Boating on the Tampa Bay: A Favorite Pastime for Local Citizens
The Tampa Bay area has water on all sides and tourists and locals naturally go to relax and unwind near the ocean, lakes, and bays during the lazy summer months. People go boating with their families and friends and try to kick back and have a good time. While the majority of people act responsibly when driving their boats, there are always cases where boaters act recklessly and a boating accident occurs where someone is badly injured.
A Catastrophic Boating Case in Florida
One example of an extreme boating accident took place on May 27th, 2017, when a 32-foot boat owned by a local neurosurgeon hit the Midpoint Memorial Bridge in Cape Coral, Florida and took the life of a 12-year-old boy named Noah Pollock.
Noah and the Pollock family were preparing for a Memorial Day weekend trip to the Florida Keys when their boat struck the fender system of the bridge. The impact caused Noah and his brother, Wade Pollock, to fly off the boat and land in the water, while the adults remaining inside the boat were also badly injured.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued a report on the accident confirming that Noah was pronounced dead at the scene by local law enforcement. His 10-year-old brother Wade was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital and was found in critical condition when help finally arrived.
Although freak accidents do occasionally happen on the water, many collisions occur because of the negligence and recklessness of others. Boating accidents can cause severe physical and economic damage and a person should retain the services of a qualified attorney immediately if they are involved in a serious boating accident.
An Important Distinction Surround Florida Boating Laws
There are certain differences that arise between land-based and maritime personal injury cases. For example, the statute of limitations for filing a land-based personal injury case is four years from the date of the accident. Florida law also mandates that the statute of limitations for suing the reckless driver of a boat is four years from the date of the accident. However, maritime law states that a personal injury suit must be filed within three years from the date of the accident.
In order to apply the appropriate statute of limitations to a particular case, a person must determine if the water is navigable. In Briggs v. Jupiter Hills Lighthouse Marina, the court determined that a body of water is navigable if it is being used for commerce and trade or if it has potential to be used for such purposes. If the water is navigable, then maritime law would apply, and the statute of limitations would be three years. This is why the location of a boating accident is the most important factor when determining which laws are applicable to a case.
Protecting the Injured After a Boating Accident
While driving a boat may seem like a relaxing no-stress activity, the reality is that anytime you have someone operating a powerful vehicle accidents and injuries are bound to happen. These accidents can cause life changing injuries and soaring medical costs. Receiving a sufficient financial settlement is paramount in covering the costs of recovery and rehabilitation. If you have been unfairly injured in a boating accident in the Tampa Bay area you should contact the Matassini Law Firm, P.A. and schedule a consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys who can answer all of your questions.