In places like Miami, boats are frequently owned and operated for business, pleasure, or even travel, which makes boat accidents far more common in South Florida than nearly anywhere in the country. But just how common are they? And what kinds of injuries do they usually cause? Miami boat accident lawyer Prosper Shaked shares some statistics on boating accidents in South Florida. If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer like Prosper Shaked about your case.
Boat Accident Statistics in Florida
Florida had the highest number of boating accidents of any state in 2019 (the most recent year with available national boat accident statistics). According to the US Coast Guard’s stats, there were 679 boat accidents in Florida in 2019. This puts Florida at 355 more accidents than the next closest state (California). Of these accidents, 55 accidents were fatal, 299 included non-fatal injuries, and 338 were property damage only.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement has its own statistics for 2020 that break down these accident stats further. In 2020, there were a total of 836 boating accidents in the State of Florida. Of these 836 reported boating accidents, 77 accidents were fatal with 79 total deaths.
Miami Boat Accident Statistics
Miami-Dade County, by itself, had 95 reportable boat accidents in 2020. Five of these accidents were fatal, and 68 resulted in personal injury. In total, there was a total of $3,063,372.00 worth of property damage in these accidents. This was the county with the second most accidents, following behind Monroe County. In Monroe County, there were 99 accidents, 9 of which were fatal and 52 of which involved injury. These Monroe County boat crashes accounted for $708,036.00 worth of total property damage.
Overall, we can see that South Florida has some of the most boating accidents in the country, with a total of 194 accidents in 2020 in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties alone.
Causes of Boat Accidents in Florida
The Wildlife Conservation Commission also tracks the leading causes of boat accidents in Florida, resulting injuries, and fatalities in boating accidents, which gives us excellent insight into how many boating accidents happen in the first place.
Drug or alcohol use often an identifiable factor in crashes, and played a role in around 25% of all boating accidents. Many boat accidents caused by operating a vessel while intoxicated allow the victims to recover compensation for their injuries. Since boating under the influence is a crime in Florida, it simplifies proving that the drunk boat operator was at fault for the accident.
Most boating accidents occurred at night, peaking between around noon and 6pm (with the absolute highest point between 2pm and 4pm). Most accidents were in the ocean/gulf or bay/sound areas, as opposed to rivers or lakes. Most accidents are caused by a crash with another vessel (224 accidents), but many are caused by impact with stationary objects (163 accidents).
The Commission also studies the manner of injury after the initial impact. The vast majority of these injuries come from falls overboard (132 accidents). The next 3 most common methods of injury are persons struck by a boat involved in an accident (62 accidents), capsizing (54 accidents), and falling while in the boat (49 accidents). Falls into other objects, against the floor or bulkheads inside a boat, or being struck by another boat carry a significant risk of traumatic brain injury and later drowning.
The primary causes of boating accidents were also explored. Though alcohol use was involved in around 25% of accidents, the top 6 causes of boat accidents were:
- Inattention (Boat operator was distracted and not paying attention) (240 accidents),
- Operator Inexperience (77 accidents),
- Mechanical Failure (65 accidents),
- Weather (53 accidents),
- Careless or Reckless Boating (48 accidents), and
- Speeding (63 accidents).
Suing for Boating Accidents
Can you sue a Miami boat rental company or a negligent driver in a boating accident? If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, take your case to a boat accident lawyer. If your injuries were severe, you may face expensive medical bills, lost wages, and serious pain and suffering. All of these damages may be compensation in a lawsuit under Florida law.
Any medical expenses that stem from the accident can be claimed against the party who injured you. This includes emergency medical treatment, doctor’s visits, medical procedures, and rehabilitation. If you had to miss work or are too injured to go back to work, you may be able to recover your lost paychecks as well. This includes paychecks you already missed during recovery, and any you will continue to miss if you can’t go back to work.
Lastly, you may be able to recover direct compensation for your pain and suffering. This is more difficult to put a price on, but you may still be able to cover substantial amounts for serious injuries.
Miami Boat Accident Lawyers
After a boat accident, talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case. These statistics show that you are not alone, and that hundreds of others are injured in similar ways every year. For a free consultation on your boat accident case, and for help understanding your next steps, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today by dialing (305) 694-2676.