Whether it is in bordering Lake Apopka or any of Florida’s many other navigable waterways, boating is a common and widely enjoyed pastime for residents of Winter Garden. Unfortunately, an idyllic day on the water can quickly turn disastrous if someone else around you acts in a careless or reckless way—something far too many Floridians learn every single year.
A boating accident can make for complex grounds for civil litigation, and having help from a personal injury attorney is important if you want to have the best possible chance of success. If you are dealing with injuries caused by the negligence of another boater, a rental company, or a boat manufacturer, a Winter Garden boat accident lawyer could assist you with pursuing a fair financial settlement.
Just like motor vehicle drivers on public roads, boat operators in Florida’s navigable waterways have a legal “duty” to act responsibly and lawfully at all times. The exact nature of this duty can change a bit depending on the circumstances, but in general all boaters are required to obey local rules regarding safe navigation, watch out for other vessels and swimmers near their own boats, and generally react in reasonable ways to anything unexpected they encounter.
If a boat operator collides with another vessel or causes another type of accident by exceeding a local speed limit, boating while drunk, or just losing focus at exactly the wrong moment, they have violated their “duty” as described above. If that breach is the direct and primary cause of any physical injury, the boater in question is legally “negligent.” Negligence is the basis for just about every successful personal injury lawsuit in Florida.
In much the same way, a rental company could be considered negligent—and therefore liable for an ensuing incident and its consequences—if they knowingly rented a boat without a waiver to someone unqualified to operate it. Similarly, a manufacturer could bear liability for a defect in a boat that they made which directly caused an accident on the water. A Winter Garden boat injury attorney could play a key role in identifying who holds fault for a specific incident and take action accordingly.
Importantly, people who get hurt in boat accidents and want to file suit over their injuries may miss out on much-needed compensation if a court finds them partially responsible for causing their own damages. An example of this could be operating a vessel too quickly for the local speed limits. If an injured plaintiff was themselves negligent in a way that directly contributed to causing their accident, Florida Statutes § 768.81 allows a court to proportionately reduce their damage award’s value based on their share of overall fault for the incident.
Additionally, Fla. Stat. § 95.11 sets a four-year filing deadline for most personal injury cases, with the filing period usually beginning on the date an accident occurred. Guidance from a lawyer can be helpful when it comes to understanding and overcoming these procedural obstacles after a Winter Garden boat accident.
In many respects, boat accidents over water can be even more dangerous than auto accidents on land, even at comparatively low speeds. For this reason and many others, utilizing your legal right to pursue compensation after an incident like this could be vital to protecting your best interests.
Getting representation from a capable Winter Garden boat accident lawyer should be the top priority for anyone injured in this way. Call The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense and Injury Attorneys today for a consultation.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys