The long coastline, warm weather, and approximately a million registered boats only mean that boat accidents are another thing to worry about in the “Sunshine” state. These accidents can be more frightening due to the distance from land, and that help may take unusually long, unlike in other forms of accidents. So, what should you do after a boating accident in Florida?
Florida Boat Accidents Call For The Following Steps
- Dial 911
You need to contact the Florida Coast Guard immediately. They should know that a boating accident in Florida has occurred. It is especially the case where there are injured people and taking an immediate step would mean loss of time for the victim.
- Seek medical attention
While you may not experience visible injuries from an accident, those involved directly must seek comprehensive medical attention. A common mistake is thinking that you are okay because you feel okay and there are no visible injuries. Internal injuries are common in such cases, with superficial injuries requiring an inspection, a diagnosis, and detailed testing. Besides, minor injuries can reoccur later, and your medical insurance will not be liable.
- Document everything
Documentation of evidence is everything in personal injury and accident cases. While taking a picture is not as important as helping victims, it can give more details about what transpired in the scene. Therefore, if there is anything that may make a difference, photograph it!
- Keep all the evidence
It includes photographs of the accident scene and medical bills used for treatment. Keep them safely since you will need them for adjudicating the accident. You should also contact a boating accident lawyer for further legal advice that will favor you.
- Boating Legal Specifications
When a boat operator is injured, they may sue the owner or insurance company for the indemnification of medical costs and lost wages. But this is only possible when all the legal boating requirements are met. First is that these accidents must be reported. As stated by Federal Law, a boat owner or operator should file a boating accident report with the state if the occurrence leads to the following:
The disappearance of a person from the water vessel in situations that indicate a missing person’s request or death.
- A person’s injury that requires more medical attention than first aid.
- A damaged boat or any other property which adds up to $2000 or more.
- A severely disfigured boat.
Florida accident reporting laws specifically state that the boat operator engaged in an accident should make a report to any of the following:
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- The municipality’s police department of the place where the accident took place.
- The country’s sheriff of the area where the boat accident occurred.
Immediately after a boating accident in Florida, an operator must:
- Stop the boat at the accident scene until law enforcement officials or medical care arrives.
- Offer assistance to anyone injured from the accident unless it endangers the vessel, crew, or passengers.
- Provide in writing their name, address, and identification number of the boat to the other boat operator or owner of the damaged property.
What Happens If You Fail To Meet These Requirements?
Failing to offer help without a valid reason or failing to report the accidents in the mentioned circumstances are both criminal offenses. Florida law further imposes a timeframe of 48 hours for reporting the incident from when it happened. It is during which the accident must be filed with the appropriate authorities in case of death or serious injury requiring more than first aid. Without these two circumstances, you should do it within ten days.
For personal injury and accident cases, compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded.
Have you experienced a boat accident in Florida? In personal injury cases, getting the compensation you deserve can be very tricky, even with the exclusion of possible negligence. Choosing an aggressive and passionate law firm that further understands the intricacies of boat accidents like Irwin Law Firm gives you an upper hand.