Florida Cruise Ship & Boat Accident Attorney
The east coast of Florida is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and South Florida is generally filled with waterways of all sizes. Miami, Florida in particular is home to the Port of Miami, which is the largest cruise ship port in the entire world and has been so for more than two decades. Additionally, Port Everglades, found in Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami, is the third largest cruise port in the United States. This allows for a tremendous amount of boating traffic in the area and in turn numerous boating and cruise ship accidents. Cruise ships are intended to be safe, fun, and relaxing vacations that offer a plethora of activities, shopping and sun for all ages. However, with the hundreds of cruises coming and leaving each day, and the thousands of passengers on board each cruise, accidents are a common occurrence.
Cruise ship operators, such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises and their respective employees owe a duty of reasonable care to passengers. This means that they must protect passengers from dangers that occur during the cruise. For example, the employees of a cruise ship are obligated to keep the decks dry or provide warnings that an area may be wet. Failure to do may result in liability for the cruise line operators and owners. Additionally, cruise ship operators must care for their employees, and thus may be liable should an employee be injured while onboard.
There are many different types of cruise ship and boating incidents of which the owner, operator and/ or some other individual or corporation may be held liable. These include negligent operation accidents, traditional slip and falls, contaminated food cases and recreational activity accidents. Accidents may differ on the duties of care and standards of liability depending on the specific facts of each case, and on whether it is a cruise ship, privately owned vessel or a commercial vessel accident.
It is important to note that because of the special laws that apply off shores, it is essential to contact a Florida cruise ship & boat accident attorney promptly should a cruise or boating accident occur. Traditionally, the law requires that cruise ship operators be contacted within six months following an accident.
Recreational Boating Accidents
Nearly a million boats are registered in the state of Florida, which ranks third in the nation for the most vessel registrations. With 1,350 miles of coastline, over 30,000 lakes and 1,540 navigable miles of intracoastal and inland waterways, the opportunities for recreational boating seem limitless. Boating can be tremendous fun, but it’s important to always remember safety. Serious accidents, injuries and deaths can and do occur every year because of negligent or reckless boat operation, defective boating equipment and other factors. If you or a loved one were injured in the water, the Florida personal injury attorneys at Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. can help you recover compensation for injuries caused in recreational boating accidents, personal watercraft mishaps and other watersports injuries.
Florida boating accident statistics
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement compiles statistics of boating accidents on Florida waters. Their 2016 statistical report revealed 714 boating accidents that year, resulting in 67 deaths. With 67 reportable accidents causing 37 injuries and seven deaths, Miami-Dade County was second in the state for the most boating accidents and injuries, behind only neighboring Monroe County. There are 66,422 total vessels registered in Miami-Dade, and 95% of them are recreational vessels.
Open motorboats are the vessels most often implicated in Florida boating accidents, followed closely by cabin motorboats and then personal watercraft. By far the most common type of boating accident is a collision with another vessel. The second leading type of accident is collision with a fixed object.
Inattention far outpaced all other causes of boating accidents. The second leading cause was operator inexperience, followed by machinery failure. Many other causes are attributed to various types of negligence, such as speeding, careless or reckless driving, alcohol use, sharp turns and improper loading.
At Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A., our Florida personal injury trial lawyers go after all responsible parties in a boating accident, including negligent boat operators as well as manufacturers of defective boats or components, repair shops that performed improper maintenance or repairs, and rental companies that failed to provide equipment in good working order or neglected to include important safety gear and devices.
Florida requirements for boaters are minimal
It’s no surprise that operator inexperience is a leading cause of boating accidents in Florida, given that the state has next to nothing in the way of laws, requirements or qualifications for boat operators. Not only do you not need to obtain any type of operator’s license, Florida does not even have a minimum age you have to be in order to drive a boat. The law does require operators born in 1998 or later to take a boater safety course, but this course does not require any actual boating experience and can be taken online. The 2016 statistical report found that 70% of those involved in boating accidents didn’t have any kind of formal boater education.
Call Our Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyers after a Florida Boating Accident
If you or a loved one were harmed in a Florida boating accident due to operator negligence or recklessness, defective equipment or other causes, call Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. for a free consultation. We’ll help you get compensation to deal with your injuries, and we won’t charge a fee if we can’t recover for you.