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Who is Liable After a Boat Accident?


Boating accidents are serious and leave victims with catastrophic injuries. If someone else’s negligence caused your crash, you should not have to pay for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses. You can recover damages from the liable, or at-fault, party but first, you must identify who that party is. Determining who caused your accident is rarely as straightforward as it may first seem. Below, our Florida boat crash lawyer outlines some of the most common liable parties in these accidents.

Boat Captains 

In many accident cases, boat captains are at fault. Under state law, boat captains have a legal obligation to safely operate their vessels at all times. Still, recklessness, inexperience, distracted boating, impaired boating, and other forms of carelessness are not uncommon factors in boat crashes.

Boat Owners 

Even when boat owners are not at the helm at the time of the crash, they can still be held liable for a boat accident. For example, when the owner of a boat negligently hires a person who then causes a crash, they can be held liable for paying damages. Hiring inexperienced, unqualified, or unsafe captains or crew members can also result in boat owner liability. Boat owners can be held liable when any of the following individuals cause an accident:

  • Crew members
  • Employees
  • Friends and relatives
  • Charter renters
  • Boat club members


 While passengers are often victims of boating accidents, there are times when they can also be held liable for a crash. One of the most common examples involves impaired passengers who interfere with the captain’s ability to safely operate the vessel. However, this is just one example of many.

Boat or Parts Manufacturers 

Sometimes, issues with an actual vessel result in an accident. Often, these issues are a result of negligent boat and parts manufacturers. If a defective part or a defective boat causes a crash, state law stipulates that the manufacturer can be held fully liable for any injuries sustained.

Maintenance Providers 

Boats need a fair amount of maintenance to make sure they are running properly and are seaworthy. Negligent maintenance can result in a boat not functioning properly and causing an accident. Any company or individual who performs work on a boat has a legal duty to make sure they do so properly to ensure the vessel is safe for use. When they fail to do this, they can be held liable for any injuries that are incurred as a result.

Our Boat Crash Lawyer in Florida Can Determine Liability 

Determining who is at fault for your accident is always challenging. While you may think someone at the scene is to blame, that is not always the case. Our Florida boat crash lawyer can help by determining who is liable and holding them accountable for paying the full and fair settlement that is rightfully yours. If you have been hurt, call us at 888-B-O-A-T-L-A-W (888-262-8529) The Law Offices of Frank D. Butler or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorney.


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