Have you or a loved one been injured in a boating accident in Fort Walton Beach, Florida? Our attorneys at Brannon & Brannon are knowledgeable about the complexities of maritime law and boating insurance. Contact our Fort Walton Beach boating accident lawyer or call our law office at (850) 863-5297, consultations are always free.
You deserve a top-rated lawyer. We’ve recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for those who have been hurt by others. That’s why Brannon & Brannon should be your first call after your accident on the water.
Since 1990, we’ve been helping injured victims throughout the Florida Panhandle. We’re trial lawyers with more than 60+ years of combined experience. We’re proud to call Northwest Florida home, and we’re committed to helping our neighbors in their time of need.
How Brannon & Brannon Can Help After a Boating Accident in Fort Walton Beach
Boating accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Recovery time could be significant. You need to concentrate on getting better. Let us handle the rest.
- Launch an investigation into the accident
- Get your detailed account of the accident
- Locate and interview witnesses
- Obtain all accident reports
- Handle all communications with insurance companies
- Negotiate aggressively for a favorable settlement, and
- Take your case to trial if necessary.
We’ll handle every aspect of your case from beginning to end. We’re here to help make your life easier. Call our Fort Walton Beach, FL law office to learn more about what we can do for you.
Boating Accidents in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Okaloosa County, which includes Fort Walton Beach, is one of the top counties in Florida for boating accidents. Fifty-eight percent of the boating accidents in the state occur in just ten counties.
In 2020 in Okaloosa County, there were 31 boating accidents. That’s not a large number (especially compared to car accidents), many of those accidents result in injury or death.
- More than half (16) resulted in injuries
- Two resulted in fatalities
- 17 involved personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis
The most common type of accident involved a collision with another vessel. The lack of boater education in the Sunshine State is startling. Over half (69%) of the watercraft operators involved in fatal accidents in Florida in 2020 had no boater education.
What is My Boating Accident Case Worth?
It depends completely on the facts of your specific case. We’ll be able to give you a better idea after a full case evaluation.
Some things that could affect the value of your case include:
- The type and extent of your injuries
- Whether you missed work due to your injuries
- Whether you’re expected to make a full recovery
- Whether you were at fault for the accident
- The extent of property damage
Accidents involving severe injury or death generally bring larger awards. We work diligently to determine all possible sources of recovery. We frequently hire experts to help calculate projected losses.
What Kind of Damages Are Available to Accident Victims?
Generally, you’ll be able to seek damages in two categories: (1) economic; and (2) non-economic.
Economic damages cover monetary losses such as:
These are damages that help to make you financially whole after an accident.
Non-economic damages can include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to enjoy life activities
These types of damages won’t have a specific monetary value, but are nonetheless incredibly important to your quality of life.
In rare cases, punitive damages may be available. These are damages intended not to compensate you, but instead to punish the defendant for wrongdoing (and hopefully teach them a lesson).
Can I Recover Compensation If I’m Being Blamed For Boating Accident in Florida?
Most likely, yes. As long as you aren’t solely responsible for your accident, you can still recover some compensation.
Florida’s pure comparative fault statute will require your compensation to be reduced by the proportion of fault attributed to you. But, you’ll still be able to get something.
This is where it really pays off to have one of our attorneys at Brannon & Brannon on your side. We’ll push back against unfair blame that could otherwise severely diminish your award.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation For All Of Your Boating Accident Injuries
Due to speed, lack of protective gear, and risk of drowning, boating accidents can result in catastrophic injuries or death.
Some common boating injuries are:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Injuries to face/jaw/teeth
- Wrongful death
We work in conjunction with your medical professionals to get a clear understanding of the extent of your injuries. We fight tooth and nail for compensation to cover all of your expenses, including the cost of ongoing medical treatment.
What Causes Most Boating Accidents in Fort Walton Beach?
Most boating accidents are preventable. They usually occur because someone was being careless.
The main causes of boating accidents in Okaloosa County are:
- Inattention/not having a proper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- General carelessness or recklessness
- Violating navigational rules
- Machinery/equipment failure
We work hard to pinpoint the exact cause so that we can hold all responsible parties accountable in your boating or jet ski accident.
What is Negligence and How Do I Prove It After a Boating Accident in Florida?
Negligence is a legal theory used to hold people financially liable for their carelessness.
Negligence has four main elements:
- Duty: the defendant owed you a duty of care
- Breach: the defendant breached that duty
- Causation: the breach caused your injuries
- Damages: you suffered damages as a result
To win your case, you must prove each element by a preponderance of the evidence. That means you have to show that it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries.
From your perspective, it might seem obvious. But when insurance companies get involved and try to place the blame on you, you need experienced legal counsel.
Any of the following evidence might be used to prove your case:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Testimony of medical, financial, and accident reconstruction experts
- Accident reports
- Maintenance records
- Evidence of alcohol or drug use
Our premier Fort Walton Beach boating accident attorneys know the complexities of these types of accidents. We’ve spent the last 30+ years helping injured victims fight for fair compensation.
What Should I Do After a Boating Accident in Florida?
Taking the right steps after your accident on the water can help your case.
Here are some key things to remember:
- Report the accident. Of course, call 911 if the situation is an emergency. If it’s not life-threatening, you should still call the police and report the accident.
- Be careful with your statements. Don’t say anything that suggests you were at fault for the accident. Be truthful to the police, but take a breath and remember that you were just in an accident and might not even know what really happened. We all want to make sense of tragedy, but don’t get caught up in trying to explain something without all the facts. The wrong statement could severely damage your case.
- Collect any evidence you can. If you’re able, take pictures of the watercraft involved and anything else of the scene. Try to get contact and insurance information from other parties involved. If you can, get contact information for witnesses.
- Seek medical attention. No matter how minor your injuries might seem, go get checked out within 24 hours. Many injuries are invisible. You may be in shock and not realize the extent of your injuries. Minor injuries could lead to complications later. A medical report right after your accident will be important for your lawyer to use in your case.
Finally, contact a reputable Fort Walton Beach personal injury law firm to discuss your legal options. A good lawyer will explain all of your options and advise you on the best course of action.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Boating Accident in Florida?
If you’re filing a lawsuit to recover for injuries, then you have four years. A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years.
You could have insurance claim deadlines as well, depending on your accident. Don’t mess around with these deadlines. Missing them could prevent you from recovering anything.
A reputable Fort Walton beach personal injury attorney can make sure your case is handled properly.
Contact Our Fort Walton Beach Boating Accident Lawyers For a Free Consultation
You don’t have to go through this alone. And you shouldn’t trust your future to the wrong attorney. Let our experienced Fort Walton Beach boating accident lawyers fight for the financial security you deserve.
We’ve been trusted throughout the Florida Panhandle for more than 30 years. We know the community and the court system in Okaloosa County and throughout Northwest Florida. With our experience, knowledge, and training, we’ve helped obtain millions of dollars in life-changing awards for our clients.
We know we can help you, too. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.