Boating is a popular recreational activity in Florida, with its miles of coastlines, lakes, and rivers. However, accidents can happen, and boating accidents can result in serious injuries. If you were injured in a boating accident in Florida, it’s important to know what steps to take to protect your health and your legal rights. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.
Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important step after a boating accident is to seek medical attention for any injuries you or anyone else on the boat may have sustained. Even if you feel fine, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Be sure to keep a record of any medical treatment you receive, including the names of the healthcare providers and the dates of the visits.
Report the Accident
If someone is injured or killed in a boating accident, the operator of the vessel is required by law to report the accident to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) within 48 hours. If the accident resulted in property damage of more than $2,000 or if anyone was injured, you should also report the accident to your insurance company.
Document the Scene
If you’re able to, take pictures of the scene of the accident, including any damage to the boat and any injuries sustained by you or anyone else. You should also get contact information from any witnesses to the accident, as their testimony may be valuable later on.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience handling boating accident cases in Florida. An attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Know Your Rights
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Your attorney can help you determine what your legal options are and what types of compensation you may be entitled to.
Be Mindful of Statutes of Limitations
It’s important to be aware of the statutes of limitations that apply to personal injury cases in Florida. In general, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage resulting from the boating accident. However, there may be exceptions to this rule depending on the circumstances of your case. It’s crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines.
Cooperate with Investigations
The FWC will conduct an investigation of the accident to determine its cause and who is at fault. It’s important to cooperate with their investigation and provide any information that they request. However, it’s also important to remember that anything you say to the authorities can be used against you later on, so it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney before speaking with the investigators.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders and attend all scheduled medical appointments. This will not only help you recover more quickly, but it will also provide documentation of your injuries and the extent of your damages. If you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, the other side may argue that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
Don’t Accept a Settlement without Consulting an Attorney
If the other party’s insurance company offers you a settlement, don’t accept it without first consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies often try to settle cases quickly and for less than they’re worth, so it’s important to have an attorney review any settlement offers to ensure that you’re being fairly compensated for your damages.
Boating accident cases can be complex and may take some time to resolve. It’s important to be patient and not rush into accepting a settlement or making any decisions before you have all the facts. Your attorney can help guide you through the process and ensure that you’re making informed decisions every step of the way.
Being injured in a boating accident can be a challenging and stressful experience. However, by following these steps and working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can protect your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Remember to seek medical attention, document the scene, cooperate with investigations, follow your doctor’s orders, and be patient. With the right help and guidance, you can move forward and recover from your injuries.
Serrano Law is a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases, including boating accidents. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. Here’s how we can help:
Free Consultation: We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and determine whether you have a viable claim. During this consultation, we’ll ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, and any medical treatment you’ve received. We’ll also explain the legal process and what types of compensation you may be entitled to.
Investigation: We’ll conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine its cause and who is at fault. This may involve reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts in boating safety and accident reconstruction.
Documentation: We’ll help you document your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. This documentation will be critical in proving the extent of your damages and the compensation you’re entitled to.
Negotiation: We’ll negotiate with the other side’s insurance company to try to reach a fair settlement. If a settlement can’t be reached, we’ll be prepared to take your case to trial.
Advocacy: We’ll be your advocate throughout the entire process, representing your best interests and fighting for the compensation you deserve. We’ll keep you informed every step of the way and answer any questions you have about your case.
At Serrano Law, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a boating accident can take on you and your family. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing compassionate, effective legal representation to help you recover from your injuries and move forward with your life. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Florida, contact Serrano Law today for a free consultation.