When you head out for a day in the sun, you don’t expect a boating accident to occur. Unfortunately, the Tampa area has a high rate of boating accidents. If you’re a victim of an accident on a boat in Tampa, you need to know what to do.
How you respond after a boating accident impacts the compensation that you can receive. It also affects the investigation and how those who cause the accident are held accountable for their actions. Our Tampa boating accident attorneys explain what to do after a boating accident in Tampa.
Overview of Boating Accidents in Tampa, FL
After a boating accident in Tampa, you should help injured parties. The law requires boat operators to take all steps to mitigate the harm after an accident. That includes helping victims to get treatment. It also includes protecting property as much as possible. After you respond to emergencies, you must make a report to law enforcement. It’s also essential to gather information for any other boat operators and witnesses that may have observed what happened.
How To Report a Boating Accident in Tampa
To report a boating accident in Tampa, you must notify law enforcement. You can make the report to any law enforcement authority in the jurisdiction where you are located. In Tampa, that is likely to be one of three agencies:
Hillsborough County Sheriff – (813) 247-8200
City of Tampa Police – (813) 231-6130
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – (813) 404-3922
However, in any emergency situation, you should always dial 911.
Florida law requires operators to report all boating accidents when there are more than minor injuries or damages. The threshold for injuries is when they are more serious than needing first aid. The standard for property damage is apparent damage of $2,000 or more. It’s always a good idea to call law enforcement if there’s any question about your obligations.
What Happens After a Boating Accident in Tampa
After a boating accident in Tampa, law enforcement investigates in most cases. They interview witnesses and examine the damage. In addition to conducting an investigation, first responders also assist with helping victims get the medical care that they need.
After law enforcement investigates, they file a police report. Law enforcement may bring criminal charges or make arrests for things like drunk driving or reckless operation. If the police don’t investigate for whatever reason, the boat operator must see that an official report gets filed.
Protecting Your Rights After a Boating Accident
If you’re injured in a boating accident in Tampa, you have legal rights. As a victim, the law may give you the right to claim financial compensation. What you do in the immediate aftermath of the boating accident may impact what you receive. If you do the right things after a Tampa boating accident, it can be much easier to get the compensation that you deserve.
Here are some things to remember if you’re in a Tampa boating accident:
1. Get Medical Care
Addressing medical needs for everyone involved is your first priority. Your safety is the most important consideration, but getting medical care is a crucial step in protecting your legal rights as well.
As a victim, it’s your duty to make sure your injuries aren’t made worse by failing to get the medical care that can help you. By getting help right away, you can begin healing and stop injuries from getting worse. Also, getting medical care verifies the injuries that you have to determine what compensation you deserve because of the accident.
2. Collect Information From Affected Parties
Be sure to get the name, address and boating registration number of any other driver involved in the accident. In addition, share your information with all affected parties. If you’re involved in a boating accident in which the boat’s owner is not present, Florida law 327.30(1) requires you to take all reasonable steps to notify the owner that the accident occurred.
3. Gather Evidence at the Scene
If you’re able, take time to gather the evidence that is available at the scene. When you’re at the accident scene, it’s your one chance to preserve what evidence might be there. Even in the chaos and confusion, if you can take the time to gather some evidence, it can make things easier as you work towards fair compensation for your damages.
- Photo evidence in a boating accident. It’s important to take photographs of the scene of the boating accident. You need to know where the accident was and what damage occurred. When you have photos, they can tell the story of precisely what happened. Don’t worry if you’re not a professional photographer. The purpose of taking pictures is documentation. Your attorney can help you sort through the photos later to build your case.
- Eyewitness testimony in a boating accident. Another important kind of evidence is eyewitness testimony. In fact, witness testimony is some of the most compelling testimony in any boating accident case. The police should also take witness information when they make their report.
4. Involve an Attorney for Tampa Boating Accidents As Soon As Possible
An attorney for Tampa boating accidents is experienced in the steps to take after an accident. They can help you secure evidence, approach witnesses and follow up with law enforcement. Of course, it’s never too late to talk to an expert attorney about your boating accident case. However, the sooner you work with an attorney, the more opportunities they’re going to have to secure evidence and advance your case.
How Our Tampa Boating Accident Attorneys Can Help You
Our Tampa personal injury attorneys want to help you after a boating accident. Here are some of the things we can do for you:
- Take the appropriate steps on your behalf after an accident to protect your rights
- Help guide you through the things you need to advance your legal rights
- Evaluate your legal rights; make the appropriate reports to law enforcement
- Building evidence to prove your case
- Taking steps to develop your legal strategy to maximize your compensation
- Representing you in negotiations for settlement and all court appearances
- Skilled legal advice and aggressive legal representation
If you’ve been hurt in a boating accident, call our Tampa lawyers for personal injury claims today. We’re a fully-staffed legal team with decades of experience and millions recovered for our clients. Call us today for a free consultation and to discuss what you might win for your boating accident case.