Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Matassini Law Firm
FREE Consultations Available
813-217-5715
TAMPA
Matassini Law Firm > Blog > Boating Accidents > Common Issues in Alcohol-Related Boating Accidents

Common Issues in Alcohol-Related Boating Accidents

Boat6

The countdown to Memorial Day, which is the unofficial first day of summer, has begun. Many people will spend most or all of this weekend on the water. In Florida, practically anyone can operate a boat, even if they have no nautical training or experience. But that’s not the major problem. Alcohol is a factor in about a fifth of the fatal boat accidents in Florida.

Boats are hard enough to operate when the operator is 100 percent able to perform the task. Powered watercraft are difficult to steer and do not stop on a dime. Alcohol makes boat operation almost impossible. This substance inhibits motor skills and impairs judgement. So, just one drink is enough to cause an alcohol-related boat crash.

Compensation in an alcohol-related boating accident usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

First Party Liability in Alcohol-Related Tampa Boat Accidents

Typically, Tampa boating accident attorneys must use circumstantial evidence to establish alcohol impairment in these cases. Many times, the emergency responders are game wardens or park rangers. These well-trained individuals sometimes do not have advanced Breathalyzers and other such equipment. So, to establish impairment, victim/plaintiffs can use evidence like:

  • Erratic vehicle operation,
  • Slurred speech,
  • Bloodshot eyes, and
  • Unsteady balance.

Typically, this evidence only establishes alcohol consumption. But since impairment begins at one drink, if the tortfeasor (negligent actor) consumed any alcohol, the tortfeasor was probably also impaired for negligence purposes.

Additionally, many intoxicated boaters face DUI charges. In Florida, it’s illegal to operate any vehicle, such as a car, truck, motorcycle, or boat, under the influence of alcohol or another substance. In the Sunshine State, if tortfeasors violate the DUI law, they may be liable for crash damages as a matter of law. That’s true even if the tortfeasor escapes criminal punishment due to a technicality or a not-guilty verdict at trial.

Third Party Liability

Retracing the tortfeasor’s steps is also a good way to establish alcohol liability. Many people went from places that serve alcohol to the lake. In these cases, third party liability might apply as well.

Vicarious liability is very important in boat accident cases. Most auto insurance policies do not cover these losses, and most people buy little or no insurance when they rent boats. Without some form of vicarious liability, the victim may be unable to obtain fair compensation.

Under Florida law, bars, grocery stores, restaurants, and other commercial alcohol providers are vicariously liable for boat accident damages if:

  • They illegally sell alcohol, and
  • The illegal sale substantially caused the tortfeasor’s impairment.

In Tampa, illegal alcohol sales include sales to minors and sales to people who are habitually addicted to alcohol. Noncommercial alcohol providers, such as party hosts, might be vicariously liable as well, under doctrines like negligent entrustment or negligent undertaking.

Contact Dedicated Lawyers

Alcohol-impaired boaters often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa boating accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.

Resource:

uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2017.pdf

https://www.matassinilaw.com/boating-accidents/breaking-down-boating-accidents-in-tampa/

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The experience you need in your pursuit of justice

The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorneyÕs advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneyÕs need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay personal injury lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa personal injury lawyers, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
888-377-0011
Toll Free
813-217-5715
Tampa
2811 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, Florida 33609
GET DRIVING DIRECTIONS
+