If you’re involved in a boating accident in Florida, it’s essential to know who to report it to, when you are required to report the accident, and what steps to take after a boating collision.
Generally, boat operators involved in a qualifying crash must report the accident to at least one of the following agencies:
- Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission – Law Enforcement Division
- The Local sheriff’s office where the accident occurred
- The local police department where the accident occurred
Neglecting to file a timely boating accident report to one of the three agencies mentioned above can result in criminal charges and a significantly weaker personal injury case (if applicable).
At Schrier Law Group, we have intimate knowledge of Florida’s boating and personal injury laws. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a boat operator, we can help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with an experienced boating accident lawyer.
Continue reading to learn more about what to do after a boat collision in Florida waterways.
When Should A Boating Accident Be Reported in Florida?
According to Florida Statute § 327.301, boat operators are required to file a written report with an applicable agency if a boat collision results in:
- Serious bodily injury to passengers or operators
- Missing person
- Property damage of $2,000 or more
It’s important to note that the $2,000 threshold applies to the vessel, other vessels, and property damaged within the boat due to the accident. Generally, you must file a boating accident report within 24 – 48 hours. That’s true regardless of where the boating accident occurs.
Types of Boating Accidents That Require Reporting
For the most part, any boating accident that involves property damage above $2,000, death, serious injury, or a missing person must be reported regardless of the type of accident. That includes the following types of boating accidents but is not limited to:
- Multi-vessel collisions
- Single-vessel collisions
- Instances where a boat capsizes or sinks
- Boating accidents caused by water debris, rough water, or inclement weather
- Collisions caused by reckless boating
- Accidents resulting from running aground or striking fixed objects in the water
- Accidents that happen when entering or exiting the water
What Is The First Thing To Do When Involved in a Boating Accident?
If you’re involved in an accident on the water, there are a few steps you are required to take and a few others you should take. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Immediately notify applicable law enforcement agencies
- Seek medical attention
- Provide emergency care if needed
- Exchange information with others involved in the collision
- Stay at the scene until you’ve met your boating accident obligations
- Collect evidence from the scene (i.e., pictures, videos, etc.)
- Identify eyewitnesses and obtain their information
- Contact your boating insurance company
- Consult with a Florida boating accident lawyer as soon as possible
In addition, when filing a boating report, it’s essential to stick to the facts of the case. That means never admitting fault in the report.
Further, stay away from posting about the accident on social media or speaking about it with others. Anything you say, do, or post about the accident can be used against you when attempting to recover damages for personal injuries.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Boating Accident?
Every boating accident case is different. However, depending on the circumstances, boating accident victims may be eligible to recover maximum compensation for the following losses, but not limited to:
- Property damage to your vessel or personal property
- Urgent medical attention
- Transportation to the hospital
- Hospitalization and rehabilitation
- Current and future lost wages
- Decreased earning power
- Pain and suffering
Additionally, suppose the boating collision causes death due to negligence or recklessness. In that case, your family may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recoup damages for loss of companionship, financial support, and more (in addition to the damages listed above).
Contact A Boating Accident Lawyer in Florida Today
Identifying liability in water vessel collisions typically requires the knowledge and experience of an experienced boating accident lawyer. Boat accidents can be especially tricky in Florida since many don’t have insurance or are severely underinsured. However, regardless of the circumstances, there may be an opportunity to recover damages for your losses.
Our boat accident attorneys at Schrier Law Group have an in-depth understanding of Florida’s maritime, boating, and personal injury laws. We’ve helped recover millions in personal injury cases, and are confident we can obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact a boating accident lawyer at Schrier Law Group today to schedule your free case evaluation.