What to Do After a Boat Accident?

May 7, 2024 | By Mike Hancock
What to Do After a Boat Accident?
What to Do After a Boat Accident

Boating in Tampa offers both splendid leisure and unexpected challenges. As thrilling as navigating the clear waters is, accidents do happen, necessitating a clear plan of action to ensure safety and legal protection.

At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we understand the upheaval such incidents cause and are here to provide the guidance and support you need during these difficult times.

With a commitment deeply rooted in our local community, we stand ready to help you handle what to do after a boat accident with compassion and proficiency.

If you’ve been injured in a boat accident in the Tampa area, contact Boat Accident Attorneys at (813) 915-1110 to find out how we can help you today.

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5 Immediate Steps to Take After a Boat Accident

The initial moments can be chaotic and frightening when a boating accident occurs. Here are the key actions to take immediately following a boat crash:

  1. Ensure Safety. First and foremost, check for injuries among all passengers and crew. Prioritize getting everyone to a safe spot. If anyone is in the water, assess their ability to get back on board safely.
  2. Call for Help. It’s important to notify the Coast Guard or local marine patrol immediately. If service is available, use a VHF radio or a cellphone to report the accident and request assistance. Provide your location, the nature of the emergency, and the type of help needed.
  3. Document the Scene. If it’s safe, take photos or videos of the accident scene, which can be invaluable for insurance claims and potential legal actions. Note the positions of all vessels involved, any visible damage, and the conditions at the time of the accident.
  4. Exchange Information. Collect the names, contact information, and insurance details of the other parties involved in the accident. Also, gather contact information from witnesses.
  5. Preserve Evidence. Secure any physical evidence related to the accident, such as parts of the boat that may have been damaged or objects that contributed to the accident. Only make repairs or alterations to the vessel once an expert has examined it, as this might affect your claims or legal standing.

Taking these steps can help stabilize the immediate situation and lay the groundwork for the necessary legal and insurance processes that may follow.

The goal is to manage the situation calmly and efficiently, securing the safety and rights of everyone involved.

What Should I Do if I Get Hurt in a Boating Accident?

Got Hurt in Boating Accident

Addressing medical needs is paramount after ensuring immediate safety and reporting the accident.

Here’s how to manage this critical aspect:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention. Even if no injuries are apparent, it is wise for everyone involved to undergo a medical examination. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, might not show immediate symptoms but can pose serious health risks if left untreated.
  • Document All Medical Care. Keep detailed records of all medical treatments received. This includes hospital visits, prescribed medications, and consultations with healthcare professionals. These records are crucial for insurance claims and any potential legal actions, as they provide a documented link between the accident and the injuries sustained.
  • Follow Medical Advice. Adhering to the treatment plan prescribed by healthcare providers is essential. This ensures proper recovery and supports your legal claim, demonstrating that you have taken all reasonable steps to mitigate further health complications.
  • Consider Long-Term Health Effects. Be aware of the potential long-term effects of your injuries. Some may require ongoing treatment or rehabilitation, which should be considered when discussing compensation with insurers or in legal claims.

By prioritizing health and keeping thorough records, you safeguard both your physical well-being and your ability to effectively handle the legal and insurance aspects of the accident aftermath.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Boat Accident in Tampa?

After a boat accident, understanding your legal options is essential for protecting your rights and interests:

Contacting a Tampa boating accident attorney skilled in maritime and personal injury law can provide guidance. A Florida boat accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and the specific laws that apply to your case, such as maritime or local boating laws.

A Boating Attorney Understands Maritime Law

Boating accidents often fall under maritime law, which has rules different from terrestrial personal injury law. Your attorney can explain how these laws affect your case and what legal remedies are available.

Reporting the Boat Accident

Certain types of boat accidents must be reported to the relevant authorities, such as the U.S. Coast Guard or local marine patrol, within specific time frames. Failure to report can be legally detrimental.

The U.S. Coast Guard mandates that the operator or owner of a recreational vessel must file a boating accident report with the state reporting authority if the accident results in death, injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, disappearance under circumstances indicating possible death or injury, or significant damage to vessels and property totaling $2,000 or more.

Reports must be filed within 48 hours for accidents involving death, serious injuries, or disappearances and within ten days if only property damage occurred.

Additionally, you must provide information on the appropriate accident reporting forms, such as the CG-3865 Recreational Boating Accident Report form, widely accepted by most states and territories.

Preserve Your Rights After a Boat Accident

It's important to take legal action within the statute of limitations, which varies by state and the nature of the incident. Your attorney can ensure that all necessary steps are taken promptly to preserve your rights.

Consider Liability and Negligence

Understanding who is at fault in a boating accident can be complex. Factors like boat maintenance, operator behavior, and adherence to boating laws play significant roles.

An attorney can help identify the liable parties and gather the evidence to support your claim.

Navigating the aftermath of a boat accident includes understanding the legal landscape, which can significantly impact the outcome of your claims and recovery process.

How to Choose the Right Tampa Boat Accident Attorney

Tampa Boat Accident Attorney

Selecting an attorney after a boating accident involves more than finding a legal representative; it means choosing a partner who will advocate for your best interests during a challenging time. 

