Miami Boat Accident Attorney, Florida
Legal help when you or a loved one are injured on a boat in Florida
The Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Coast, Gold Coast, Panhandle, Biscayne Bay, Palm Bay, Apalachicola Bay, Choctawhatchee Bay, East Bay, Escambia Bay, Estero Bay, Florida Bay, Pensacola Bay, Ponce de Leon Bay, Sarasota Bay, St. Andrews Bay, Tampa Bay, Whitewater Bay, Inter-Coastal Waterway, canals, lakes, and rivers in Florida offer countless opportunities for recreational boating.
As a result, more yacht and boating accidents occur in Florida every year than in any other state. If you have been seriously injured in a boating accident, the Florida attorneys at Hickey Law Firm are here to help. Led by an attorney who is double board-certified by The Florida Bar in Civil Trial and Admiralty and Maritime law, our team has vast experience in this complex area of law, and we are nationally recognized for our successful settlements and trial verdicts.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- What kinds of Florida boat accident cases does your law firm handle?
- What are the causes of Florida boating accidents?
- What types of injuries happen from boat accidents?
- Does your Florida law firm handle diving accidents?
- What is the Limitation of Liability Act 1851?
- What is the value of my Florida boat accident case?
- Do you have a boat accident lawyer near me?
What kinds of Florida boat accident cases does your law firm handle?
The attorneys at Hickey Law Firm have significant experience handling commercial boating accidents. These include accidents involving crew and passengers, and may be brought about by equipment failure, inadequate maintenance, poor vessel design, and any number of other factors. Commercial vessels may include cruise ships, tankers, barges, and vessels used for similar purposes.
Accidents don’t just occur on commercial vessels, however. According to the United States Coast Guard (USCG), recreational vessels account for the largest number of serious and fatal injuries every year. The USCG reports that in 2020, there were “5,265 accidents that involved 767 deaths, 3,191 injuries and approximately $62.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.”
Our Florida injury attorneys are prepared to investigate accidents that take place on recreational boats, including:
- Pontoon boats
- Jet Skis
- Party boats
- Cabin boats
We also assist with injuries sustained in kayaks, canoes, and other non-motorized vessels.
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What are the causes of Florida boating accidents?
Many recreational boating accidents occur from a general lack of boating education. People underestimate the dangers of watercraft compared to land vehicles, and many boat operators may not understand the basic “rules of the road” or nautical safety laws and precautions, such as:
- What to do when another yacht or boat is coming at them
- How to approach a big wave or wake at a safe angle and speed
- The importance of installing "kill switches" (devices that turn of an engine if the operator is thrown from the helm)
- The importance of wearing life jackets
Florida does not currently require most recreational boat owners to undergo boating education and instruction. Mandatory instruction is limited to operators under a certain age, or a vessel over a certain length. This means that many people behind the wheel of a yacht or boat in Florida do not have any specialized knowledge of the vessel's characteristics.
Other common causes of boating accidents include:
- Failing to keep a lookout while guests are tubing or water-skiing
- Defective boat design
- Defective boat repair
- Striking a fixed object (e.g. pier, bridge, or dock)
- Overloading and overcrowding
- Drinking alcohol
- Driving while distracted
Boat accident injuries tend to be serious, catastrophic, or even fatal. The Florida boat accident attorneys at Hickey Law Firm work to ensure the responsible party or parties are held accountable.
What types of injuries happen from boat accidents?
Boat injuries may result from a collision. They can also result from rough waters, poor navigation, improperly maintained vessels, and other issues beyond your control. When you are injured through no fault of your own or as a direct result of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for all of your damages through swift and aggressive legal action.
Common boat accident injuries include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Traumatic amputation and limb loss
- Severe burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Head and brain injuries
- Oxygen deprivation
Drowning and wrongful death are also possible when involved in a boat accident.
Depending on the severity of your injury, it may be impossible to resume working in the foreseeable future. You are likely facing significant medical expenses and suffering great amounts of physical and emotional pain. Our attorneys understand these things deserve compensation – and one of the best ways to make sure you are fully compensated is by taking legal action.
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Does your Florida law firm handle diving accidents?
Yes. Tour and recreational boats often go out for deep sea and SCUBA diving. However, when training or safety procedures are ignored, severe injuries can occur. Divers can get separated and lost. They can get wedged into tight spaces and stuck. They can experience leaking masks, pinched tubing, oxygen problems, and other disorienting events that may exacerbate dangerous conditions.
When conditions are dangerous or disorienting, a rapid ascent may seem compelling. Unfortunately, depending on how deep a diver has gone, this can result in decompression sickness, more commonly known as The Bends. Symptoms of the bends include:
- Joint pain
- Low back pain
- Numbness and weakness in the extremities
- Head and neck pain
The bends cause tissue and nerve damage, though the condition is not often fatal. It can, however, result in paralysis and may do permanent damage to the bladder, sexual organs, and spinal cord if not treated promptly.
What is the Limitation of Liability Act 1851?
The Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 is codified in 46 U.S.C. Section 30505. Under the Act, a boat owner can file a lawsuit to limit their liability in an accident to the value of the boat or vessel (plus pending freight at the end of their voyage). This means that if the boat which causes the accident sinks or has little or no value, the owner may owe little or nothing to the injured parties. But there are exceptions and restrictions on when and under what circumstances the LOLA can be used. The statute provides in 46 U.S.C. Sec. 305012, for example, that:
This chapter does not affect the liability of an individual as a master, officer, or seaman, even though the individual is also an owner of the vessel.
There is a very small window of time to file a response to a boat owner's Limitation of Liability lawsuit, and also introduce a claim for your damages. In order to successfully obtain compensation after a boating accident, injured passengers need the help of an experienced maritime attorney who knows how to navigate this complex area of law.
What is the value of my Florida boat accident case?
After a boat accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. The attorneys at Hickey Law Firm work to secure the following damages for YOU, the seriously injured person:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages and future loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Property loss associated with the accident
In the tragic event your loved one loses their life in a boating accident, our attorneys will file a wrongful death claim to cover funeral and burial expenses, among other damages.
Do you have a boat accident lawyer near me?
Hickey Law Firm is located at 1401 Brickell Avenue, Suite 510, in Miami, right off US 1 and only blocks from the ocean. We serve the seriously injured in Miami, throughout Florida, and nationwide. If you are too injured to travel, we can come to you, or schedule a phone or video conference instead.
Talk to our experienced Florida boat accident attorneys today
If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident, talk to the legal team at Hickey Law Firm. As one of only a few lawyers in Florida or across the country who has received Board Certification in Maritime Law, Attorney John H. (Jack) Hickey has the specialized experience you need to recover the compensation you deserve for your losses.
To schedule a consultation, call 305-371-8000 or fill out our contact form today. We can talk about your case and answer all of your questions. Initial consultations are free, and every case is taken on a contingency basis.
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