Florida’s saltwater fishing is a huge draw for visitors, as the Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission reports that the state has more world record catches than any other country in the world. The Sunshine State is also top in the U.S. for saltwater anglers, with almost 1.8 million licenses sold to residents and non-residents. The $30.8 million industry relies heavily on charter fishing outfitters to take sportsmen and sports women out for day trips. Chartering boats for fishing or recreation is also popular in Florida, as the weather is excellent almost year-round and owning watercraft can be expensive.
However, going out on a commercial excursion and doing a self-charter can both be dangerous for some of the same reasons. If you were hurt in a boat-related or on-the-water accident, talk to an Ocala, FL personal injury attorney about seeking compensation.
Common Sources of Injuries on the Water
Florida’s shorelines include the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean, but there are countless inland lakes, streams, ponds, and other water throughout the state as well. Anytime you are on, in, or near the water, there is the potential for drowning. Additional sources of injuries on commercial trips or self-charters include:
- Slips on slick or wet decks;
- Trips on uneven dock surfaces;
- Stumbling over boating gear, hoses, carts, and other personal items;
- Falls on ramps when boarding and disembarking a boat;
- Improperly maintained watercraft;
- Faltering on narrow docks that require you to maneuver around people and equipment;
- Intoxicated passengers;
- Failure to dock the boat properly and securely;
- Foul weather and rough waters, which may result in falling overboard or capsizing;
- Knock-downs due to collisions and running aground; and, many more.
Your Right to Compensation
These common sources of injuries are usually based upon negligence, so you must prove that someone failed to comply with the legal duty of care, and you were injured as a result. There are multiple potential parties who may be responsible in a boat-related accident, including:
- The commercial charter company;
- The outfitter that rented the watercraft to you;
- The insurance companies that provide coverage for these policyholders;
- Other boaters on the water who operated their crafts in a negligent manner; and,
- The insurance companys’ holding the policy for a negligent boater.
Special Factors in Maritime Law Claims
Any injury-causing accident that occurs on the water is covered by maritime law, which is slightly different than traditional negligence concepts. For one, liability for owners and operators of a crewed charter excursion may extend to their decision making before and during the charter. If storms, heavy winds, or high seas make it dangerous to head out, they have a duty to protect passengers.
In addition, note that the statute of limitations for a claim based upon maritime law is shorter than Florida’s statute: You have three years to file a lawsuit for your injuries, as compared to four.
Contact an Ocala, FL Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information
If you suffered injuries while on a crewed boat excursion or self-charter, please contact Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law in Ocala, FL. We will explain your rights and legal options after reviewing the details of your case. You can schedule your free consultation by calling us at 352-581-6174 or visiting our website.