Can you sue someone if you get hurt on their boat?

With over 959,000 registered boats, it may also come as no surprise that Florida also boasts the highest number of boating accidents each year. Unfortunately, boating accidents can result in serious injury or even death.

meeting with a boat accident attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident in Florida, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. In Florida, the law allows you to file a claim against the responsible party who caused the boating accident. An experienced boat accident lawyer in Florida will give you the best chance at recovering the compensation you need to recover from your accident.

What Are Some Common Causes of Boat Accidents in Florida?

As with motor vehicle accidents, there are many factors that can contribute to boat accidents. According to the United States Coast Guard, the most common causes of boat accidents are:

Inexperienced Boat Operators

In Florida, you have to be at least 14 years old in order to operate a boat but are required to take a boating safety course if you are operating a boat while being younger than 25. Since some boat operators are not even old enough to drive, and no operators need a boat operating license, they may have limited experience in how to navigate heavily trafficked spaces. This inexperience can lead to accidents.

Inattentive Boat Operators

Just as there are many distractions when driving a car, there are also a plethora of distractions that can occur while operating a boat. The Coast Guard describes operator inattention as “failure on the part of the operator to pay attention to the vessel, its occupants or the environment in which the vessel is operating.”

Failure to pay attention to surroundings while operating a boat can, unfortunately, lead to severe accidents that result in injuries and property damage.

Mechanical Failure

The owner of any boat is responsible for ensuring their vessel is well-maintained and in good operating order. Owners should conduct safety inspections every time they plan to take their boat out on the water. Lack of maintenance can lead to accidents, as well as any maintenance that was not performed properly.

Unfortunately, even though boat manufacturers are tasked with ensuring the safety of their product, mechanical failure can also occur as a result of a manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn operators or miscommunication in marketing.

This list is not exhaustive. Boat accidents can occur with any vessels that are located on the water, such as yachts, jet skis, fishing boats, speed boats, and even non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks. If you have been involved in any kind of accident on the water, a boat accident attorney will be able to consult with you and advise you on the options you have in regards to your accident.

Necessary Elements in a Boat Accident Case

In order to possibly receive compensation for your boat accident case, you must prove that the other party caused the accident through their negligence and that the injuries you sustained were caused by the accident.

The four necessary elements that must be proved by your case are:

1. Duty of Care for Operating a Boat Safely

Boat operators owe all people using the water, including the passengers on their own boat, a duty of care to operate their boat in a safe way and to also ensure their boat is in good enough condition to operate safely.

2. Negligent Operation or Maintenance (Breach in Duty)

The next step in your case is showing that the boat owner or operator breached their duty of care. Negligence can look like many different things in a boat accident case, such as:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Operating the boat while distracted
  • Speeding
  • Poor boat maintenance
  • Reckless boat operations
  • Operating in a way that violates Florida boating laws

3. Link Between Defendant’s Negligence and Your Injuries (Proximate Cause)

You must make a connection between your injuries and the negligence of the defendant, or, in other words, show causation. You must prove that your injuries were directly caused either by owner/operator negligence or by the condition of the boat.

Damages Suffered as a Result of the Accident

The final element of your case is to prove that your injuries caused you to suffer damages. These damages may include physical injuries, loss of wages, medical bills, or even emotional distress. A seasoned boat accident attorney will be able to work with you to build your case, as well as help you determine which legal actions need to be taken as well as what compensation needs to be pursued.

What Damages Can Be Pursued in a Boating Accident?

Your boating accident case may claim compensation for any physical and/or emotional effects suffered as a result of your injuries. Some common recoverable damages in a boat accident case are:

  • Medical Bills
  • Physical Therapy
  • Loss of wages/future income
  • Permanent Disability
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Wrongful death

The amount you can receive in compensation directly correlates to how significantly your injuries affect your life. An attorney can help you calculate and quantify this amount.

Contact an Experienced Boat Accident Attorney in Florida

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boat accident in Florida, including if you were a passenger on the at-fault party’s boat, contact an experienced boat accident attorney in Florida. Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd have been serving residents of the Treasure Coast for over 30 years. Let our attorneys work for you, collecting evidence on your case and ensuring all legal aspects of your case are taken care of as you work to heal from your accident.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. At your consultation, our lawyers will listen to the details of your case and provide you with individualized advice about how to best move forward in your case. Call us at (866) 930-6435 or contact us online to schedule your free in-person or phone consultation today.

Verdicts and Settlements


$1.2 Million

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$1.6 Million

Wrongful Death Settlement

$11.1 Million

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Locations


Ft. Pierce Office
302 South Second Street
Ft. Pierce, FL 34950
Phone: (772) 464-4600
Fax: (772) 465-4747
Port St. Lucie Office
1887 S.E. Port St. Lucie Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
Phone: (772) 344-7770
Fax: (772)344-3838
Okeechobee Office
1910 S Parrott Ave
Okeechobee, FL 34974
Phone: (863) 357-5800
Fax: (863) 763-2237
Vero Beach Office
2101 15th Avenue
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone: (772) 794-7774
Fax: (772) 794-7773
Sebastian Office
1561 US Highway 1 Sebastian, FL 32958
Phone: (772) 646-0662
Fax: (772) 646-0662