The allure of Miami’s turquoise waters and never-ending sunshine draws thousands of boating enthusiasts to its shores every year. However, amid this idyllic backdrop, accidents can happen, and when they do, understanding your options for compensation is all-important.
Boating accidents can lead to substantial physical, emotional, and financial burdens. If you’re injured due to another boater’s negligence, you can seek compensation through their insurance.
Knowing how to navigate the claims process in Florida and what a Miami boating accident lawyer can do on your behalf can help you get a fair settlement.
What Types of Insurance Pay for Boating Accidents in Miami?
When you suffer damages in a boating accident, you can file a claim with the responsible party’s insurer for compensation to cover related expenses and losses. Although not legally required, boaters in Miami often purchase boating insurance to protect their property and personal assets if they are involved in an accident.
This insurance can include boat liability insurance or commercial liability insurance, which covers damage to other boaters’ property or for personal injuries. It may also include uninsured/underinsured boater insurance, which pays for your damages if the person who caused your injuries doesn’t have liability coverage.
What’s the Claims Process for Boating Accidents in Florida?
If you’re the injured party in a boating accident, you will need to take steps to file your claim with the at-fault boater’s insurance to receive compensation. Understand that the claims procedure may start from the moment of your accident, so you need to protect your rights and gather evidence immediately.
A boating accident lawyer from Aigen Law Firm can walk you through filing a compensation claim. Take the following actions to protect your rights to compensation:
- Ensure your safety, then gather basic information: Prioritize safety after an accident. First administer first aid and call for additional medical care if needed, then gather critical information. This includes the accident date, time, location, involved parties’ details, boat registration numbers, vessel descriptions, and insurance information.
- Report the accident: Florida mandates reporting for certain boating accidents. Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or local law enforcement agencies if anyone suffered injuries beyond what basic first aid could handle, if anyone disappeared under circumstances indicating injury or death, or property damage exceeded $2,000.
You must also report to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) within 48 hours if a person injured in the accident dies within 24 hours of the incident or if they require more than first aid treatment. Otherwise, file a USCG report within 10 days.
- Contact your insurance company: Even if you are not at fault, inform your insurance provider about the accident. They may send an adjuster to estimate damage to your vessel, which you can use to file with the other boater’s insurance. It can also help you understand your policy’s coverage, including liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured boater.
- Gather evidence: For your claim to be successful, you must submit evidence of the damage and prove negligence by the other boater. Document the accident scene with photos, collect witness statements, and preserve relevant evidence like medical records and accident reports to submit with your third-party claim.
- Evaluate damages: With an attorney, thoroughly evaluate your damages for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and intangible suffering. This may require consulting with medical experts on long-term treatments or effects of your injuries and calculating future earnings you’ll miss out on due to the incident.
- File your claim: With the help of your boating accident lawyer, collect all documentation and initiate your claim with the liable party’s insurance company. This typically includes filling out their required forms and submitting copies of all documents that prove liability and your damages.
- Negotiate and settle: Most insurance companies may pressure you into accepting a lower offer than you deserve. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurer to arrive at a fair settlement.
If they refuse to pay, you can initiate a lawsuit to seek compensation, allowing a judge or jury to decide your potential damage award.
Contact Aigen Law Firm for Expert Guidance
In the aftermath of a boating accident, seeking proper guidance and support is crucial for a successful claim. At Aigen Law Firm, we specialize in assisting individuals like you navigate insurance claims.
Our qualified Miami boating accident lawyers can provide expert legal advice, guide you through the process, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us work on your behalf to win you a fair settlement to cover your boating collision injuries.