Monday, September 28, 2015

Liability for BUI Boating Accidents

Boating is a favorite pastime for Floridians. Visitors and residents alike enjoy taking a boat out on the water to enjoy the day with their friends and families. Unfortunately, anytime any type of motorized vehicle is involved, there is the risk of an accident and, anytime people are around water, there is risk for serious drowning incidents. Boating accidents have the potential to leave boaters and swimmers with severe injuries that can often be catastrophic or even fatal. One of the most common causes of boat accidents is boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance.

BUI is not only against Florida law,1 but can have serious consequences. Despite the risks, drinking and boating often go hand-in-hand. Relaxing on the water often involves alcoholic beverages—even for the person operating the boat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),2 alcohol is a factor in about 20 percent of fatal boating accidents and the resulting deaths could likely have been prevented if the boat operator had not been intoxicated. Anyone who sustains injuries or loses a loved one in a BUI boating accident has the legal right to obtain substantial compensation from the negligent boat driver.

Causes of BUI accidents
Everyone should know that drinking alcohol can cause errors in judgment and lapses in concentration. Any boat driver who has been drinking runs the risk of doing any of the following:

Failing to properly observe right of way laws or violating other boating regulations that result in a collision with another vessel.
- Taking a turn too quickly or turning too sharp, which can cause boat passengers to be ejected into the water.
- Ignoring possible weather hazards and staying on the water in adverse conditions.
- Driving too fast or in a manner that causes the boat to capsize.
- Failing to properly notice swimmers in the water and driving the boat over them.
- Not paying attention to skiers or tubes.

All of these accidents can result in serious injuries or death of people in the boat with the drunk driver, in other boats, or in the water.

Legal claims from BUI accidents
If you suffer an injury because a boat driver was intoxicated, you have the right to file a legal claim against the negligent driver for personal injury. If you sufficiently prove that the driver was intoxicated and caused the accident, you can recover for your medical bills, wages you lost during your physical recovery, your pain an suffering, emotional trauma, any permanent disabilities you suffered, and possibly punitive damages depending on the specifics of your case.

If your family member passed away because of a boat accident caused by an intoxicated driver, Florida law3 allows you to file a claim for wrongful death. If you prove the negligence of the boat driver, you can recover for funeral and burial expenses, as well as loss of companionship, loss of financial contributions, and much more.

Cases arising from boating accidents can be complicated because they often involve maritime law, which is a specific set of laws that regulate incidents involving vessels on navigable waters. At the Dolman Law Group, our attorneys have the understanding necessary to handle any case involving personal injury or wrongful death under maritime laws. Not every personal injury attorney knows how to apply these laws to a case, so you should always select a lawyer who has extensive knowledge of these complicated maritime laws.

Contact an experienced Clearwater boating accident lawyer for help today
Anyone injured by a drunk boat driver should contact an experienced Clearwater boating accident attorney as soon as possible. This type of case requires evidence of the driver's intoxication, which can include a criminal conviction for BUI but can also include circumstantial evidence, as well. We will conduct witness interviews and gather the evidence needed to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve under the law for your injuries or your wrongful loss. Boat accidents can be frightening, but the Dolman Law Group is here to help injured victims as much as possible, so call for a free consultation at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756