have just used their insurance.
Other people refuse to hand over insurance information because they have none. While it is not a good idea to operate a boat without insurance, it is not legally required in the State of Florida. However, boat owners might be required to pay everything out of their own pocket if they do not have any insurance coverage. This could cause them to withhold their information in the hopes you give up on trying to get compensation.
Suing the Other Boat Operator After an Accident in Florida
Suppose another boat operator refuses to give you their insurance information after a boat accident. In that case, you will probably have to file an insurance claim with your own insurance if you have any. This may seem unfair if the other boat operator is at fault for the accident. Once your own insurance covers your expenses, it is time to go after the other boat operator.
When the other person does not hand over the necessary information, a lawsuit might be necessary. The best-case scenario would be that initiating a lawsuit, or even merely threatening to take legal action, puts some pressure on our opponent. The prospect of a legal battle over the boat accident might make them a bit more willing to share their insurance information. If that’s the case, we can hopefully settle the matter out of court. If not, you will need the help of an experienced Tampa boat accident lawyer.
Do I Have to Go to Court If Someone Refuses to Give their Insurance Information After a Boat Accident in Florida?
When someone refuses to give their insurance information after a boat accident, our goal should be to get that information if it exists. If we are unable to get that information, or perhaps the other person is uninsured, then we may have to take them to court. At this point, our case is about proving they were at fault for your injuries.
Proving liability for a boat accident requires proving the other boat operator was negligent. Showing negligence requires that we establish duty, breach, causation, and damages. All four of these elements must be present if we are to be successful.
Duty refers to the obligation owed by the other boat operator. Someone who operates a boat owes a general duty to everyone around them to operate it safely. This includes being observant of other people on the water and avoiding reckless behavior. All boat operators must also operate their boats within the rules, regulations, and laws pertaining to boats and watercraft.
A breach occurs when someone violates a duty of care. In the event of a boating accident, the breach would be a violation of the obligation to operate a boat in a safe manner. A breach may be evident in the reckless way someone drives the boat or by a violation of boating rules and regulations. A breach does not need to be intentional. It can be accidental or due to carelessness.
Causation refers to the link between the boating accident and your injuries. Essentially, your injuries must have come from the accident and not some other independent source. If you were negligent during the accident, even just a little, this might be used to negate causation.
Damages are your injuries from the accident. We must show that your injuries, including damage to your boat, are real and not theoretical. We cannot sue for damages that might have been, only for actual injuries.
Contact Our Attorneys for Boating Incidents for a Legal Consultation
If you have been injured in a boating accident and the other driver refused to give you their insurance information, you should immediately speak with our Miami yacht accident lawyer and Miami boat accident attorney. We can work to get your injuries and damages covered by the responsible party. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (866) 386-1762. Ask our staff about scheduling a free and confidential legal consultation.