In case of an accident, what’s the next line of action?

As summer gathers momentum to reveal itself soonest, most people are looking forward to having an endless water fun experience especially with the arrival of the 4th of July. However, it is sad to know that while many boaters are unaware of the general code of conduct on waterways and other governing laws, the level of preparation on ground is nothing to write home about. In the real sense, many boaters are still yet to understand what their responsibilities are especially in the face of a boating accident or incident.

Under federal law, it is expected that boaters report every case (both minor and major ones) of watercraft and boating accidents to the water authorities. In Florida, there are about 5 agencies assigned to patrol the waterways.

What time is right to file an accident report?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, it is the responsibility of the watercraft operator who has been involved in the accident to file a report. And in a situation whereby the operator is physically unable to do so, then it becomes the responsibility of the boat owner to report an incident.

There are certain boating accident cases that required by law to be reported with a space of 48 hours. The operator or owner of the watercraft must be ready to do this when

–   A crew member or passenger dies within 24 hours of the occurrence

–   The whereabouts of a person formerly on the vessel cannot be ascertained and injury or death is suspected

–   Medical treatment beyond first aid is required to handle a personal injury.

Boaters are also required by law to report within 10 days, accidents that involve watercrafts, their equipment or any of these situations:

–     The death of a person discovered after 24 hour hours of initial occurrence

–    When there is a total loss of a vessel

–    Property damage worth more than $2,000

Boaters are required to adhere strictly to these laws as they are very important in the area. Every Florida boating & cruise line accident lawyer understands the reporting rules and can help you forward them to the right authorities. Since alcohol is known to be one of the major leading causes of boating accidents in Florida, it is important to know that they (the authorities) will often want to administer toxicology tests especially when boaters are cited for not reporting an accident.

When filing a claim, insurance companies may consider a boater’s failure to report an accident to authorities. The importance of understanding the laws and safety regulations guiding watercraft operators and owners on the waterways around Florida cannot be overemphasized. Your Florida boating & cruise line accident lawyer will tell you all you need to know about this.