Bryant, Higby & Barr - Attorneys At Law

Florida boating injury numbers are the highest in the nation

The State of Florida averages more than 200 sunny days per year. The warm weather lends itself to enjoying the great outdoors, and for Floridians that means water recreation. There's nothing quite like relaxing on a luxury boat or romping the ocean on a jet ski.

Unfortunately, some people lose sight of the fact that the sea can be as dangerous as it is beautiful. The recent death of the Miami Marlins' 24-year-old pitcher Jose Fernandez in a tragic late-night boating accident is a reminder of just how quickly things can change on the water.

Boating accidents are far too common

With more than 1,300 coastal miles and 4,500 square miles of inland recreational water resources, Florida has among the highest number of registered recreational vessels in the U.S. at nearly one million. It is also home to 95 percent of powerboats under 26 feet in length. Unfortunately, Florida consistently leads the nation in recreational boating accidents.

While some accidents are unavoidable, busy waterways and inexperienced operators are not always to blame. The most common causes of boating accidents include:

  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • Exceeding passenger or weight limits
  • Impaired visibility of the boat pilot
  • Distractions

Common boating injuries

Boats are often traveling at high rates of speed when significant accidents occur. The resulting injuries tend to resemble those of catastrophic car collisions. In boating accidents, though, people are less likely to be wearing seatbelts. Water does not afford a soft landing, resulting in serious injuries such as:

  • Bone and ligament damage: Generally caused by impact in the boat or with the water, and unnatural twisting of the body during a crash.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spine caused by being thrown and twisting during water impacts.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Severe blows to the head can have debilitating, long-term negative effects on brain function. TBIs are common when boat passengers or jet ski riders hit the water.

If you sustain an unfortunate injury while enjoying Florida's waters, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including medical treatment, disability, lost wages, pain and suffering. Keep in mind that your personal injury claim may fall under state or admiralty law jurisdiction. Seek help from an attorney with experience navigating both legal systems.

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Awards & Memberships

  1. RATED BY Super Lawyers | Clifford C. Higby | SuperLawyers.com Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
  2. AV 1 | PREEMINENT | Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence AV Preeminent®AV Preeminent® is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
  3. RATED BY | Super Lawyers | Rising Stars | Kevin D. Barr | SuperLawyers.com Rising Stars, Super Lawyers, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
  4. Florida Justice Association The Florida Justice Association is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Florida's civil justice system and protecting the rights of Florida's citizens and consumers.
  5. The Florida Bar 1950 | Mr. Higby was the former Chairman of the Trial Lawyer’s Section of The Florida Bar The Florida Bar is the integrated bar association for the state of Florida. Its duties include the regulation and discipline of attorneys. Mr. Higby was the former Chairman of the Trial Lawyer’s Section of The Florida Bar.
  6. AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for JUSTICE The American Association for Justice, is a nonprofit advocacy and lobbying organization for plaintiff's lawyers in the United States. AAJ's stated mission is to "promote a fair and effective justice system."
  7. BAR REGISTER PREEMINENT LAWYERS | Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register is widely regarded within the legal profession as a signal honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. The Martindale Hubbell Bar Register has listed lawyers who have earned the respect of the profession.
  8. ABA | AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION The American Bar Association, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which builds the expertise of its members, protects the independence of the legal profession and advocates for justice in the United States and the world.

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Bryant, Higby & Barr - Attorneys At Law

12238 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City, FL 32407

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