Over Millions in Verdicts & Settlements For Our Clients
$12 Million Boating Accident
$7 Million Automobile Accident
$3.7 Million Slip and Fall
$3.5 Million Motorcycle Accident
$2.5 Million Pedestrian Accident

Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

BUI Accident Attorneys Representing People in Stuart and Surrounding Areas

Boating under the influence is a very serious act that can result in devastating or even fatal results for victims of the ensuing accidents. Florida treats boating under the influence as a serious crime. This is largely due to the fact that Florida has the highest rate of boating-related fatalities in the country. Reports have suggested that as many as one-third of fatal boating crashes involve boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have been injured as a result of a boater’s intoxicated operation of their vessel, you can bring a civil claim against them to recover compensation for your injuries. At Donaldson & Weston, our Stuart BUI accident lawyers have provided legal counsel to victims throughout Martin and St. Lucie Counties. We understand how traumatic this situation is for a victim and their family, and we will fight vigorously to assert your right to compensation.

Florida Laws Against Boating Under the Influence

Florida law makes it a crime to operate a boat or another water vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The term vessel is defined broadly to include any watercraft, airboat, seaplane, or vehicle that can be used as transportation on water. This strict approach to boating under the influence is justified, considering 15 percent of fatal boating accidents in Florida occur because of intoxicated boating. Many of these accidents happen close to the coastline, where there is often heavy traffic on the waterway or objects that boaters must be careful to avoid, such as piers and jetties. If you have been injured as a result of an intoxicated boater’s conduct, you can bring a personal injury case against them to pursue compensation for your injuries.

The first step in establishing your right to compensation is to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. When it comes to operating a watercraft, Florida law requires all operators to use the same level of reasonable care and skill that a prudent boater would use when faced with a similar situation. Since a prudent boater would obey all boating laws and regulations while operating their vessel, any evidence showing that the defendant was operating a boat while intoxicated probably would indicate that the defendant was negligent at the time of the accident. One way to establish that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident is to obtain a copy of any police report that was prepared, recording the defendant’s intoxication. A Stuart BUI accident attorney can assist you with this step.

The next phase of a negligence lawsuit requires the plaintiff to prove that there was a causal connection between the defendant’s intoxication and the injuries that they sustained. In other words, you must show that you probably would not have been injured but for the defendant’s intoxication. One of the most common ways that defendants try to disprove causation is by introducing evidence of the plaintiff’s negligence at the time of the crash. Florida has adopted the pure comparative fault standard. This rule allows the jury to consider evidence suggesting that the plaintiff was negligent and to assign a percentage of fault to the plaintiff. Any judgment in the plaintiff’s favor will then be diminished by this percentage. As a result, it is critical to understand whether the defendant may be preparing to produce any evidence suggesting negligence on your part.

The final stage of the proceedings involves determining the amount of compensation that the plaintiff is entitled to receive. There are several categories of recoverable items that may be available in a negligence lawsuit, including medical bills, lost wages, and future expectation damages associated with any serious or permanent disabilities resulting from the crash. You may also be able to seek punitive damages, which is a separate category of damages designed to punish defendants who engage in willful, wanton, and reckless conduct, such as driving while intoxicated beyond the legal limit.

Contact a Compassionate BUI Accident Lawyer in the Stuart Area

Suffering an injury on the water as a result of a careless boater’s actions is a stressful and unexpected disruption to your life, regardless of how minor your injuries may be. At Donaldson & Weston, we understand what you are going through because we have counseled many boating accident victims in Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Jupiter, and elsewhere in St. Lucie and Martin Counties. Our dedicated team of legal professionals can help you understand the scope of your legal rights and whether you may be entitled to financial compensation. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 772-266-5555 or contact us online. We also guide victims who have been injured by a distracted or speeding boater.

What Our Clients Say
The attorneys at Donaldson & Weston helped me get an amazing result on my case. Obviously I’ve been through a lot physically but I feel better now and the money really helped my family. When I was riding my bicycle I was hit by a truck that wasn't paying attention. I am not the suing type, but I would definitely hire this firm again. - M.P.
After my accident, i felt like I was being pulled in a bunch of different directions. I really didn't know what to do and all I wanted was someone to shoot me straight. The lawyers at the firm were so honest and definitely pointed me in the right direction. The staff was professional. I think it’s great that only attorneys work on my case, it definitely made me feel comfortable - D.L.
After my accident happened I waited to hear back from the insurance company for about 6 months. I just felt like they kept jerking me around. They even told me not to hire an attorney because it would mean less money in my pocket. I couldn't wait any longer because my bills were out of hand. I hired this firm and they were solid. I got a great result without having to go to court. - S.C.