Articles Posted in Boating injuries

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Florida boating safety billA Florida boating safety bill targeting illegal boat charters and questionable rental companies is wading its way through the state legislature.

As our Key West boating accident lawyers can explain, careless boat operations are consistently the No. 1 cause of boat accidents and deaths off Florida shores. The Sunshine State has, by far, the most boating accidents, injuries, and fatalities in the country.

In recent years, the U.S. Coast Guard has amplified its warnings and crackdowns on illegal charters. Such operations are problematic because an unlicensed charter may not have:

  • The proper emergency safety, navigation, and communication gear.
  • Undergone the proper license exams and inspections.
  • Adequate insurance to cover damages if there is a boating accident injury or something goes wrong.

Senate Bill 606, also known as the Boating Safety Act of 2022, takes aim at illegal boat rentals and charter operations. Under the bill, violating rules on boating under the influence, unsafe navigation, expired registration, damaging seagrass, and anchoring in prohibited areas would result in higher non-criminal fines (from $50 to $100). Continue reading

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Florida boating accidentFlorida is a boater’s paradise, but its waters have also placed plenty in peril. According to the newest statistics released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Sunshine State continues to lead the nation both for the most registered vessels and the highest number of reportable boating accidents. In 2020, officials counted a total of 836 Florida boating accident cases, causing 79 deaths (including 5 missing persons presumed dead) and 534 injuries.

These figures represent a surge of boating accidents and deaths at a time when an increasing number of people are taking to the water.

As our Key West boat accident attorneys can explain, lack of boater education is cited as a common thread in many of these cases. About 70 percent of boaters involved in deadly incidents had no boating education. Inattention/failure to maintain proper lookout is also a top cause. Alcohol and/or drug use was cited as a causal factor in about a quarter of all boating deaths. Continue reading

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Florida bad faith insurance claims

Drivers and vehicle owners dutifully pay their auto insurance premiums monthly or quarterly with the understanding they will receive a fair claims payout if the need arises. Unfortunately, far too many customers learn the hard way that insurers are primarily concerned with their own bottom line. But as our South Florida civil trial attorneys can explain, insurers are also bound by statutory and common law rules that compel them to act in good faith. Failure to abide by these rules in denying or delaying rightful claims can be the basis for a successful Florida bad faith insurance claim.

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Florida boating accidents

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s latest 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, alcohol is the primary contributing factor in fatal U.S. and Florida boating accidents. Even as deaths declined overall, alcohol continued to be a top factor in deadly boating incidents.

Of the 614 boat accident deaths reported in the U.S. last year, 141 (or 23 percent) were mainly attributed to alcohol consumption. This is even as boating deaths overall fell by 3.2 percent compared to the previous year. The total number of boating accidents in 2019 slightly increased, from 4,145 to 4,168 (about 0.6 percent). The number of injuries increased too, by about 2 percent.

As our Fort Myers boating accident attorneys are aware, similar data has been reported in Florida. In 2018 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), there were 54 boating deaths statewide, according to the Florida Fish

& Wildlife Conservation Commission – more than reported in any other state. Among fatal boating accidents, 22 percent were attributed to alcohol and/or drug use.

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Florida boating accidentsWe all know distracted drivers pose a serious threat on South Florida roads, but did you know distracted boating is also a significant and growing problem that sharply increases the risk of boating incidents?

A recent analysis of Florida boating incident statistics by Treasure Coast Newspapers revealed that operator inattention was by far the No. 1 cause of South Florida boating incidents – exceeding other factors like speeding, weather, failed mechanics, hazardous water and alcohol use combined. Nationally, operator inattention and improper lookout have accounted for nearly a quarter of all boating incidents over the last five years.

Distractions that Lead to Florida Boating Incidents

So what else has captured the attention of so many Florida boaters? Smartphones, mostly. Texting while boating has rapidly become a top concern of state and federal boating safety officials. The assistant director of boating safety for the BoatUS Foundation was quoted as saying, “If you’re texting from the helm, you’re likely not helming the boat.”

Our Key West boating accident attorneys note too that unlike cars traveling on a highway, boats have the potential to approach from all directions. They come in widely varying sizes and move at different rates of speed. Boat operators must be paying close attention at all times, especially when waves, wind, sun glare and vibration are factors too. Continue reading

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The Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox have rolled into town for Spring Training and Spring Breakers are right behind them.

The next two months will be the most exhilarating of the year in Southwest Florida; and the most dangerous.tourbus-300x185

Over the next two months, nearly 1.5 million people will visit Lee County, about twice the county’s residential population, adding more than $1 billion to the local economy. Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers know traffic accidents are a primary threat, but far from the only risk facing visitors and residents through the height of tourist season.

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A series of high-profile boating accidents has safety advocates preaching caution as we head into the height of Southwest Florida’s tourist season.

With nearly 1 million registered vessels and more than 600 serious boating collisions each year, Florida is by far the most dangerous state in the nation, with California as the only other state to report more than 300 boating accidents a

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports 52 more reported boating accidents occurred in 2017, compared to the previous year. A total of 766 boating accidents were reported, killing 67 people. Southwest Florida is home to nearly half of the state’s 10 most dangerous counties for boaters, including Monroe County (ranked 1st – 105 reported boating accidents), Lee County (ranked 5th – 39 reported accidents), Collier County (ranked 7th – 31 boating accidents) and Charlotte County (ranked 10th – 18 boating accidents).

Our boating injury lawyers in Fort Myers know the leading type of Florida boating accidents continues to be collisions, either with a fixed object or another vessel. Falls overboard are a leading secondary type, as well as a leading cause of death, making life vests crucial. Last year, 81 percent of those killed were not wearing a life jacket.  Continue reading

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