In Florida, boating accidents are on the rise. According to data from the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC),there were 836 reportable boating accidents in 2020 , up 26% from 2019, and 387 collisions with either another vessel (224) or a fixed object (163). Even more alarming, fatalities are on the rise with over 79 fatalities in 2020, up 16% from 2019. The same data reveals that 69% of the operators in fatal boating accidents had no formal boating education, and there are an estimated 1 million non-registered vessels actively using Florida’s waters, with that number predicted to grow.
When a fun day in the water leads to one of the worst days of your life, especially with an inexperienced operator or an unregistered vessel, you may be tempted to wait and see how bad your injuries are. However, there are a few important things to understand about Florida’s time limit, also called the statute of limitations, on when you can file a lawsuit or claim for a boating accident. In this brief article, we’re sharing important information from a Tampa boating accident personal injury lawyer in Tampa with our team at Inkelaar Law to help you understand how long you have to file a claim and why it’s important to act fast.
There are a few important factors that can impact the statute of limitations for boat accident claims in Florida. The most important factor is whether the waters fall within Florida state boating law, or if the waters are governed by Admiralty law, otherwise known as federal maritime law. Florida statutes of limitations only apply to accidents that occured in the water within the boundaries of Florida.
For example, lakes, rivers, or oceans that are located between states would fall under Admiralty (federal maritime law), while a lake or river contained within the boundaries of Florida are governed under the state.
But what about Tampa Bay? While Tampa Bay is technically within the bounds of the state, it is still governed by federal maritime law Admiralty governs bays, gulfs, and oceans. It’s also important to note that even if Florida law governs a portion of the bay, federal law always supersedes local law.
The big question is always “how long do I have to file my boating accident claim?”
The answer? It depends on all of the factors named above:
Whether you were injured yesterday or a year ago and are still feeling the repercussions of someone else’s boating negligence, it is challenging to navigate boating accidents alone. Always contact a personal injury attorney after a boating accident in Tampa with Inkelaar Law. Our attorneys will help you understand the statute of limitations for your specific case, and will help you understand the options available to you.
If you have been injured in an accident and are interested in filing a personal injury case, you need an attorney who will help you get back on your feet. Contacting an attorney with Inkelaar Law in Tampa is the first step in holding the responsible parties accountable and getting you the compensation you deserve.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.