Boating Accident Fatalities are Making Waves in Miami
The summer is in full swing and the local waterways are jammed packed with boaters enjoying the sun, warm weather, and calm tides. Unfortunately that also means that boating accidents are going to occur. In 2013, there were 104 reportable boating accidents in Miami-Dade County, amounting to upwards of $1.6 million in property damage and 4 fatalities. In one single, horrific event at the end of an annual 4th of July celebration off of Key Biscayne, that number of fatalities was tragically matched.
At approximately 10:35 p.m. on July 4th, a 32-foot powerboat raced through the key and ultimately crashed into a 36-foot boat carrying a family of 8. The damaged powerboat then careened out of the first crash and smashed into a third boat. Within a matter of minutes, a joyful and exuberant celebration turned into a drifting nightmare. This devastating boat crash marred an otherwise festive holiday weekend.
It took about a week before authorities were able to sort the mess out, but in the end there were 4 people dead, another 3 critically injured, and dozens more traumatized by what they witnessed. The investigators surmised that alcohol, night boating, and a lack of safety education all played a part in this deadly event. And this was not the only high-profile boating accident to occur this summer in South Florida, it was just the latest. Earlier this year, a young man was killed by the whirling propellers of a boat that was inexplicably gunned while being trapped in a sandbar.
Lax Boating Laws to Blame Too
Chapters 327 and 328 of the Florida Statutes establish the bulk of the boating laws governing the waterways of the state and provide guidance to commercial and recreational users of those waterways. Currently under the law:
The operator of a vessel involved in a boating accident where there is a personal injury beyond immediate first aid, death, disappearance, or any person under circumstances which indicate death or injury, or if there is damage to a vessel(s) and/or personal property of at least $2,000, must, by the quickest means possible, give notice to one of the following: the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the sheriff of the country where the accident occurred, if applicable.
It is unlawful for any person operating a vessel involved in a boating accident to leave the scene without giving all the possible aid to the involved persons and without reporting the accident to the proper authorities.
As the law currently stands, a charge of reckless operation of a vessel is a first-degree misdemeanor, a relatively minor charge.
Authorities state that there are nearly 900,000 vessels currently registered in the state of Florida and with the registration, operation, and penal laws being so lenient, it is a wonder that accidents do not occur every day.
Contact a Miami Attorney
If you or someone you love is involved in an accident involving a boat or vessel, it is imperative that you secure experienced representation as soon as you can. Along with the physical injury and pain that usually follow an accident, individuals often have to deal with mounting medical bills, lost wages, property damage, insurance companies, police reports, information requests, and much more.
Our firm has a team of lawyers that is prepared to work to get you the compensation you deserve to provide for you in the wake of the boat crash. Contact the Perez–Gurri Law Firm today in order to discuss your available legal options after a boating accident. We serve clients in the greater Miami area.