The greater Miami-Dade County area leads the nation in number of boat accidents. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement keeps statistics on boating accidents throughout Florida and reports them in annual reports. The most recent year with full data on accident causes is 2021, but this still helps us get a good picture of what kinds of boat accidents are most common, and how injuries occur. Miami boat accident attorney Prosper Shaked discusses some of the leading causes of boat accidents and how common boat accidents are in Miami. If you need a lawyer for your boat accident case, Prosper Shaked offers free consultations.
Causes of Boat Accidents in Florida
Florida is the state with the most boating accidents in the country. Moreover, Miami-Dade County and the surrounding counties alone are responsible for more boat accidents than California, the state with the second most accidents. But what causes these accidents?
By far, the most common cause of boat accidents is collision with another vessel. This includes boat-to-boat accidents, as well as accidents where one boat crashes into a smaller vessel (e.g. during a jet ski accident). The second biggest type of accident by number of accidents comes from collisions with a stationary object, followed by accidents involving flooding boats, then falls overboard, then running aground.
The vast majority of boat accidents in Miami occur during “recreational cruising.” This shows that accidents are more common on pleasure cruises or simple recreation boats. The third most common activity during an accident is recreational fishing, followed by commercial boating in fourth place. (The second-highest activity is listed as “Other.”)
In addition to the type of accident, the Commission also assesses the primary causes. Many accidents are caused by multiple contributing causes rather than one, singular cause. According to the Commission’s statistics, the number one contributing cause in the highest number of boat accidents is inattention. This means that many boat accidents truly are accidents, brought about by someone who failed to pay attention. Similarly, the second-highest cause of boat accidents in Miami is “operator inexperience.” This matches with the fact that many accidents occur on recreational vehicles, which could be rented boats or boats that people only use on weekends rather than commercial or fishing vessels with more experienced pilots.
In 2021, the top 15 primary causes of Boat accidents as assessed by authorities in Miami-Dade County, Florida were:
- Inattention (Boat operator was distracted and not paying attention) (227 accidents)
- Other (52 accidents)
- Operator Inexperience (92 accidents)
- Mechanical Failure (51 accidents)
- Excessive Speed (45 accidents)
- Careless or Reckless Boating (36 accidents)
- Weather (35 accidents)
- Hazardous Water (29 accidents)
- Alcohol/Drug Use (28 accidents)
- Off Throttle Steering Jet (18 accidents)
- Hull Failure (18 accidents)
- Equipment Failure (17 accidents)
- Sharp Turn (16 accidents)
- Congested Water (15 accidents)
- Violation of a Navigational Rule (14 accidents)
Suing for Boat Accidents in Miami, Florida
If you were injured in a boat accident, you may be able to sue the responsible parties. If your accident involved more than one vessel, as most do, or you were injured as a passenger on a boat, you may be entitled to sue the boat operator who caused the accident. In the case that multiple operators or parties were responsible for causing the accident, you may be able to sue multiple parties at once.
Suing a lawsuit for your boat accident injuries can help you get compensation. Many boat accident victims face injuries from falling overboard and falling inside the boat. This can mean serious head trauma or back and spine injuries sustained during a fall. In some cases, this may mean hospitalization and a lengthy recovery process.
After you are involved in a boat accident, it is important to seek medical care. Not only does this help you recover to the full extent, but your doctor’s records act as excellent evidence of the extent of your injuries. Your doctor can testify to the seriousness of your injuries, discuss your recovery, and provide evidence of how the injuries will affect you going forward.
You may be able to recover compensation for multiple types of damages. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and direct compensation for your pain and suffering. Damages for medical expenses can include not only the cost of surgeries or doctor’s visits, but also compensation for imaging (e.g. X-Rays or MRIs), medical transportation, and medical equipment and devices. If you miss work because of your injuries, you can recover compensation not only for the wages you already missed but also for the wages you will miss going forward.
Compensation for pain and suffering is difficult to calculate but is nonetheless one of the most important parts of a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the severity of your injury, the location of the injury, and how the injury will affect your life, you could experience more or less pain and suffering. Talk to an attorney about how much the damages in your case might be, and what compensation you might be entitled to.
Boat Accident Injury Attorney in Miami, Florida
If you or a loved one was severely injured in a boating accident in Miami, take your case to Miami personal injury attorney Prosper Shaked. Prosper Shaked represents injury victims in personal injury and boat accident cases in the Miami area. For a free consultation on a boating injury in Miami or another part of Florida, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676.