Florida’s proximity to lakes and beaches opens boating enthusiasts up to some of the most beautiful and exotic areas the United States has to offer. However, the massive influx of watercraft vehicles means that there is also an increased likelihood of a boating accident. From crashes to poorly marked areas, no hazard is off the table when cruising along our state’s waterways.
Knowing Where to Go When You Need Legal Advice
Specific laws apply to boat accidents in ways that they do not with motor vehicle accidents. Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers can help you understand your opportunities for financial compensation related to your injuries and damage to your boat. Time limits apply to your ability to file a claim, which means that you should talk to a legal professional as soon as possible to avoid missing this critical deadline.
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Call Hancock Gaeta, P.A. for an Initial Case Evaluation
At Hancock Gaeta, P.A, our team of personal injury lawyers has experience and knowledge in the area of maritime law and the more significant issues associated with boating accidents. You can request an initial case evaluation with our office by calling (954) 281-2231 or submitting a message through our online contact form.
We Represent Florida Boating Accident Injury Victims Across a Wide Range of Circumstances
There are several ways in which boat accidents can occur. Due to our state’s highly diverse waterways and availability in watercraft diversity, drivers and passengers alike can sustain injuries from various sources.
Our Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers can represent you or surviving family members in obtaining the financial compensation you deserve when faced with this situation. You may be able to receive a monetary award for your physical, emotional, and financial losses.
Hancock Gaeta, P.A. will represent you in the following types of boat accident causes:
- Reckless operation
- Moderate or excessive speeding
- Boating under the influence (BUI)
- Distracted boating
- Operator inexperience
- Equipment or maintenance malfunction
- Operating too closely with other boats
- Ignoring water markers
The preceding list of causes can result in significant injuries to all parties involved. While the types of accidents vary, the most commonly resulting accident injuries include:
- Collision with another vessel
- Collision with fixed objects
- Falls on personal watercraft (PWC)
- Falling overboard
- Hitting an underwater object
- Vessel wake damage
- Fires and explosions
Not all the above-referenced elements in this list qualify as a personal injury lawsuit. However, where negligence played a role, you can file a personal injury claim. If your loved one lost his or her life, your Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyer will help surviving family members pursue a claim under Florida’s wrongful death statutes.
Types of Water Vessels Involved in Boating Accidents
Another element we will consider is the vessel-type involved in the boating accident. While one is not necessarily safer than another, the craft you boarded will determine your case strategy due to the operation of the vehicle and the governing laws that apply to it.
Hancock Gaeta, P.A. represents Floridians injured on the following types of water vessels:
- Pontoon boats
- Fishing boats
- Recreation trawlers
- Jet skis
- Cabin cruisers
- And more
No matter the events of your case, our legal team can represent you across a multitude of boating accident injury claims. Hancock Gaeta, P.A. will work with you and the authorities of jurisdiction to understand the circumstances surrounding your claim and gather evidence to prove liability against the other party. You do not have to go up against the other party’s insurance company alone.
If you need legal guidance regarding your options, contact our Fort Lauderdale boat accident injury lawyers by calling (954) 281-2231 or submitting a message through our online contact form.
Entitlement to Compensation After Your Boat Accident
The first step to take after an accident injury is to visit an emergency room as soon as possible. For non-life threating matters, Florida permits you to take up to fourteen days from the date of your accident to visit a doctor. If you exceed this deadline, you can still make an appointment with your doctor, but you are unlikely able to receive compensation for your injuries.
However, individuals who were in a Florida boating accident can file a personal injury or product liability claim for the following losses related to your financial, emotional, and physical damages:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages and benefits
- Lost earning capacity
- Cost of prescription drugs
- Medical devices and prosthetic
- Accessibility modifications to your home or car
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
- Punitive restitution
- And more
You can file a claim for your direct and indirect losses. Working with Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers will ensure that your case meets the elements of an actionable claim while uncovering every opportunity for compensation to which you are reasonably entitled.
Hancock Gaeta, P.A. will organize the types of out-of-pocket expenses you are incurring as well as keep a record of your cognitive well-being.
Compensation for Wrongful Death Claims
Florida’s wrongful death laws apply financial awards to prevailing claims differently than broader personal injury lawsuits. While money does not make up for the loss of your family member, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is one way to strengthen public policy by sending a clear message that negligence on our waterways is never okay.
If your loved one passed away from boating accident injuries, you can file a claim for most of the same losses as listed above. However, Hancock Gaeta, P.A. will also recommend that we litigate the following types of compensation relevant in wrongful death claims:
- Loss of net accumulation
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral service costs
- Burial or cremation costs
Florida limits the ability to file a wrongful death claim to family members, such as spouses, children, and parents, or the named personal representative in his or her will or trust.
