Florida boating accidents tend to present injury victims with more hurdles than a typical motor vehicle accident. In addition to complex state and federal laws, these cases often involve special clauses in insurance policies that restrict recovery. Bodies of water are subject to various regulations; however, despite the presence of these laws, many Floridians eschew these imperative health and safety laws. This disregard of the law can lead to serious and life-long debilitating injuries.
The most common types of Florida boating accidents involving a collision with other vessels or stationary objects, flooding, grounding, and overboard falls. Many activities increase the likelihood of a boating accident. Some activities include alcohol or drug use, speeding, failure to vent, improper lookout, navigation violations, operator inattention or inexperience, and sharp turns.
For instance, the Fourth District Court recently issued an opinion in a case stemming from a Florida boating accident. In that case, the boat owner gave his son permission to operate his boat and allow others to operate the boat. On one occasion, the son took his boat out with three of his friends. All of the individuals on the boat were under 21-years-old; however, they consumed an unknown amount of alcohol. When they were heading back to shore, the owner’s son permitted one of the young women on board to operate the boat. The woman slammed the boat into a channel, and the owner’s son and another passenger were thrown off the boat. At the time of the accident, the boat was insured under the owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. The passenger filed a lawsuit against the boat’s owner, his son, and the young woman.
The insurance company requested declaratory relief arguing that they were not liable to defend the claim because of a watercraft exclusion. In Florida, insurance contracts must be construed following the plain language of the policy. In this case, the court found that the terms were clear and unambiguous. For this reason, and several others, the court concluded that the insurance company was not liable to defend the claim.
In cases like this, injury victims should consider pursuing damages against other at-fault parties. Some common examples include the boat’s owner, operator, the manufacturer of the boat, or an employer. Injury victims may be able to recover damages for their medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Boating Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Florida boating accident, the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada may be able to assist you and your family through this challenging time. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience successfully representing Florida injury victims. We handle complex personal injury cases involving cars, trucks, and boats and cases stemming from defective products, premises liability, and more. Our attorneys possess the unique skills, resources, and tools necessary to successfully handle these claims. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.