With perfect boating weather most of the year and its location right on the Gulf, many Largo residents spend a lot of time boating. The lure of being out on the water is strong, but boating can be hazardous.
A Largo boat accident lawyer represents people who suffered injuries while boating. When you are hurt while on the water, and the accident is not your fault, a seasoned injury attorney at Distasio Law Firm could help you seek compensation for your pain, inconvenience, and emotional trauma.
Recreational Boating Accidents Often Arise from Negligent Operation
Florida Statutes § 327.395 does not require operators to have a boating license if they were born before 1988. This exemption applies to a large percentage of the state’s population and visitors. Thus, many people legally operate vessels in local waters without sufficient training and experience, which can lead to tragedy.
Most boat accidents result from negligence by the operator, the boat’s owner, or the operator of another vessel. Injuries and even death could occur when the:
- Boat approaches a dock too fast
- Boat collides with another vessel
- Vessel hits an underwater obstruction
- Boat creates a wake that swamps another vessel
- Vessel operator does not have enough life jackets
- Piece of stowed equipment comes loose and hits someone
- Sailboat passenger or crew member does not avoid a swinging boom
- Boat operator fails to keep a sharp lookout and collides with a swimmer, diver, jet ski operator, or another vessel
Alcohol and drug use is also a factor in many water vessel collisions in Florida.
A proactive Largo boat accident attorney could investigate by speaking with witnesses and reviewing official reports. Additionally, they could examine the vessel, analyze the damage, and obtain maintenance records. Sometimes other boaters or passengers have video of the incident that could provide insight. When a skilled legal professional uncovers evidence of negligence, they could file suit against the negligent party to hold them financially accountable.
Personal Watercraft Crashes Are Frequent and Often Serious
Many severe injuries and deaths in the local waters occur due to accidents involving personal watercraft (PWC), often called jet skis or wave runners. Local hotels and shops often rent these vehicles to tourists who have little understanding of sea conditions and minimal training, if any, in the safe operation of PWC.
Inexperienced or unskilled operators might drive too fast or fail to adjust to rough water. They sometimes drive their PWCs too close to swimmers and strike them. PWCs swamp easily, and an operator who does not know how to avoid a boat’s wake could capsize. Passengers are especially prone to be thrown off the machines and sometimes drown. Collisions between PWC and boats are especially deadly to riders.
Although operator error often contributes to PWC accidents, when representing an injured PWC driver, an experienced boat accident lawyer in Largo could identify others who might be liable. The law allows a negligent person to collect adjusted damages from other negligent parties. For example, a concessionaire renting a machine to an inexperienced operator could be liable based on negligent entrustment theory. Negligent entrustment would also apply if the concessionaire rented to an inebriated person. In addition, the machine’s owner could be responsible if inadequate maintenance had a role in the accident. Sometimes, the hotel or resort that contracts with the concessionaire could also bear responsibility.
Process for Bringing a Boat Accident Claim
When you are in a boat accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Go to the emergency room or urgent care center or see your doctor even if you think you are okay. Many traumatic injuries do not present symptoms immediately, but a medical professional will know what to look for and what questions to ask. Getting immediate treatment protects your health, and the medical record generated at this appointment is critical evidence supporting an injury claim.
Engage a knowledgeable Largo boat injury attorney, such as Scott Distasio, soon after the incident. When a capable legal professional reviews evidence shortly after the fact, they have a better opportunity to identify parties whose negligence might have contributed to the accident. In addition, having representation means that insurance companies for liable parties cannot contact you directly. Directing them to your attorney relieves you of one post-accident burden and prevents an inadvertent admission.
When you have received the necessary medical treatment and can calculate your losses reliably, your lawyer will send a demand for damages to the responsible parties and their insurance companies. Negotiations begin and often conclude shortly thereafter with a satisfactory settlement. However, when a negligent party refuses to take responsibility for the harm they caused, a dedicated legal professional from our firm will meet them in court and let a jury decide how much you should receive for your injuries.
Contact a Largo Boat Accident Attorney for Help Pursuing a Claim
Water vessel collision cases can get complicated and often implicate multiple parties. Do not try to handle a claim without experienced legal counsel.
A Largo boat accident lawyer at Distasio Law Firm could investigate the incident, identify the responsible parties, and hold them accountable. Speak with a local advocate about your situation today.