Who is Liable for Injuries on a Rental Boat?

One of the most appealing attractions in Florida are its beautiful waterways, which continue to be a mainstay for both visitors and locals alike. The nearly year-round warm weather makes it a popular destination for boat rentals at the many beaches, lakes, rivers, inlets, and canals. However, increased activity on the waterways means boating accidents are more likely to occur. 

Injuries sustained in a Florida boating accident are usually the result of a collision with another vessel of some kind. Depending on the impact of the crash, accident victims can suffer from a myriad of injuries ranging from minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises — to more serious damages, such as severe lacerations, broken bones, spinal cord damage, soft tissue damage, long-term disability, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. 

If you or a loved one suffered a maritime injury on a rental boat, you may be wondering who may be liable for your damages. Inquiring with a licensed attorney may be crucial to help you hold the at-fault party liable and pursue the full amount of financial compensation you may be legally eligible for. This is important because you could recover costs for medical care, lost wages if you missed work while recovering, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the collision.

At the law firm of Frankl & Kominsky, our attorneys work hard to help protect the rights of maritime injury victims in West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida (by appointment only). Our accomplished attorneys have obtained more than $100,000,000 in successful verdicts and settlements on behalf of our past clientele. Contact our firm today to schedule a complimentary, initial consultation and learn whether your claim is eligible for compensation. 

Below, we discuss liability for an accident on a rental boat and what you will need to accomplish to prove your maritime injury claim with the help of your lawyer. Depending on the details of your situation, understanding your rights as an accident victim could help you avoid paying out-of-pocket costs related to your injuries. 

Florida Boat Rental Liability Laws

Although you may think there are some similarities between a car crash and a boating accident, the rules are much different in Florida. Boating safety laws in the Sunshine State are enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Unlike owning a car or truck, boat owners in Florida are not legally required to purchase insurance for their vessel. However, it is highly recommended to do so, especially if you plan on renting or loaning the boat to others.  

Standard liability insurance coverage protects against boat damage, injuries to passengers, and other items that may be on board at the time of the collision. Having this type of coverage may also protect the boat owner if another vessel is damaged in the accident or the boat causes damage to a pier or dock. Standard liability coverage also provides protection from theft, fire, or storm damage. 

However, if the owner decides to rent or loan the vessel out to another party, who is not listed in the insurance policy, the owner could be held liable for damages sustained, should an accident occur. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney may be necessary to avoid paying for the damages out-of-pocket.  

What is a Waiver of Liability?

Most boat rental companies ask renters to sign a waiver of liability before handing over the keys. If the waiver is valid, it means the boat owner will not be liable for any damages while the boat is in possession of the renter. To have a valid waiver, it must meet two conditions:

  1. The waiver must clearly indicate the rights that are to be waived.
  2. The waiver must be written clearly enough for an ordinary person to comprehend the rights that are to be waived. 

However, just because you signed a waiver of liability, it does not necessarily mean the boat owner is free from all liability in the event of an accident. If the court finds the language in the waiver to be confusing or questionable, it might not be enforced. 

Some waivers of liability may include a clause that provides protection for the owner against negligent behavior. On the other hand, if the particular negligent act is not included in the waiver, it may not be enforced in court. 

If you need legal assistance regarding a maritime injury and a waiver of liability, we recommend discussing your situation with a licensed lawyer from our firm. We offer free, initial evaluations to help you learn your legal options to help you seek the proper amount of compensation you may rightfully deserve. 

Contact a Law Firm You Can Count On

Boat accident injury cases can often be complex and difficult to prove without the help of a reputable law firm you can count on. Hiring a lawyer from a well-established firm significantly increases your chances of having a successful maritime injury case so that you can pursue the full amount of compensation you may need to make a full recovery. 

If you or someone you care for was injured in a boating accident, contact the law Firm of Frankl & Kominsky to schedule a no-cost, initial consultation. With over four decades of combined legal experience, our reputable attorneys have handled more than 6,000 cases combined, which include maritime injury cases.    

Altogether, our award-winning attorneys have helped our clients garner more than $100 million in successful verdicts and settlements. We have extensive knowledge of local and state maritime laws, as well as past cases, which can be used in court to help back your claim.

Our compassionate attorneys understand the struggles injury victims and their families must deal with after a devastating boating accident. Medical costs, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering, and other expenses related to the crash, can sometimes leave accident victims not knowing where to turn. If you have a viable maritime injury claim, you could recover these costs for past, present, and future needs related to your injuries. If you lost a loved one in a boating accident, surviving family members could be eligible to recover these expenses, plus funeral and burial costs. 

While many personal injury law firms try to settle cases quickly without preparing them for court, our lawyers never settle for less, and are always prepared to go to trial and fight for justice on your behalf. Let our team of legal professionals guide you through the litigation process so you can focus on a healthy recovery. 

Fill out a free case evaluation form or give us a call anytime, 24/7 at (561) 800-8000.

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