Lake City & Jacksonville Boat Accident Lawyer
Lake City and Jacksonville offer numerous opportunities for recreational boating, including Alligator Lake, St. John’s River, and of course, the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, the large amount of boating also means a large amount of boating accidents. Boating accidents have the tragic potential to result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death when a negligent boater collides with another vessel, swimmer or personal watercraft. The Lake City & Jacksonville boat accident lawyers at Douglas & Carter can help you get medical care and financial compensation if you or a member of you family is injured in a boating accident in Florida.
Florida Boating Accident Statistics
Florida has the most registered vessels of any state in the country. It also has the highest number of boating fatalities annually and the highest number of boating accidents by far. According to the 2016 Boating Accidents Statistical Report of Florida Fish and Wildlife, there were 714 boating accidents and 67 boating deaths in the state that year. On a county-by-county basis, Duval County was among the top ten counties with the most boating accidents.
Boating accidents can occur among any type of vessel and activity, including power boats, sport fishing, kayaking, water skiing, and personal watercraft such as jet skis. Personal watercraft seem particularly dangerous; although they make up only 13% of all registered vessels, they are involved in 26% of all boating accidents.
Boater Negligence Causes Boating Accidents
Operator negligence is a leading cause of Florida boating accidents. Most boating accidents are caused by a collision with another vessel, followed by collision with a fixed object. Falling overboard and drowning are the leading causes of death in Florida boating accidents. Some of the many ways boating accidents and injuries are reported include:
- Collisions with other boats
- Collisions with jet skiers, water skiers, kayakers or swimmers
- Collisions with objects in the water, such as buoys or platforms
- Capsizing a boat
- Falling overboard and getting hit
- Getting hit by a loose object on the boat deck
- Accidents on negligently maintained docks or sea walls
- Renting a watercraft to an obviously intoxicated or inexperienced boater
- Renting watercraft that is defective or in disrepair
- Renting watercraft without providing necessary safety gear
- Falling in the boat
Florida Boating Safety Laws, or the Lack Thereof
The outcome of a boating accident can be as bad as or worse than a car wreck, but you don’t need a license to drive a boat in Florida. In fact, there isn’t even a minimum age someone has to be to legally drive a boat in Florida. All that is required is that if you were born in 1998 or after, then you have to take a boater safety course first. This course is not actually conducted on a boat, however. It is classroom-based, and these days, most people take the course online. Even this type of boater education is better than nothing, though. Of those involved in fatal boating accidents in Florida in 2016, 70% had no formal boater education.
Help is Available after Serious Boating Accidents in Lake City and Jacksonville
If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident, call the Lake City & Jacksonville boat accident lawyers at Douglas & Carter for a free consultation. We will learn about the facts of your case and let you know how we may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries from the negligent party responsible for your harm.