Steps To Take After A Florida Boating Accident
Boating is a popular activity in Florida. According to research, by 2021, Florida had more than 987,000 recreational boating vessels. With crystal clear waters, white-sandy beaches, and wonderful marine life, it isn’t surprising that so many Floridians enjoy boating. Unfortunately, more boats mean more boating accidents. Boating accidents in Florida occur for various reasons, but often these accidents happen because of negligence. Some of the common causes of boating accidents include boating while drunk, excessive speed, operator inattention, improper lookout, and operator inexperience.
Fortunately, if you suffer injuries in a Florida boating accident due to another party’s negligence, you can recover compensation for your injuries and damages. However, to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve, there are some steps you should take.
Seek Prompt Medical Attention
The first step you should take after getting involved in a Florida boating accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you think your injuries are minor, you should seek medical attention. Adrenaline may prevent you from realizing the extent of your injuries or that you are in fact, injured. Delaying seeking prompt medical attention after a boating accident can worsen your condition. Secondly, after you file your compensation claim, the insurance company might argue that since you delayed seeking medical attention, your injuries are not as severe as you claim. The insurance company might also say that you suffered injuries in another accident if time passed.
Contact the Relevant Authorities
You should also call the police and the Coast Guard and report your boating accident. The police and Coast Guard will investigate and prepare a report. For example, they may speak to people who witnessed the accident. An official report prepared by the police or Coast Guard can help support your boating accident claim.
Even if the police and Coast Guard prepare an official investigation report, it is in your best interest to gather evidence on your own as well. For example, document the accident by taking pictures and videos of the involved boats, the surroundings, and your injuries. Collect contact information from the boating operator involved and passengers. As for the boating operator, you will need to also ask for their registration and insurance information. If other people witnessed your accident, collect their names, and contact information as well.
Attend Follow Up Medical Treatment
It is not enough to see your doctor once after a boating accident. You need to attend follow-up medical treatment. If you do not attend follow-up medical treatment, it may affect your recovery. Also, if you do not follow up on medical treatment, the at-fault party’s insurance company might claim that you failed to mitigate your injuries because you have the duty to take reasonable action to limit the extent of the harm you suffer. This is what is known as the duty to mitigate damages.
Contact an Experienced Boat Accident Attorney
After you have received medical attention and reported your accident, it is best that you contact an experienced boat accident attorney. You can handle your accident claim without legal representation, but an experienced boat accident attorney can help you determine liability and handle the insurance company. The negligent party or their insurance company will often try to deny liability. A skilled attorney can fight any dirty tactics the at-fault party, or their insurance company tries to use to get out of paying you what you deserve. A boat accident attorney can help you fight for the maximum possible compensation.
After suffering injuries in a Florida boating accident, you may consider not hiring an attorney because of finances. If you are worried that you cannot afford to hire a boat accident attorney, you should know that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. In a contingent fee arrangement, an attorney receives their payment out of the settlement. And if no settlement can be reached, a client does not have to pay them anything.
Contact a Florida Boat Accident Attorney
If you’ve suffered injuries in a Florida boating accident because of another party’s negligence, our Florida boat accident attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.