Have you been the victim of a frightening boat accident? Are you wondering if you need a boat accident lawyer?
Like cars, boats can run out of gas or catch fire. Speeding and alcohol use can play a part in harmful things that happen. Yet boat passengers also take a risk of sinking or falling overboard.
In some cases, you may be able to collect insurance. Yet an accident lawyer is often required in order to make sure you get the compensation you need to get back on your feet.
Here’s when you may want to consider hiring a boat accident attorney.
1. The Boat Owner Doesn’t Have Insurance
Boat owner’s insurance will protect the owners of boats in case there is physical damage to their vehicle. It will also handle claims related to any injuries or death that get caused by the operation of the vehicle.
Boat owner’s insurance isn’t legally required in Florida, although it is recommended. If the owner of the boat where your accident occurred isn’t insured, you’ll want a quality legal team to represent your interests as you seek remuneration.
2. The Insurance Settlement Isn’t Enough
You may be able to file a claim with the boat owner’s insurance company in order to get some compensation for your injury. Your settlement may not, however, cover all of the expenses you’ve incurred due to your injury.
Your accident may have resulted in hospital stays, emergency room visits, and X-rays. And it may require ongoing care such as doctor visits and physical therapy. You’ll also need to think about the wages you’re losing if you need to miss work because of your injury.
If the costs of your accident are more than what an insurance settlement is offering, you may need a qualified lawyer on your side.
3. The Boat Operator Was Negligent
Accidents can happen when a boat operator is following all of the rules and looking out for your safety. However, if the driver of the boat wasn’t doing their job when you got injured, you may want to contact an attorney.
Your driver may, however, have gotten distracted by their cell phone or a conversation while they were supposed to be paying attention to the wheel. They may have been operating the boat at an unsafe speed or driving it while they were intoxicated.
A boat operator could also have been taking unsafe risks, such as sailing in bad weather or in areas designated “hazardous.” If this is the case, you were needlessly put at risk by someone who should have been looking out for your safety. It’s important to have a legal team that can argue your case and gets you the compensation you deserve.
4. Your Accident Got Caused By a Poorly Maintained Boat
A boat owner should regularly be checking their vessel’s safety. They should take it regularly to professionals who will make sure that the boat’s engine, hull, and electrical systems are functioning properly.
Also needing regular inspection are the HVAC system, plumbing, and upholstery. A boating expert will also check for moving parts, such as zippers or hinges.
Your boat owner is responsible for keeping the boat clean, fueled, and well-lubricated. If your accident got caused by a mechanical issue with the boat, it wouldn’t be uncommon. Yet the boat’s owner is responsible for regular maintenance to ensure that anyone on board is protected.
If your accident resulted from a boat that wasn’t properly cared for, you need to contact a local attorney so you get compensated for damages.
5. Your Injury Is More Serious
Some injuries are minor and require only temporary medical attention. These could include bumps and bruises or a few stitches.
Some injuries, however, require more prolonged attention and can impact your ability to function in your everyday life. These include injuries to your head, spine, or neck.
If your injury resulted in a real change to your ability to compete for daily tasks and requires regular medical attention with fees that add up, you’ll want to get a competent attorney on your side.
The Right Boat Accident Lawyer
Before you hire an accident attorney, you’ll want to do a little research to find a qualified professional. It’s important to choose someone local, as these folks will have intimate knowledge of the laws and regulations in your area.
Many lawyers offer free consultations, which gives you a chance to interview them and see if they’re a good fit for your case. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
What percentage of their caseload is devoted to personal injury cases? Can they give an example of a boat accident case similar to yours that they won? What was their strategy?
You’ll also want to get at least three references that you can speak to about their experience. Make sure you call and ask if they were happy with the way the case got handled and if they were treated with courtesy and respect throughout the process.
Many injury attorneys operate on contingency, meaning that they will only get paid a percentage of your winnings in a settlement. Make sure that you’re clear about how your attorney wishes to get paid before you hire them.
You’ll also want to get your lawyer’s fees in writing. The right attorney will be willing to explain anything you don’t understand.
A serious boat accident can be an overwhelming experience. With the right accident lawyer, however, you can be on your way to recovery in no time.
Don’t stop getting the compensation you need now. For quality personal injury attorneys in the Florida area, contact us today.