Many tourists and locals visit Florida’s Vero Beach each year for recreational and commercial boating. As a popular tourist location, Vero Beach sometimes attracts boaters who may be drinking or operating a vessel recklessly. Unfortunately, careless boating can result in severe injuries.
If you were injured in a boating accident at Vero Beach, our injury lawyers at Chalik & Chalik are ready to represent you. We can help you hold the negligent party accountable for the losses you’ve suffered.
Seeking Damages in a Vero Beach Boating Accident
Unlike car insurance, boaters in Florida aren’t legally required to carry boat insurance. Still, avid boaters often take out liability insurance because boats tend to be valuable. If you’ve been in an accident, you should file a claim under the liable party’s insurance policy (if they have one) and try negotiating a settlement. However, if they are uninsured, you should consider retaining an attorney and pursuing damages through a lawsuit.
Damages that may be awarded in a Florida boating accident claim include the following:
- Healthcare costs—ambulance fees, emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, imaging and tests, rehabilitation, medical equipment, doctor visits, medication costs, therapy, etc.
- Property damage—replacing or repairing your boat and anything on board that was damaged, e.g., a camera or phone
- Lost wages due to the injury causing you to miss work
- Diminished future earning ability because of a disability
- Punitive damages—fines intended to punish the liable party for egregious negligence or intentional wrongdoing
- Wrongful death damages to cover funeral expenses and replace your loved one’s lost income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Long-term or permanent disability
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Reduced quality and enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages for the loss of companionship with your spouse
The Florida statute of limitations allows you two years after an injury to file a personal injury claim and up to two years after a loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. However, you cannot pursue damages after these deadlines lapse. Therefore, you are encouraged to file as soon as possible to ensure you are compensated.
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Determining Liability in a Vero Beach Boating Accident
The liable party is the party who acted negligently and caused the accident. Your boating accident lawyer can help determine who this liable party is. In Florida, boaters owe a “duty of care” to all others with whom they share the waters. This duty means they are expected to act reasonably with enough caution to avoid causing an accident and hurting others.
To legally prove that a party is liable, you must demonstrate the following:
- They breached their duty of care
- The breach proximately caused your injuries
- Your injuries led to quantifiable damages
A Vero Beach boating accident lawyer can help demonstrate the liable party’s negligence in your case by examining the facts and comparing them to Florida’s relevant boating laws.
Florida Boating Laws Violations That May Be Evidence of Liability
Florida law regulates how a boater must act and operate their vessel. In your case, if the other boater disobeyed any of these laws, your attorney could use this as evidence.
Boaters must obey the following legal constraints:
- They must not operate their vessel at excessive speeds and must attempt to operate their vessel as safely as possible.
- They must remain aware of the circumstances of the waterway, all posted speed and wake restrictions, and the movement of other waterborne traffic.
- The owner or person in charge of a boat must not allow it to be operated by someone physically or mentally incapable of doing so safely (e.g., children).
- The boat’s operator must not be driving under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance. Furthermore, operators must give implied consent to be tested to determine if they are intoxicated. An operator’s blood alcohol content (BAC) cannot lawfully exceed 0.08 for those over age 21 and 02 for those under 21.
- If involved in an accident, the boater must not flee the scene and, within reason, attempt to save the other vessel’s passengers from danger caused by the collision.
- The owner or operator must abide by all equipment and lighting regulations as outlined by the Code of Federal Regulations.
In Vero Beach, the boater must immediately report any accident that results in injury, death, or more than $2000 in damage to either the Florida Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Indian River County Sheriff, or the Vero Beach Police.
Chalik & Chalik Boating Accidents Lawyer Near Me (772) 360-4210
Product Liability and Defective Boats in Florida Boating Accidents
Though you may have been injured in a boating accident, the operator of the boat may not have been negligent. Instead, the accident may have been caused by a defective product or boat component.
In such cases, the manufacturer of that product or component may be liable for the damages. Retaining a boating accident attorney will make it easier to collect the evidence needed to pinpoint who is at fault and bring them to justice.
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What a Boating Accident Attorney Can Do for Your Personal Injury Case
Having a boating accident attorney at your side will simplify the legal process and reduce the stress accompanying it. Overall, having someone knowledgeable in the law will maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
A boating accident lawyer from Chalik & Chalik Personal Injury Lawyers can help you with the following important tasks:
- Gathering material evidence, including accident scene photos and videos, photos of your injuries, police reports, medical records, etc.
- Interviewing eyewitnesses and acquiring affidavits in the event of a lawsuit
- Consulting expert witnesses, such as medical personnel, police officers, and accident reconstructionists
- Evaluating damages and preparing a claim supported by evidence
- Communicating on your behalf with insurance companies
- Representing you in court
For a free legal consultation with a Chalik & Chalik lawyer serving Vero Beach, call (772) 360-4210
Our Vero Beach Boating Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we understand that recovering from an injury can be demanding and require your full attention. We also know that the legal process of pursuing damages can be incredibly tedious and add to your hardships. But we are here to help.
Our Vero Beach boating accident lawyers are ready to fight to get you the compensation you need so you can focus on recovery with a peaceful mind. In addition, you will work directly with our partners when our firm represents you. That is how much we care about your case. So contact us as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your legal options.
Call or text Chalik & Chalik (772) 360-4210