Gainesville Boating Accident Attorneys
Boat, Jet Ski & Other Watercraft Accidents in Florida
With its many lakes, rivers, and waterways, Florida is home to numerous recreational boating enthusiasts and professional maritime workers. Unfortunately, this also means that Florida sees more than its fair share of boating accidents each year.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 836 boating accidents in the state in 2020 (the latest year for which data are available), marking a 16% increase from the previous year. Of these incidents, nearly half involved collisions and 44% involved operator inattention, error, or negligence.
If you or someone you love was involved in a boating accident in Gainesville or any of the surrounding areas, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At Schackow & Mercadante, our attorneys have more than 126 years of combined experience and a long history of success handling complex boating accident claims. We understand the law and have what it takes to aggressively advocate for your full recovery.
What Are the Leading Causes of Boating Accidents?
Boat accidents—and other accidents involving personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis and Sea-Doos—are most commonly caused by error, negligence, or wrongful conduct.
Specifically, some of the leading causes of these incidents include:
- Inexperienced operators
- Operator inattention
- Failure to keep a proper lookout
- Intoxication/boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speeding, including reckless speeding
- Failure to follow navigational rules
- Mechanical failures
- Defective equipment, including safety equipment
- Defective boat or watercraft design
- Hazardous waters, weather, and other environmental conditions
Such behavior can lead to all types of boating accidents, such as collisions, falling overboard, capsizing, sinking, running aground, and more. Sadly, these and other serious boating accidents are often fatal.
Even when victims do survive, they are often left with catastrophic injuries, severe disabilities, and life-changing impairments.
Determining who is legally responsible, or liable, for your injuries and damages after a boating accident can be somewhat complicated. Many factors influence liability, such as the cause of the accident, whether either boat involved in a collision was a rental, the presence of defects, and more.
Depending on the specific details of your situation, the following parties could be partly or entirely liable for your boating accident damages:
- The operator of the other involved watercraft
- The owner of the other involved watercraft
- A boat or personal watercraft rental company
- A commercial fishing or boating entity
- The manufacturer of the boat or personal watercraft
- The manufacturer or distributor of a defective piece of equipment
- A passenger who acted recklessly or wrongfully
- An entity responsible for watercraft maintenance or repairs
At Schackow & Mercadante, we have the resources to properly and thoroughly investigate boating accident claims to determine what happened and who was at fault. Our attorneys work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to obtain evidence and build powerful cases for their clients.
We are known for aggressively negotiating with insurance providers, an approach that has helped us recover countless favorable settlements for our clients. While we always strive to resolve cases as quickly and efficiently as possible, we are also ready and willing to represent our clients at trial whenever necessary.
What Compensation Is Available for Boating Accident Victims?
When someone else—such as a careless boat operator or the manufacturer of a defective watercraft—is legally responsible for the incident that caused your injuries, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. By filing a claim, you can seek financial compensation for your economic and non-economic damages, or the losses you have endured as a result of the accident.
Common damages in boating accident claims include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care costs
- Lost income/wages
- Lost earning ability
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
When someone dies in a boating accident, whether due to drowning or other injuries, certain surviving family members may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party.
Common wrongful death damages include:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased’s final treatment
- Funeral and/or burial costs
- Loss of income, employment benefits, and financial support
- The value of services and support provided by the deceased
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of love, companionship, guidance, instruction, and protection
At Schackow & Mercadante, we understand that no amount of financial compensation can ever undo the immense pain and suffering you have been through. However, we have also seen firsthand how a fair settlement or jury verdict can allow victims and their families to recover the resources they need to begin the healing process.
Our Gainesville boating accident lawyers are here to assist you with your claim. If you have been injured or if your loved one tragically passed away due to a boating accident anywhere in Florida, reach out to our firm today to learn how we can help during a free initial consultation.
Getting back on your feet after a serious boating accident can be incredibly difficult, but with Schackow & Mercadante by your side, you can focus on healing while we handle the legal details of your case.
Our Gainesville boat and Jet Ski accident lawyers offer personal attention and compassionate, client-focused legal support. When it comes to resolving your claim, we are aggressive in pursuing the full and fair compensation you are owed.
“I met with Marie Banks to go over Car Accident Preparedness. She was awesome and so full of knowledge. Patient with all my questions and I left her office feeling good about the insurance I had and felt prepared if an accident were to happen. She treated me like family. Thank you! 10 out of 10 would definitely recommend.”
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Over 125 Years of Combined Experience
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