The following are the key factors to consider when looking for the right attorney:

Experience in Boating Accident Cases. Look for a lawyer with a successful track record in handling boating accident claims.

This experience is vital as it brings an understanding of the nuances involved in maritime law and local boating regulations.

Local Knowledge and Presence. An attorney familiar with the local waterways, laws, and legal practices can be immensely beneficial.

This knowledge helps the attorney navigate the complexities of your case more effectively.

Reputation and Client Testimonials. Reviews and testimonials from past clients can offer insights into an attorney’s capability and reliability.

A strong reputation in the community is a good indicator of the attorney’s commitment and success rate.

Availability and Communication. Your attorney must be available to address your concerns as they arise and communicate regularly about the status of your case. A responsive lawyer informing you can make the legal process less stressful.

Transparent Fee Structure. Understand how the attorney charges for their services. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they receive a percentage of the settlement or judgment. Make sure this structure is clear and acceptable before proceeding.

Initial Consultation. Most attorneys offer free consultations. This meeting is a chance to ask questions, gauge the attorney’s understanding of your case, and determine your comfort level with their approach.

By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that you choose an attorney who has the legal expertise necessary to secure the best outcome for your case and respects and understands your personal experience and needs.

How to Handle Insurance Claims After a Boat Accident

Insurance Claims & Damages

After a boat accident, dealing with insurance claims is important to ensure you receive appropriate compensation.

Here are some key actions to take:

  1. Prompt Notification. Inform your insurance provider about the accident immediately. This helps initiate the claims process according to your policy's terms.
  2. Review Your Insurance Coverage. It’s essential to understand the specifics of your insurance policy. Know what is covered, including limits and exclusions, to gauge better how the policy can work for you in this incident.
  3. Keep Detailed Records. Document all interactions with your insurance company and other parties involved in the accident. Save all receipts, bills, and other paperwork related to the accident. This documentation is essential for supporting your claim.
  4. Assess All Settlement Offers Carefully. Be cautious of initial settlement offers from insurance companies, which may only partially cover your losses. It’s beneficial to consult with your attorney to evaluate these offers thoroughly.
  5. Engage in Negotiations. Your attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company to aim for a settlement that truly reflects your damages and losses.
  6. Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution. If disagreements over the claim cannot be resolved through negotiation, options like mediation or arbitration might be considered. These alternatives can be less adversarial and more cost-effective than litigation.

By following these steps, you can manage the insurance claims process more effectively, helping to secure the compensation you need to recover from the accident.

Contact a Tampa Boat Accident Attorney Today

Experiencing a boating accident in Tampa can be a profoundly unsettling event that impacts not just your physical health but your emotional and financial well-being as well.

When you or a loved one suffers due to such an accident, the road to recovery can seem daunting. You do not need to navigate this path alone.

The dedicated team at Hancock Injury Attorneys is prepared to stand by your side and guide you through the complexities of legal recovery, ensuring you are able to face these challenges with support.

At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we focus on personal injury cases, particularly those involving boating accidents in the Tampa area.

Our firm is uniquely qualified to handle your case. We have extensive knowledge of Florida’s maritime laws and a robust track record of securing favorable client outcomes.

When you reach out to us, the first step is a no-cost consultation, where a seasoned personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case and outline the best course of action.

Our legal team understands the profound impact a boating accident can have on your life. Beyond the immediate physical injuries, the emotional and psychological aftermath can be severe.

As your legal representatives, we do more than pursue the compensation you are entitled to. We offer a holistic legal support approach, emphasizing your immediate and long-term needs.

This includes guiding you through medical evaluations, handling negotiations with insurance companies, and, if necessary, advocating for you in court.

We are committed to achieving justice and ensuring you receive the comprehensive support necessary during this taxing time.

This commitment means we tirelessly advocate for your rights while offering the empathy and understanding you need.

Our approach is centered on clear communication, transparency in our legal strategies, and a deep-seated commitment to your overall well-being.

This ensures that every step taken is in your best interest, aiming for a resolution that meets your immediate and future needs.

Furthermore, our team is acutely aware of the nuances involved in boating accident claims in Florida.

These cases often involve complex legal considerations, such as maritime law specifics, liability issues, and the intricacies of insurance claims.

Leveraging our deep expertise, we strategically navigate these areas to build a compelling case on your behalf.

We aim to secure a settlement or court verdict that adequately compensates for your injuries, financial losses, and emotional distress.

Contact us by calling (813) 915-1110 or filling out the contact form on our website.

Doing so can set up your free initial consultation, the first step towards reclaiming your life and moving towards a brighter future.

With Hancock Injury Attorneys, you are not just a case number but a valued community member who deserves justice and respect.

Hancock Injury Attorneys stand ready to fight for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Let us help you restore your peace of mind and secure your future after the traumatic experience of a boating accident.

Mike Hancock


People involved in serious accidents experience loss and often don’t know what to do next. Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Mike Hancock has dedicated his career to handling the recovery process for his clients so that their lives can get back to normal.

Mike has excelled in personal injury litigation for over 30 years and even though that’s earned him numerous professional honors, what’s most important to him is meeting directly with you and his commitment to giving you peace of mind.

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