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When Do You Have to Report a Boating Accident in Florida?

February 12, 2024
Boat Accident

Boating Accident Reporting Requirements in the Sunshine State

If you are involved in a boating accident in Florida, you may be required to report the incident to local law enforcement. Failure to report the incident may result in civil fines and criminal penalties. Even if you did not cause the crash, it is still imperative that you follow all reporting requirements in the state.

Florida’s Boating Accident Reporting Laws

There are both state and federal laws regarding boating accidents. As reported by the United States Coast Guard, federal law requires the owner or operator of a recreational boat to report an accident in a number of instances.

The owner or operator of a recreational vessel must report a boating accident to the state reporting authority if the incident results in:

  • Death
  • Injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • A disappearance from the vessel under circumstances that indicate injury or death
  • Property damage of $2,000 or more
  • Destruction of the vessel

Section 327.01 of the Florida Statutes echoes federal law requiring the operator or owner of a boat involved in an accident to file a written report if it resulted in injury, death, disappearance of a person, or property damage of $2,000 or more. 

How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident?

Federal law requires that a report be made within 48 hours if the accident results in injury, disappearance of a person, or the death of a person within 24 hours. Otherwise, a report must be made within ten 10 days of the death of a person. 

If the operator of the boat is incapacitated or unable to file the report, the owner of the vessel must complete the report within the given timelines. Under the Florida Statutes, a law enforcement officer who investigates a boating accident must forward a written report within 24 hours of completing the investigation. 

What Information Should Be Included in a Boating Accident Report?

Boating accidents should be reported promptly and are required to detail a number of things. If a law enforcement officer has come to investigate the crash, they will file a report to the appropriate division.

A boating accident report should contain:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • A description of any vessels involved in the incident
  • The names and addresses of any people or parties involved
  • The names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident
  • The name, badge number, and agency of the officer investigating the crash

It is important for the report to contain factual information. When notifying local law enforcement about the incident you will want to give specific information including how many people were aboard at the time of the accident and whether you require medical attention.

Insurance Reporting Obligations

As with a motor vehicle accident, it is important to exchange information with any other parties involved in the incident. You should also notify your insurance company about the incident. It is important to review your policy to determine your reporting obligations. It is also essential to ensure that you follow all legal guidelines or your right to recovery may be negatively impacted.

What If My Insurance Company Refuses to Pay My Claim?

If your insurance refuses to pay your claim, you should speak with a lawyer. An insurance company cannot deny a claim in bad faith. It may be a simple paperwork error that was the reason for the denial or a more complex issue. Either way, an attorney can review the information and help determine your legal options

Choosing the Right Legal Representation

Choosing the right legal representation after a boating accident can prove critical. It is important to work with experienced attorneys who have proven results. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person that caused you harm, such as another boat operator. Without an attorney, however, it may be difficult to prove your claim.

If you were injured in a boating accident in Florida, it is important to report the incident timely and to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible. You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for damages. Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations could result in your claim being denied.

Contact Mase Seitz Briggs for a Free Consultation

Contact Mase Seitz Briggs today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers have decades of combined experience. We know state and federal law and will not give up on your case. Get the experienced representation you need and deserve today.

We are a team of trial lawyers, unafraid to litigate your case. We have served thousands of clients in Miami and throughout South Florida. Do not wait to report your boating accident and determine your legal options. We can help. 

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