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Child Injured by Runaway Boat in Edgewater

Florida’s open waters draw many to this scenic state, but this feature also poses risks to residents and visitors. Boat collisions put passengers, swimmers, and others in danger.

Boating Accidents In September of 2018, the captain of an Edgewater boat was tossed overboard. The boat continued without its pilot, running wild in the nearby waters. It struck a five-year-old child who was swimming nearby, sending him to the hospital. The child recovered fully, so this story has a much happier ending than many other boating accidents.

Epidemic of Boating Accidents in Florida

If you scan the news, it’s clear that boating accidents are becoming a serious issue in Florida. In 2017, Florida saw a 14% increase in boating accidents. During the same year, 67 people died in boating-related incidents. Florida is first in the country for boating fatalities and accidents. It’s essential for captains to pilot safely and take extra steps to keep their passengers protected.

Causes of Boating Accidents

Inattention is one of the leading causes of boating accidents in Florida. In 2017, 38% of boating collisions that occurred in this state happened because the captain did not maintain a proper lookout. Operators are responsible for keeping a constant lookout so they can respond to weather changes and maintain a safe distance from other boats.

Operator inexperience is another common factor. Those new to this activity may be unable to safely navigate in poor weather or unfamiliar waters. While education is recommended for boat operators, fewer than 30% of pilots have completed any boating education courses.

Excessive speed also contributes to many Florida boating incidents. When navigating at higher speeds, a captain may lose control of the boat and cause a collision. The state enforces low speed limits along its coastline in an effort to protect swimmers, boat passengers, and local wildlife.

Some boating accidents occur because of defective equipment. Boating operators may fail to notice warning signs, be unfamiliar with routine maintenance needs, or miss recall notices that protect consumers from dangerous equipment.

Recovering Damages After an Accident

Boating incidents often cause significant property damage and bodily injury. Insurance companies may try to settle quickly for less than you deserve, leaving you unable to cover medical bills or future expenses.

Hiring a boating accident lawyer is an easy way to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your attorney can look at the details of your case, determine culpability for the accident, and determine your damages. Depending on the specific facts of the accident, you may receive compensation for medical bills, injuries, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of future income.

Let Us Represent You After Your Boating Accident

Whether a boating operator’s error or a malfunctioning vessel caused your accident, you need an aggressive attorney on your side. Reach out to Fetterman & Associates at (561) 288-8027 for a free case consultation.

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5 Tips for Staying Safer on the Water

5 Tips for Staying Safer on the Water

Boating is a popular past time in Florida. Unfortunately, the large volume of boats on the water increases the likelihood of a boat accident occurring. According to Statista, Florida has the highest number of boat accidents per year.  2,903 injuries occurred as a result of boating accidents in 2016, and there were 701 fatalities.

The key to preventing boating accident is safety.  Here are 5 tips that’ll keep you and your loved ones safer.

Tip 1: Keep Tabs on Your Gas

Running out of gas isn’t a major problem when you’re driving a car. You simply call a vehicle servicer to help you to get back on the road. But running out of gas presents a major risk when you’re boating. You could end up stranded in unknown waters. Plus, unseen currents could carry your boat even further away from the shore. Make sure you have enough gas for the day before you head out. Best practice is to always have at least 10% more gas than you think you’ll need. This ensures you’ll have enough, especially if an unexpected situation arises.

Tip 2: Wear Your Lifejacket

Always wear your life jacket, even if you’re a strong swimmer. You have them for a reason.  Boating accidents are unpredictable, and injuries can occur in the blink of an eye.  Wearing your life jacket ensures that if you sustain an injury and find yourself overboard, you don’t potentially succumb to drowning.

Tip 3: Be Thorough with Maintenance

Like cars, boats are made of thousands of moving parts. Conduct throughout checks on every mechanical aspect before you head out. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t risk it. Make sure you have a working radio on the boat at all times as well.

Tip 4: Conduct a Safety Briefing

While you may be an experienced boater, you can’t guarantee that the people you take with you share that same level of experience. Always conduct a safety briefing before you take anybody out on your boat. Ensure they have their own lifejackets and help them to understand the rules they must follow to stay safe.

Tip 5: Maintain a Safe Speed

Full-speed boating presents problems, regardless of the weather conditions. The faster you’re moving, the less time that you have to react to obstacles.  Bad weather and low-light conditions compound this problem. Don’t go faster than necessary when you’re on the water.

Contact Fetterman & Associates If You’re Involved in a Boating Accident

Even by following the tips outlined here, there’s no surefire guarantee that you won’t wind up in a boat accident. Other boaters may not follow this advice, which puts you at risk. The Fetterman & Associates Law Team can help you if a boating accident has affected you or a loved one. Contact us today at (561) 693-3872 to arrange a free consultation and to discuss your options.

Florida Hit and Run Boating Accident Leaves Man with Partial Amputation

Boating Accident AttorneyIt’s summer season and there are many boats to be found out on the glorious waters of Florida. It’s important to pay attention to the dangers associated with boating and always keep safety top of the mind when you’re going out on any watercraft, as a recent story illustrates. One man lost part of his legs in a recent boating accident in St. Augustine.

According to officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a ski boat struck the man’s boat on a Saturday night. The propeller of that ski boat then immediately cut off the victim’s lower leg.

