Monday, March 23, 2015

Drinking and Boating Can Lead To Serious Injuries

Boats and the Florida coastline often go hand-in-hand. Many Florida residents and visitors alike head out on the water with their families or friends to enjoy a peaceful and fun day at sea. Unfortunately, not every boating experience is a good one. At times, accidents may occur on the water that leave boaters seriously injured or that even cause fatalities. One common reason for dangerous boating accidents is drinking and driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports1 that use of alcohol is involved in an estimated 20 percent of boating deaths—all of which would likely have been preventable. There is no excuse for boat accidents caused by drunk drivers and anyone who is injured or lost a loved one should contact a motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible.

Social acceptance of drinking and driving a boat

Nearly every adult understands that drinking and driving a car or other motor vehicle on dry land is dangerous and prohibited by law. Drinking and driving a car is furthermore generally frowned upon by friends or others who may try to stop someone from drunk driving. For some reason, the same attitude toward drunk driving does not necessarily apply to boating. In fact, drinking alcohol and boating are often directly associated with one another.

While there is usually nothing wrong with adults having a drink while they enjoy the water, the person driving the boat should always remain sober. This does not always occur, however. Additionally, when a group of people is on a boat, they often take turns at the wheel, especially if people are engaging in water sports or otherwise getting into the water. This increases the chance that an impaired driver may end up operating the boat at some point during the outing.

Causes of DUI boat accidents

Boat accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, and the risks only increase when a driver has been drinking. Some common causes include:

·         The driver of the boat fails to observe right of way or other rules of the water and collides with another boat.
·         A driver of another boat fails to observe rules of the water and collides with the boat on which you are riding.
·         A driver takes a turn too sharply or quickly and you get thrown from the boat.
·         A driver fails to observe people in the water and collides with them.
·         The driver ignores potential adverse weather conditions.
·         The driver accidentally capsizes the boat.

Many boat drivers may be relatively inexperienced and drinking while boating only increases the chances that they will make a dangerous error and cause injury or death.

Wrongful death from DUI boating accidents

Because of the high risk for drowning, boating accidents often cause tragic fatalities. Reports indicate2 that 58 people died in Florida alone from boating accidents in 2013. If you have a loved one who died in a boating accident caused by a drunk driver, Florida's Wrongful Death Act3 allows you to file a claim to recover for your loss. While no amount of money will ever bring your loved one back, financial compensation from the responsible person can provide assistance with unexpected costs, loss of financial support, and can give surviving families a sense of closure and justice for their loss.

Contact an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer for a free consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating or other water accident due to a driver who had been drinking, you should not delay in discussing a potential case with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible. Boat accidents can have complex legal issues that may differ from other types of motor vehicle accidents. However, the skilled attorneys at the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida understand how to handle this type of case and all of the potential complications that may arise.

Boating should be a fun activity for everyone and anyone who causes injury due to drunk driving of a boat should be held liable. Call our office today at 727-451-6900 to schedule a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900