Port St. Lucie Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating is one of the most fun and most dangerous recreational activities in the Treasure Coast area. Drownings and collisions are the most common types of accidents. Many boat passengers do not wear floatation devices. And, the Florida coast is notorious for riptides and other hazards that are difficult even for experienced swimmers to overcome. As for collisions, many boats are bigger than many cars. They are also much more difficult to control.
These incidents often cause serious injuries. As a result, a Port St. Lucie boat accident lawyer from Smith & Ball might be able to obtain significant compensation for victims. These victims need this compensation to pay medical bills, replace lost wages, and otherwise carry on with their lives. Through a combination of thorough preparation and strong advocacy, our Port St. Sluice boat accident lawyers usually obtain maximum compensation for victims.
First Party Liability
Incidents like drownings and collisions are normally not accidents. Instead, some form of negligence usually causes these incidents.
Ordinary negligence is essentially a lack of reasonable care. This duty requires boaters to operate watercraft carefully and also ensure the safety of onboard passengers.
Boat operators should complete at least one safety class and skipper a watercraft commensurate with their abilities. If they have only paddled canoes before, they should not drive yachts. As for onboard safety, boaters should require everyone to wear a life vest, limit alcohol consumption, and keep the deck free of spills and other hazards.
Negligence per se is the violation of a safety law, like the DUI law (which also applies to boaters) or a boating speed limit. Tortfeasors (negligent actors) could be liable for damages as a matter of law if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- That violation substantially causes injury.
In some situations, negligence per se is only a presumption of liability. A Port St. Lucie boat accident lawyer must introduce additional evidence to obtain maximum compensation. Evidence in boating injury claims usually includes witness statements, medical bill, and the police accident report.
Third Party Liability
Negligent operators are legally responsible for boating accident injuries. A third party could be financially responsible for such injuries.
Most boaters rent equipment from a commercial lessor. If this company knowingly allows an incompetent operator to use its property, this company could be financially responsible for damages. This responsibility applies if:
- The company’s commercial activities included more than just renting boats, and
- An owner or agent was somehow negligent during the lease process.
Private owners who allow incompetent operators to borrow their boats might also be financially responsible for damages, under the general negligent entrustment rule.
Other third party liability theories include respondeat superior employer liability and dram shop alcohol provider liability. These theories are especially important in wrongful death actions. Many negligent operators do not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation in these matters.
Reach Out to an Experienced Port St. Lucie Boat Accident Attorney
Boat accidents often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced boat accident lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Smith, Ball & Báez Injury Lawyers. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.
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