Hit and Run Boating Accidents
Florida Today reported that a female surfer was struck by a boat off Cocoa Beach in early July and suffered injuries. The boat driver fled the scene but according to Space Coast Daily, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators have identified a suspect. A boat driver who leaves the scene is not only failing to take responsibility, but according to Florida Statute 327.30, they are committing a third degree felony. Aside from the criminal charges they face, a person that is injured by a hit and run boater who is later identified can file civil charges against the boat driver to seek compensation.
Why Hit and Run Boating Accidents Are So Dangerous
Hit and run boating incidents are similar to hit and runs caused by vehicular traffic on the roads. Like on the roads, boat drivers who are intoxicated may flee the scene because their judgement is impaired and they fear being punished for the alcohol consumption as well. The main difference is that if the boat hit an injured person who was in the water at the time, their lack of protection can lead to serious injuries. Furthermore, if a person is injured badly enough or goes into a state of shock, they could potentially drown without assistance. People who are more at risk are:
- Surfers; and
- Anyone who is ejected from the boat without a lifejacket.
What to Do If You Are Hit and The Other Boat Flees
If you are in a collision on the water, the other boat driver is legally required to stay at the scene until they have rendered aid and exchanged vessel information. If they decide to flee instead it is worth noting what direction they took off in and any identifying characteristics of it such as:
- Size of the boat;
- Type of boat;
- Hull color;
- Boat name;
- Whether the boat had fishing gear, jet skis, or other equipment on board; and
- The people onboard.
Once you are able, report the incident to the Florida FWC, the local police department, or the sheriff’s office. They will be able to investigate the case further and hopefully identify the boat and driver. Even if they fail to find who caused the collision, you may be able to file a personal injury claim with your own boater’s insurance. Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage could help cover expenses. A knowledgeable attorney will help you gather all of the evidence you need to file a claim. You can seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and more.
Contact an Orlando Boat Accident Attorney If You Were Injured on the Water
It is horrific enough to be hit by a boat, but to have the responsible party flee the scene without any concern for your safety is traumatic. You do not need to handle a boating hit and run accident along. Let the experienced and compassionate Orlando boat accident attorneys at Payer Law help you seek compensation for the damages sustained. Contact us at 407-307-2979 to schedule a free consultation today.