If the personal representative is not technically a biological survivor, courts will assign all financial recoveries to the beneficiaries or surviving family members. However, the personal representative may receive reasonable fee compensation for his or her facilitating the lawsuit with Fort Lauderdale boat accident injury lawyers.
We Help Our Clients Prove Liability in a Boat Accident Injury Claim
Since we are living in real life, rarely is a boating accident ever the result of intent or ill-will. In most boating accident claims, people are out on the water, intending to have fun and enjoy the day. Therefore, when an accident occurs, it is usually the result of negligent or careless acts.
Proving negligence on a personal injury, product liability, or wrongful death claim hinges upon the following elements:
- You or a loved one endured injuries or experienced loss of life
- The injuries or death caused financial losses
- The boat or its driver were required to exercise a duty of care
- The responsibility of care was in breach
While there are other considerations in these types of lawsuits, meeting the elements is what makes a claim actionable in Florida civil courts or negotiation discussions with insurance companies. An actionable claim is one in which that has grounds for action.
The Hancock Gaeta, P.A. team is ready to help you discover how your case is actionable while proving every element. We will compile police reports, eye-witness statements, and photographic evidence along with your personal account of the events that occurred.
Time Limits on Florida Boat Accident Injury Claims
Florida, like every other U.S. state, imposes deadlines upon which you have to file a claim in court. The legal industry calls these deadlines the statute of limitations. Depending upon the lawsuit that you are presenting, the deadlines vary according to the jurisdiction and type of injuries sustained.
In general, the following statute of limitations apply to Florida boating accidents:
- Governed by Florida law: Up to four years from the date of the accident
- Governed by maritime law: Up to three years from the date of the accident
- Wrongful death claims: Up to two years from the date of death
- Accidents on cruise ships: Between six months and one year according to the terms and conditions listed on the ticket.
Florida is relatively strict about meeting the statute of limitations. The reason that the deadlines exist is due to the degradation of evidence and eye witness accounts over time.
Civil courts find that it is unlawful to allow potential lawsuits to run indefinitely. Therefore, you must speak with a Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer as soon as possible to avoid this situation.
What to Do If You Think You Missed the Statute of Limitations
In most cases where the statute of limitations expired, filing a lawsuit generally results in a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds of your claim surpassing the relevant deadlines. However, there may be reasons why you could not file a claim sooner, such as diminished cognitive capacity.
If you believe you missed the statute of limitations for a good reason or are just unsure if your reason qualifies, you should still contact our Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers. We will analyze your case to establish the most beneficial strategy for your specific situation.
Reasons to Hire Hancock Gaeta, P.A. to Represent You
Several benefits come with hiring the Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers on our team. In addition to knowledge, training, and experience, Hancock Gaeta, P.A. wants you to put your health first, not litigating a personal injury claim under maritime law.
Here is how Hancock Gaeta, P.A. will help you and your family:
- Information during the consultation: Whether or not you choose to hire our team, you can receive an initial consultation from us to determine if your claim is actionable as a settlement or lawsuit. We were hoping you could find a law firm that is the right fit for your case and offer this first step as a way for you to accomplish that goal.
- Legal counsel and guidance: We navigate the complexities of personal injury and insurance laws under Florida and maritime law statutes while answering your questions as they arise.
- Knowledge of medical provisions: Personal injury is challenging since it requires a professional understanding of the relevant medical issues. We have a reliable network that can work toward proving your case.
- Document management: Beyond organization and filing, your medical bills are likely pouring in by the dozens. Instead of having to track and locate everything, we do the heavy lifting for you to maximize your claim.
- Protecting your rights: Once we invoke the attorney-client relationship, insurance companies and opposing parties must no longer contact you. Instead, they deal directly with Hancock Gaeta, P.A. Clients find this to be a tremendous amount of stress relief.
- Asserting what is fair for compensation: Our team cannot guarantee any results as a result of bar association guidelines. However, we do know something about fairness when it comes to compensation. We will assert your rights to fair compensation at every critical point of your case.
- Contingency-fee agreements: The majority of cases we take on Hancock Gaeta, P.A. are on contingency. That means we do not assume our legal fees unless we win your case. You will have peace-of-mind in knowing that we are genuinely working to earn your business.
The benefits of hiring Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyers are innumerable. You have reassurance in knowing that we will work tirelessly to meet the most professional standards throughout every point in your claim.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you sustained injuries or your family member experienced death, you can file a claim for financial compensation related to the boating accident. Hancock Gaeta, P.A. Lawyers offer empathetic and experienced service that leverages our resources to benefit you and your family.
Contact our Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyers today for more information. You can reach out to our legal team for an initial case review to help you determine your next steps. Request yours by calling (954)281-2231 or submitting a message through our online contact form.