A recent collision between a powerboat and a smaller vessel off the coast of Key Biscayne is a tragic reminder of the dangers of boating in South Florida. According to reports, two people were killed and 10 others were injured when the powerboat crashed into the smaller vessel.
According to eyewitnesses, people were screaming from the water that they were unable to swim, and a number of these people — including an infant — were not wearing personal floatation devices at the time of the collision.
This incident is currently under investigation, and the U.S. Coast Guard is working to determine the cause of the accident. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the families of those who were killed, and we hope for a full recovery for those who were injured.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, & Winkleman, P.A. may be able to help. With more than five decades in business, over 165 years of combined experience handling maritime cases, $300m (and counting) recovered for our clients, and a number of awards including being named “Best Law Firms” ® by US News & World Report since 2016, our team knows how to get results for our clients. And because our attorneys include board-certified maritime lawyers and we’re based in Miami, we understand the unique challenges that boaters face in our area.
With so many accidents happening on the water, it’s important to have an experienced maritime attorney on your side who understands the unique laws and regulations that apply to boating accidents. At Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., we have a long history of success handling maritime cases, and we can put our experience to work for you. If you have been in a boating accident, contact our firm as soon as possible to get started on your case with our internationally-recognized maritime law firm.
How To Prove Fault In Boating Collisions?
Whether you were involved in the Key Biscayne accident mentioned above, or another boating collision, it’s important to know that there are a number of different ways to prove fault in these cases that an experienced attorney will use to build a strong case for their client.
In some cases, it is very clear — such as when the other operator is cited for intoxication or readily admits fault — but in many other situations it can be much more complicated. Since boat wakes don’t leave permanent evidence like tire skids on pavement, and because it can be difficult to accurately assess the speed of a boat, you need an experienced maritime lawyer on your side who knows how to investigate and build a strong case.
Limitation Of Liability
A challenge in recreational boating cases arises from the Federal Limitation of Liability Act which, in certain circumstances, allows a boat owner to attempt to limit their liability from an accident to the value of their boat, after the incident. Often, the value of the boat is negligible when compared to the damages incurred as a result of the accident. The Limitation of Liability Act is a very complex set of laws which require study and experience to fully understand. Experienced maritime lawyers deal with the Limitation of Liability Act frequently and know how to navigate around attempts by a boat owner to limit their liability.
DOHSA vs Wrongful Death Claims
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a unique federal law that also may govern maritime accidents. DOHSA applies to deaths occurring on the high seas, usually more than three nautical miles from shore. This Act provides significant limitations on damages available to the families of those who die as a result of a maritime accident on the high seas. As such, DOHSA can often be a challenge for families seeking to recover damages, as most maritime accidents occur within three nautical miles of shore.
Victims in an accident such as this may have more options than they initially believe or which may be perceived by non-maritime lawyers. Our founder, Charles Lipcon, offered his insight into this tragic situation:
“When an accident such as this one occurs in territorial water, maritime law allows the use of the adjacent states’ wrongful death law. This can allow the survivors to recover far more money than in a case filed under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).”
This is a perfect example of why working with an experienced maritime lawyer can give you a significant advantage as you fight to recover the compensation you rightfully deserve after a boating accident that someone else caused.
Contact The Leaders In Maritime Wrongful Death Claims
If you have lost a loved one in a maritime accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced maritime lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options. At Lipcon, Margulies, & Winkleman, P.A., we have successfully represented families in DOHSA and wrongful death claims, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.