The accident got even worse when the driver of the ski boat fled the scene of the accident, leaving it a hit and run. the suspect, however, was eventually located and questioned.

He could be facing both criminal and civil penalties. Unfortunately, accidents like this are all too common across Florida.

There are many different causes of potential boating accidents including distracted driving, driving under the influence, and lack of proper training.

No matter what the cause, if a boat operator acts negligently, he or she could put boat passengers in harm’s way.

As a hurt passenger, you may have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim to recover compensation, but you need to speak with a lawyer sooner rather than later to be sure.

Lack of Awareness Leads to Accidents

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, as many as half of boat operators have no formal education about how to protect themselves. Individuals who are involved in boating accidents need to seek medical attention immediately after the accident happens in order to protect themselves.

Many of the accidents that happen on Florida’s waterways could have been prevented if boat operators had been paying attention to the entirety of their surroundings, kept a proper lookout and if everyone on board had been wearing a life jacket.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, approximately half of all the boating accidents in 2015 involved collisions and slightly more than a third of all collisions were due to the operator failing to maintain a proper lookout or the operator’s inattention.

Boating Accident Stats in Florida

In 2015, Florida had 737 boating accidents. That is an increase by more than 100 accidents over 2014, although there was a 25% decrease in fatalities.

As the above St. Augustine accident shows, all it takes is a couple of seconds in a boating accident to change your life forever.

If you have sustained serious injuries in a boating accident that may be due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may have recourse by filing a personal injury claim in Florida.

Having an experienced Boating Accident Attorney lawyer walk you through all of the aspects of preparing for a case can be beneficial.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been in a Serious Boating Accident?

Many personal injury cases in Florida are resolved well before the litigation stage but you want an Boating Accident attorney who has experience with both settlement negotiations and preparing for trial.

It goes without saying that there may be expensive medical bills associated with your medical treatment following a boating accident, but you may also have sustained psychological damage as well.

If you have any evidence associated with your potential claim, collect it and put it together. This could include pictures of the damage, torn clothing, and your medical records.

If you are eligible to recover compensation in Florida, you must be able to show that you sustained serious injuries in an accident and that another party was responsible for those injuries.

Meet with an Experienced Florida Boating Accident Attorney

It’s a bad idea to try and work things out privately with the boat owner or operator who caused the accident, as you may be minimizing your potential injury recovery. Make sure you’ve had your claim evaluated by an experienced lawyer first.

Speaking to a Florida boating accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident has happened is the best way to protect yourself now and in the future.

A boating accident can even happen when you’re a tourist. Learn more about how to protect yourself in this blog:

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Local Radio Personality Named as Defendant in Personal Injury Suit

A tragic boating precipitated the death of a local man, and spurred a lawsuit for monetary damages. The personal injury lawsuit alleges that but for the negligence of the defendants, the death of the twenty-three-year-old victim would never have happened.

The complaint, filed by attorneys representing the deceased victims parents, set forth that DJ Laz’s unlawful behavior caused the death of Ernesto Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez was killed in an attempt to free a boat captained by DJ Laz, whose given name is Lazaro Mendez.

According to the Miami the fatal incident occurred during what had otherwise been a festive occasion. DJ Laz, an on-air celebrity at a Southern Florida radio station, had been hosting a promotional event for Voli brand vodka. The event featured a party boat emblazoned with the vodka company’s logo, and the vodka company has also been named as a defendant in the civil suit.

Personal Injury Suit

 A throng of revelers had gathered for fun in the sun during the party hosted by DJ Laz. Guests to the promotional event were served vodka and were enjoying dancing and music.

The celebration took a terrifying turn after the boat became caught on a sandbar at Key Biscayne’s Nixon Beach. Rather than waiting for the proper authorities to tow the boat free, DJ Laz solicited the help of party goers to push the boat,a 40-foot Hydro Sport Open Fisherman, back into open water.

Several party-goers heeded the call for assistance and began to push the boat. At this point, as claimed in the text of the civil complaint, DJ Laz “recklessly engaged the throttle of the engines.” Mr. Hernandez was then drawn into the propeller by the power of the engine and mortally wounded.

In a press conference addressing the lawsuit, Marcial Valdez, Mr. Hernandez’s mother, described her son as always being willing to come to the aid of others. He had recently graduated from the police academy.

In an article posted by Local, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators confirmed that DJ Laz was behind the wheel of the vessel at the time of Mr. Hernandez’s injury. Additionally, DJ Laz refused to take part in field sobriety tests directly after the incident, but overtly displayed no signs of being inebriated.

An attorney for Ms. Valdez spoke at the press conference as well saying that an “experienced captain had no rational business asking people to push the boat free while revving the engines,” knowing that the likelihood of injury was immense. The attorney went on to say that questions were left unanswered as to how such a disaster could have happened leading to the death of an “innocent boy.”

In addition to the damages sought by the lawsuit, Ms. Valdez seeks to tighten boating regulations to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. She hopes to inspire a new law named after her son.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, please contact immediately West Palm Beach boat accidents attorneys at Fetterman and Associates and our team of experienced personal injury attorneys west palm beach at 561-880-4610 for a free legal consultation.

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