Tampa Boating Accident Lawyer

Boating and airboating are fun and popular pastimes in Florida, but like driving, it does come with some risks. Boat and airboat operators are required to drive their boats and other watercraft in a safe and responsible manner. When they don’t, they can end up causing serious accidents. Out on open water where there is a risk of drowning, these accidents can even be fatal.


And, while no commuter or passenger embarks on a boating trip with the expectation of a mishap, unfortunately, boating accidents are all too common in waterways, lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans. In the case that you have been the victim of a boating accident, we are offering some answers to the essential questions you might be asking.

Under Which Conditions do Most Boating Accidents Occur in Florida?

Inexperienced and negligent drivers are leading causes of boating accidents. Our experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers are prepared to investigate your accident to determine what role negligence played in causing your injury. Boating accidents can result from a variety of causes, including:

  • Operator inattention or inexperience
  • Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Excessive speed
  • Violating navigational rules
  • Equipment failure

If you have been involved in a preventable collision with a boat, jet ski, or other watercraft in central Florida, you may have the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party for your medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. If an investigation of your accident reveals that your accident was caused by a defective part within your watercraft, we can help you secure compensation from the manufacturer.

What are the Most Common Injuries from a Boating Accident?

Injuries from boating accidents can range from mild to deadly. Additionally, just like with any other accident, they may take hours, days, or even weeks to manifest. The most common injuries sustained in boating accidents include:

Some injuries, such as drowning and oxygen deprivation, can be prevented when individuals wear a life jacket while out on the water. Doing so can also help prevent other injuries, such as those sustained when there is a secondary impact when the victim is in the water. 

Florida offers a boating safety certification course that can give you the training you need to survive or save someone else’s life after a boating accident. 

I was injured in a boating accident. What should I do? 

Seek appropriate medical attention immediately. If you are unable to use your cell phone, look for passengers around you, or look to the operator of the boat for assistance. In almost all instances, boating accidents will be affecting passengers other than yourself as well, so first and foremost, follow the directions being broadcast and remain calm.

Make sure to give the doctor accurate information about your injury and the events surrounding it; these documents will be useful should you choose to pursue options in court, as they can be used as proof of injury. If at all possible, you should attempt to capture photos or video of the time and location of your injury, and you should examine the area for witnesses and/or other victims and try to gauge their reactions as well. 

This will be helpful for your attorney to argue that your settlement must match the gravity of the injuries you have suffered. The more tangible evidence of negligence or wrongdoing that you can produce, the better case an attorney can make for the worth of your legal claim. 

In order to file a report of the accident, contact your local sheriff, police department, or governmental department in charge of fishing and wildlife in your state. The police will conduct an investigation to determine negligence and/or wrongdoing that might have resulted in the accident. 

When is a Written Boating Accident Report Required in Florida?

Florida law requires a written boating accident report whenever the following conditions are met:

  • The accident results in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of a person 
  • When damage to any boat or other property amounts to at least $2,000

It is illegal in Florida to leave the scene of a boat accident without following the proper reporting procedures. Those involved in a hit and run boating accident may be subjected to criminal prosecution.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Florida Boating Accident?

Once your medical needs have been attended to by a qualified doctor or healthcare provider, you should consider your options for legal action, bearing in mind that the boating company responsible will be seeking its own legal protection. It is likely that the responsible boating company’s insurer and legal team will take advantage of the victims of the boating accident, hoping to minimize their financial damages and potential liabilities. 

Settling on the terms of the boat operator or company’s legal counsel might seem like the easiest option in a moment of incredible stress, grief, and loss, should your physical and/or emotional damages amount to that, but this is not the option that will keep your best interest in mind. 

Generally, you are entitled to more than the boating company representatives will suggest that you accept; this will come in the form of a settlement reached in mediation, with the intention of avoiding trial. 

Who can be Held Liable in a Boating Accident?

It will depend heavily on the circumstances of your claim. In the case of a boating accident, there are many third parties who may be deemed negligent, entitling you to legal remedy. These parties could include:

  • The operator of the boat
  • The boating company
  • The distributors, manufacturers, and workers contracted by the boating company
  • Local government authorities in charge of regulating waterways and boating services

Boating accidents do not only affect passengers and commuters but also might affect surrounding boats and their passengers. If you were injured in a boating accident and your involvement was in one of those alternate capacities, you could be eligible for financial compensation as well, should you be able to establish that your injuries were directly related to negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the boating company involved. 

There are time constraints on your ability to take legal action; these limits vary depending on the case, so you should reach out to a firm representing plaintiffs for boating accident injuries as soon as you can in order to gauge your options. Hiring a boating accident attorney will be your best path to legal recovery in holding any potential third parties responsible for their negligence and assuring that your settlement appropriately reflects the extent of that negligence. 

How Much is my Boating Accident Case Worth? 

It depends, of course, on the nature of the accident. In order to get an accurate sense of the worth of your case, you must also make a case for the damages personally suffered after your accident. These damages can include medical costs, time spent in the hospital, physical and emotional trauma, time off of work, and any other ongoing difficulties. 

Once you have given as much clarifying detail as can be provided, your attorney can assess how much you may be entitled to in compensation. If you choose to pursue legal recovery, settlement out of court is the likeliest option; in the event that your case moves to trial, it is still likelier than not that the case will settle at some point in the process of trial.

What Happens if a Boating Accident Results in Wrongful Death?

In the case of wrongful death, the next of kin are entitled to legal action. In Florida, this will mean that the spouse of the deceased party can sue the negligent party. If there is no spouse, the next in line are children; if there are no children, the next in line are parents; if there are no parents, the next in line are siblings. 

How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Boating Accident Attorney?

We offer free initial consultations; we also work on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not incur any legal fees unless and until we are able to secure a legal victory for your case. These terms will appear in writing in a contract signed by you and your attorney. In the event that a settlement is reached, your legal fees will be folded into your recovery.

A boating accident can be a traumatic experience, with the potential for far-reaching, life-altering damages. If you or a loved one was a victim of a boating accident, we hope that you consider and assess your available routes of legal remedy and hire an attorney with whom to consult your prospective case. 

We Can Investigate the Cause of Your Boating Accident

Inexperienced and negligent drivers are leading causes of boating accidents. Our experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers are prepared to investigate your accident to determine what role negligence played in causing your injury.

Boating accidents can result from a variety of causes, including:

  • Operator inattention or inexperience
  • Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Excessive speed
  • Violating navigational rules
  • Equipment failure

Hire an Experienced Boating Accident Attorney in Tampa

At Darrigo & Diaz, Attorneys at Law, we represent victims of boating accidents who have suffered an injury due to the carelessness of another. If you have been hurt and are struggling to pay your medical bills, we encourage you to get in touch with our firm to schedule a consultation with an attorney. Boating accident victims deserve to be compensated for their losses, which is why we work hard to maximize recoveries for our clients.

We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients, and there are no fees unless we win your case. We provide 24/7 availability, and you can contact us at (813) 774-3341 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation right over the phone. 


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