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Pensacola Boating Accident Lawyer

a speed boar on the waters of Florida

Have you been injured in a boating accident in Pensacola or along the Florida waterways? A boat accident could cause you to suffer severe, life-altering injuries. You may need expensive medical care and long-term rehabilitation. You could also miss work due to injuries or permanent disabilities, or you could lose the ability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed.

If your life has been turned upside down by a watercraft accident, a Pensacola boat accident lawyer from Cardoso Law, PLLC, will work hard to obtain justice for you. We will handle your boat accident lawsuit so you can focus on what matters most – your physical and emotional recovery.

Choosing a boat accident lawyer in Pensacola will be one of the most important decisions you make in your boat accident claim. When you turn to us for help after a watercraft accident, we will earn the trust you have put in us by providing you with care, compassion, and respect. Our Pensacola personal injury lawyer will work as hard as necessary to get you maximum compensation. We’ll aggressively negotiate for a full settlement or take your case to court if insurers refuse to pay you a fair amount.

Reach out to Cardoso Law, PLLC, for a free initial consultation after being injured in a boat accident through no fault of your own in Florida.

Proving Liability in Boat Accident Cases

At Cardoso Law, PLLC, we thoroughly investigate boat accident cases to recover the evidence needed to prove the liability of a watercraft operator or other parties.

Examples of evidence we use in boat accident claims include:

  • Law enforcement accident reports
  • Accident scene photos or videos
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Post-accident boat inspections
  • Dispatch records
  • Cell phone records
  • Accident reconstruction reports

In addition to a boat operator, other parties who may have liability for a boating accident include:

  • Boat charter operators
  • Boat or watercraft rental companies
  • Boat mechanics
  • Boat/watercraft manufacturers or manufacturers of boat parts or equipment

How Our Pensacola Boat Accident Law Firm Can Help You

The boat accident law firm of Cardoso Law, PLLC, can help you pursue your rights to financial compensation. Our firm will handle all the details of preparing your case and advocating for your interests so that you can keep your focus on recovering from your injuries. You can expect that our legal team will:

  • Investigate the facts and circumstances of the accident to recover evidence and identify parties liable for your injuries and losses.
  • Document your injuries and your ongoing and future expenses and losses to determine the compensation you need.
  • Determine the extent of insurance coverage available to compensate you.
  • Discuss your legal options with you and explain what to expect at each stage of your case, as well as answer questions you may have and provide updates on the progress of your claims.
  • Work with accident reconstruction experts and medical, vocational, or financial experts to help us build a compelling, persuasive case on your behalf.
  • File your insurance and legal claims to begin the process of recovering compensation for you.
  • Aggressively negotiate with the insurance companies and at-fault parties to reach a fair and full settlement, or take your boating accident case to court if necessary to pursue maximum financial recovery for you.

What You Should Do If You Are Involved in a Boating Accident

Steps you should take after a boating accident to protect your rights to financial recovery for your injuries and losses include the following:

  • Make sure to report the accident to the authorities as soon as possible.
  • Take photos of details from the accident scene, such as vessel damage or weather/water conditions.
  • Gather information from the boat operators involved in the accident as well as any witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as you can to obtain a diagnosis of injuries you sustained in the accident.
  • Do not delay treatment of your injuries, and follow your medical provider’s treatment plan and instructions.
  • Request copies of your medical records from your treatment and any law enforcement accident records.
  • Keep bills, receipts, and invoices of expenses you incurred due to the accident, as well as copies of your pay stubs or income records if you missed work due to your injuries.
boat accident in the waters of Florida

Finally, talk to a boat accident injury lawyer from Cardoso Law, PLLC, to discuss the next steps to pursue your right to financial recovery.

What Are the Florida Boating Laws?

