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Navigating Florida Boating Accidents: What to Do and How Injuries Might Be Covered

June 15, 2024 Legal Team

Florida’s pristine waters and sunny weather make it a paradise for boating enthusiasts. However, amidst the beauty of the Sunshine State’s waterways, accidents can happen. Boating accidents can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities, making it crucial to understand what to do if you find yourself involved in one.

Understanding Boating Accidents in Florida

According to statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the state consistently ranks among the highest in the nation for registered boats and boating accidents. In 2020 alone, Florida reported 836 boating accidents, resulting in 79 fatalities and 420 injuries.

What to Do After a Boating Accident

If you’re involved in a boating accident in Florida, it’s essential to take immediate steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: The well-being of all individuals involved should be the top priority. Attend to any injuries and seek medical assistance promptly.
  1. Report the Accident: Florida law requires that boating accidents resulting in injury, death, or significant property damage be reported to the FWC. Report the accident as soon as possible, preferably within 48 hours.
  1. Document the Scene: Gather as much information as you can about the accident, including the names and contact information of witnesses, photographs of the scene and any damages, and notes about the weather and water conditions.
  1. Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident, including boat registration numbers.
  1. Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. Be honest and thorough when recounting the details of the incident.
  1. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney: If you’ve sustained injuries in the boating accident, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in maritime law. They can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Coverage for Boating Accident Injuries

Injuries sustained in boating accidents may be covered by various insurance policies, depending on the circumstances of the incident:

Boat Insurance: If you own a boat, your boat insurance policy may provide coverage for injuries sustained by you, your passengers, and other parties involved in the accident.

Homeowner’s Insurance: In some cases, homeowner’s insurance policies may offer coverage for boating accidents, particularly if the accident occurred on your property or involved a boat covered under your policy.

Health Insurance: Your health insurance policy may cover medical expenses resulting from injuries sustained in a boating accident, including hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Florida law requires that all registered boats with motors have PIP coverage, similar to automobile insurance. PIP benefits may cover medical expenses and lost wages for you and your passengers, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Liability Insurance: If another party is responsible for the boating accident, their liability insurance may provide coverage for your injuries and damages.

Boating accidents can have serious consequences, but knowing what to do in the aftermath can help protect your health and legal rights. By following the steps outlined above and understanding how injuries might be covered by insurance, you can navigate the challenges of a boating accident with greater confidence and peace of mind. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.