What Should I Do After a Boating Accident?

With over 30,000 lakes, 17,000 rivers, and easy access to the ocean from all parts of Florida, it should be no surprise that Florida has the highest number of registered recreational boats in the United States. With almost 959,000 registered watercraft, it’s also no surprise that Florida also has the highest number of boating accidents. In 2020, over 800 boating accidents were reported, an increase from the previous year.

A sailboat capsizes after a boating accident.

Going out of a boat should be a fun and enjoyable time. However, even the most vigilant boaters can become involved in a boating accident. Call an experienced Florida boat accident attorney at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd if you have been injured in a boating accident. Our attorneys can work with you to help you maximize the chances of recovering the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

Steps to Take If You Have Been Involved in a Boating Accident

Getting into a boating accident can be a scary and stressful event. However, just as there are important steps to take after being in a car accident, there are also things you should do after a boating accident to help document the scene. If you are able, following the steps outlined here will help you build your case and can work to prove the liability of the other party.

If you’ve been in a boating accident, take the following steps:

1. Inspect the Boat to Determine Integrity

After being involved in a boating accident, the first thing you should do is to inspect the boat to ensure that you and your passengers are safe. If you don’t have them on already, put life jackets on all boat occupants. Ensure to check for issues that may present a safety hazard, such as leaking fuel, a hole taking on water, or sparking electrical wires.

2. Assess for Injuries

After ensuring that the boat remains a safe place for you and your passengers, the next step is to assess everyone on board for injuries. Make sure all passengers are accounted for. If anyone fell overboard during the accident, locate them and get them back onto the boat as soon as possible. Treat the injuries that you can with simple first aid. If there is a medical emergency, contact the Coast Guard or local authorities as soon as possible.

3. Document the Scene

As soon as you have ensured that your boat is still structurally sound and all your passengers are safe, the next step is to begin documenting the accident scene. Taking pictures with a camera or phone is an excellent way to record the scene. Some important things to photograph are the other boats involved in the accident, the damage to your boat, and any injuries resulting from the accident.

In addition to taking photos, you might want to gather contact information from the other boat operator(s) and for anyone who witnessed the accident occur. Important information includes the name, address, telephone numbers, and any relevant boat registration information. You can also gather insurance information at this time.

If you or your passengers have been injured because of the accident, it is very important to have this information, as it can help prove the other party’s fault. Documenting immediately after the accident is the best way to preserve evidence and help your claims case in court.

4. Report the Accident

Like in a car accident, boating accidents need to be reported to the proper authorities. In the case of a boating accident in Florida, you will want to call the local authorities and the Coast Guard to report your accident.

Reporting boating accidents is also a federal requirement under certain circumstances. A boating report is necessary to file if:

  • The accident results in a death
  • If someone requires medical care beyond first aid
  • If property damage exceeds $2,000
  • The vessel is destroyed or total loss
  • If a person disappears from the vessel in a way that indicates death or injury

5. Contact Your Insurance Provider

As soon as you can, you should contact your insurance company (or the boat’s registered owner) and let them know that a boating accident occurred, regardless of who is at fault. If possible, it is best to contact your insurer within 24 hours of the accident so that the details are fresh in your mind. Different insurance companies have different reporting windows, so check your policy. Waiting too long to report an accident can cause the insurance company to refuse any claims related to the accident.

6. Contact an Experienced Boating Accident Attorney

If you were injured in an accident due to another person’s negligence, contact an experienced boating accident attorney as soon as possible. If you were the victim of an accident, you might be entitled to seek compensation to help pay for medical bills or missed wages caused by the accident.

Work With Experienced Boat Accident Attorneys on the Treasure Coast

Unfortunately, boating accidents are likely to cause injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, an attorney from Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd can help you as you recover from your injuries. Our friendly and knowledgeable attorneys have over 30 years of experience in providing legal services to the residents of the Treasure Coast. Contact us today to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

During your no-obligation consultation, one of our attorneys will listen to the details of your case and provide you with personalized advice on how to best move forward with your claim. We can help gather evidence for your case, such as police reports, medical charts, and witness statements to help prove the liability of the other party, all while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Call us at (866) 930-6435 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential, no-risk consultation now.

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