West Palm Beach Boating Accidents
West Palm Beach encompasses three square miles of water, making boating and other lake and ocean activities popular for residents and visitors alike. Unfortunately, not all boat operators engage in proper training or practices when driving such a large and complicated vessel, which can lead to serious injuries for their passengers as well as people on other boats. The West Palm Beach boating accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston assist victims who have been injured on the water with pursuing the compensation that they need to aid in their recovery. Injuries from boating accidents range from broken bones and sprains to serious head trauma and even fatalities. Making sure that the parties responsible for a boating accident are held accountable is important to ensure that the waterways are safe and that victims have the resources necessary to heal.The Boating Community in West Palm Beach
There are approximately 40,000 boats registered in Palm Beach County. Although not all of their owners reside in the area, with so many boats traveling on the waterways, the potential for injuries in an accident increases. West Palm Beach Canal flows into Lake Worth Lagoon, which then leads boats to the Atlantic Ocean. Clear Lake and Lake Mangonia are also popular destinations for boating activities as well as kayaking, rowing, and sculling. Additionally, West Palm Beach hosts the annual Palm Beach International Boat Show, bringing in crowds and yacht owners from around the world each year.
Statewide, Florida has issued 900,000 registrations to recreational boats as of 2013, ranking highest in the nation. Unfortunately, the United States Department of Transportation has listed Florida as the state with the highest number of boating fatalities nationwide as well. In 2013, from the 736 boating accidents reported, 420 injuries and 62 deaths were also cited. Boat operators, passengers, and nearby swimmers are all among the people susceptible to injuries or death in these kinds of incidents. The boating accident attorneys at our West Palm Beach firm are ready to help them explore their legal options.Liability for Boating Accidents in South Florida
Often, a boat’s operator has acted negligently in causing a boat crash. The U.S. Coast Guard has listed alcohol use as the leading contributing cause in fatal boating accidents. Other common causes of these collisions include distracted boat drivers, inexperience, faulty machinery, and speeding. Boat drivers can be held liable in personal injury lawsuits, which are based on the legal theory of negligence. Victims injured by a negligent boat operator must show that the defendant breached their duty to act as a reasonable and prudent person would, given the same or similar circumstances, and that the breach caused the victim’s injuries, resulting in damages.
A less complicated theory of liability, known as “negligence per se,” may be available for victims injured due to a boat driver’s impairment by drugs or alcohol, similar to a drunk driving accident case. Negligence per se only requires a showing that a defendant violated a law that was passed in order to protect a certain group of people. Under Florida law, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol. This statute is in place to keep swimmers, boaters, and others enjoying the water safe from harm. Therefore, a victim injured by an impaired boat operator is within the class of people whom the statute is designed to protect. If liability is established, victims may recover damages for medical bills, loss of income, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering.Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer in West Palm Beach or Surrounding Areas
Boating accidents can leave victims severely and sometimes permanently injured. The catastrophic injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston assist people in making sure that they have the financial aid necessary for their future. Our firm can help investigate the events leading up to and during a collision in order to determine who is liable following a serious boat accident. Call our West Palm Beach boating accident attorneys today at (772) 266-5555 or contact us online to set up a no-cost, risk-free appointment to learn more about our legal services.