Florida Statutes Chapter 327 and Chapter 328 codify Florida boating laws. Rules for boaters in Florida to know include:

  • All boats must register with the local tax collector’s office, except for non-motorized vessels less than 16 feet in length, non-motorized racing shells or sculls, kayaks, or canoes.
  • Certificates of registration must be kept on board for inspection by an enforcement officer.
  • Boats must have registration numbers on the forward half of both sides of the vessel above the waterline.
  • Registration decals must be renewed annually and placed within six inches fore or aft of the registration numbers on the port side.
  • Boat operators involved in an accident that results in injuries requiring more than first aid, death, the disappearance of a person, or $2,000 or more in property damage, must immediately provide notice of the accident to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the county sheriff, or the local police chief.
  • Operators may not leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information with all other persons involved.
  • Operating a boat with willful disregard for safety or in violation of federal navigation rules constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • Boats in a “minimum wake” zone must operate fully off-plane, while in a “no wake” zone, boats must operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain headway.
  • Operators born on or after January 1, 1988, must complete an approved boating safety course and obtain an identification card from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • All boats must have U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices of appropriate sizes for each person on board, while vessels 16 feet or longer must have at least one USCG-approved throwable Type IV personal flotation device.
  • Children under the age of 6 must wear a USCG-approved personal flotation device while on board a boat under 26 feet in length underway.

Common Causes of Florida Boating Accidents

Frequent causes of boating and watercraft accidents in Florida include:

  • Defective Watercraft or Parts – Defectively designed or manufactured boating equipment or watercraft can lead to an accident when the defect causes a mechanical failure.
  • Inadequate Maintenance – Poorly maintained equipment on boats can also lead to mechanical failure that causes an accident.
  • Boating Under the Influence – Boat operators under the influence of alcohol or drugs suffer from impaired perception, reaction time, and judgment, making it more difficult to control a watercraft.
  • Reckless Operation – Reckless operation of a boat or watercraft may include speeding, disregarding warning signs or buoys, operating in unsafe areas, or overloading a boat or watercraft.
  • Inadequate Lookout – Boat operators must keep an eye out for other traffic and hazards on the water, including flags or buoys indicating subsurface hazards like rocks, debris, or divers in the water.
  • Operator Inexperience – Operators who lack boating experience may not know navigational rules or how to handle emergencies on the water.
  • Distracted Boating – Distracted watercraft operation includes using a cell phone, drinking or eating, or interacting with passengers.
  • Poor and Hazardous Weather/Water Conditions – Operating a boat or watercraft in high winds, low visibility, or high seas increases the risk of an accident.

What Compensation Can I Recover from a Boating Accident?

handing over cash

A Pensacola boat accident attorney from our firm can help you learn more about your right to recover compensation for your expenses and losses.

After a boating accident, you can recover compensation for expenses you incur due to injuries or property damage, including for:

  • Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation to treat injuries you suffered in the accident, including hospital care, surgeries, prescriptions, or physical/occupational therapy
  • Expenses for long-term care you need for permanent disabilities that result from your injuries
  • Loss of income and future earning ability if injuries prevent you from returning to work after the accident
  • Physical pain and anguish
  • Emotional trauma or distress
  • Physical impairments or visible scarring and disfigurement that cause you embarrassment or interfere with daily living
  • Repair bills for fixing damage to your boat or reimbursement of your boat’s value if it is destroyed or sunk in the accident

Contact a Pensacola Boat Accident Attorney Today

Contact a Pensacola Boat Accident Attorney Today

At Cardoso Law, PLLC, we represent boating accident injury victims in the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Metro Area, throughout the Emerald Coast, and along the Florida Panhandle. We dedicate ourselves to making things right for our clients after someone else’s negligence caused them to be injured.

Our goal is that those responsible for your boat accident injuries are held accountable. We will exert every effort to get you every penny you deserve for your expenses and losses. Plus, you owe us nothing unless we secure a financial recovery for you in a settlement or at trial.

Learn more about how we can assist you with recovering full compensation and justice from those who caused your injuries. Contact a Pensacola boat accident lawyer from Cardoso Law, PLLC, today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Ryan Cardoso