South Florida’s favorite pastime is more dangerous than meets the eye. While boating is typically seen as a fun and enjoyable experience, the waterways in Florida are filled with serious accidents that can lead to unfortunate injuries and death. Unlike the more stringent Florida requirements for a driver’s license, many boaters are not required by law to undergo boater safety education. Florida Boating Safety Educational Requirements were updated January 1, 2010. This update requires boat operators who were born on or after January 1, 1988 to obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card in order to operate a motorboat with ten horsepower or more. To date, anyone who is 33 years of age or older can freely begin operating a boat with no education on boating safety. Perhaps this is why, as of 2019, Florida is the state with the highest watercraft accidents.
Last December, a Florida boy was taking sailing lessons in Sarasota when he accidentally fell off his sailboat. The sailing instructor, an inexperienced boat operator, rushed to his aid in a 90-horsepower boat. The instructor carelessly fell on the throttle and was thrown overboard into the ocean waters. He was thus unable to stop the speedboat from colliding into the boy. Tragically, the young child perished. Subsequent to the young boy’s passing, a law requiring a kill switch for boats was introduced.
In the instance of this case, there are at least two different sources of negligence at play: (1) the inexperience and youth of the instructor and the boat operator; and (2) the vessel’s lack of kill switch which could have prevented this tragic accident. The victim’s estate will be required to prove that the instructor was ill-suited or inexperienced to perform the job he was tasked to do and/or that the boat was defective or unreasonably dangerous for not equipping a kill switch on board.
All personal injury cases in the State of Florida, including this case, require proving the same four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Boating accidents are no exception to this formula. A boat operator has the responsibility or duty to use reasonable care to prevent injuries to others. If the driver of a boat fails to act in a way in which a reasonably safe or cautious boat driver would act, there exists a breach of their duty. The victim of the accident must prove that the breach of the duty caused the resulting injuries or death.
Many boat operators in Florida are inexperienced, under the influence, speeding, inattentive, and otherwise careless in their operation of their vessels. These are just some examples of failing to act as a reasonably safe and sensible boat operator. Alongside negligence on the part of boat operators, defects in the boat and lack of regular maintenance can also be the cause of accidents and personal injuries.
If you or someone you know was harmed in a boating accident, Aigen Law Firm is here to assist you. We understand that in this moment, especially when there is a death or an injured individual, that litigation may not be on your mind. However, your lawyer at Aigen Law Firm will be available to guide you, protect your rights, answer all your questions, and fight to ensure that you maximize your recovery against all responsible parties.
Please do not hesitate to call our law firm directly at (305) 533-1600 or submit an online FREE CASE REVIEW. We offer a free consultation for your personal injury case and there is no fee unless we recover for you. At Aigen Law Firm, an experienced lawyer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week working relentlessly on behalf of victims who suffer from all types of accidents.