Another Boating Fatality in South Florida

boating_accident(1)-thumb-333x249-90717In yet another tragic boating accident, a Hialeah man and father of four young girls, died after his jet boat collided with a dock and seawall near Pelican Harbor in Miami, Florida.

It appears that the operator of the jet boat lost control near Pelican Harbor just off the 79th Street Causeway.

The decedent was ferrying friends from Pelican Harbor marina to a small island nearby when he hit a dock on the island, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. After impacting the dock, the jet boat slammed into the seawall near the marina near the 79th Street Causeway at a high rate of speed. The operator who was the only one on the vessel at the time, was thrown from the boat. He was later found by drivers on the bottom of Biscayne Bay.

In 2013, Miami-Dade had four fatalities according to the Fish and Wildlife Commission. There were 104 boating accidents and 50 injuries. The number of fatalities in 2014 is even higher.

Boating accidents in South Florida are a huge problem. Between the effects of alcohol and the inexperience of some boaters, the rate of the boating accidents seems to be increasing with the passing of each year. For some reason, many boaters seem to believe that it is acceptable to operate their boat in Biscayne Bay while consuming a six-pack. The marine patrol needs to consider stricter enforcement of Boating under the Influence (BUI) laws. In a similar vein, maybe the State of Florida should consider an advertising campaign to remind boaters to not engage in what should be an obviously dangerous activity — operating your boat while drunk. Also the Coast Guard Auxillary should be commended for their educational project concerning boating safety.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida’s Keys are still the most dangerous boating location

images[6]-thumb-333x258-45661The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s report on boating accidents for 2011 is in and the Florida Keys has retained its title as Florida’s most dangerous location for boating injuries and deaths, with 93 significant accidents on the water in 2011.

According to the commission, there was a 20 percent increase over the 77 boat accidents reported in 2010. There were 6 boating deaths and 66 injuries in the Keys 2011. Accidents throughout the state of Florida have increased. Overall, Florida marine officers statewide logged 742 reportable accidents and 67 deaths. Miami-Dade County came in a close second on the list with 75 boating accidents.

Careless operation and alcohol usage were present in a significant number of these accidents.

The accidents in the Keys range from powerboats involved in races to fishermen killed in when their flats boat collided with a utility pole at a bridge. Falling overboard and drowning was the most common cause of death in boating accidents.

Although accidents are on the increase, Florida’s boat registrations continued to decline, most likely due to the economy.

Careless boating and operating a vessel under the influence often have devastating consequences not only to the driver, but to passengers, other boaters, and swimmers as well. The same principals of negligence that apply to car accidents also apply to watercraft. Victims who have suffered severe injuries as a result of boat or jet ski negligence may able be able to obtain justice for their injuries.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Former Astronaut killed in Jet Ski Accident off Florida Beach

racing_picture_30_accident_a[1]-thumb-333x183-44385Former astronaut, Alan Poindexter, 50, died as a result of a jet ski accident in Florida beach.

Poindexter was a space shuttle commander who flew twice into space.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reported that Poindexter was jet skiing with his two sons off of Pensacola Beach, Fla., when he was struck by another jet ski operated a family member. Poindexter was rushed to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, where he later died from his injuries.

Because jet skis (sometimes referred to as personal watercraft) operate over water, many people think these high powered vehicles are simple to operate and have a care free attitude while scooting about. To the contrary, jet skis are heavy pieces of machinery, equipped with high powered engines and have tremendous speed and torque. One careless moment on a personal watercraft (“PWC”) can lead to tragedy and unfortunately, there are many serious accidents in South Florida involving jet skis.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Fort Lauderdale Beach sunbather run over by truck

images[5]-thumb-333x250-39845Yet again, we hear about another person run over by a large vehicle while on a South Florida Beach. This calls into question the wisdom and protocol of allowing vehicles like pick-up trucks on tourist laden sandy beaches.

A North Carolina woman was recently injured while sunbathing on the beach in Fort Lauderdale after an Ocean Rescue pickup drove ran over her. She has alleged that the City of Fort Lauderdale was negligent by allowing large vehicles to be driven on the beach.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said the city will probably review its rules regarding government vehicles being driven on beaches. The truck’s driver, a veteran Rescue lieutenant, was placed on leave pending a review.

Large vehicles such as pickups have a limited view of sunbathers lying on the sand. This usage has raised concerns that these vehicles can’t be driven on the beach as safely as all-terrain vehicles (“ATV’s“), which offer far more viewability and maneuverability. While some lifeguards say these types of trucks are necessary for transportation in emergencies to carry medical equipment, such as backboards, defibrillators and first-aid kits, there is no reason why an all terrain vehicle (“ATV”) cannot similarly be employed. ATV’s offer a far better view of sunbathers and a trailer can be attached for carrying equipment or even victims.

Though Fort Lauderdale officials claim to have no knowledge of any other sunbather being run over on the beach, there have been similar incidents reported on other Florida beaches. Any time someone is struck by a vehicle on a sandy beach, questions about negligent operation of the vehicle come into question.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

South Florida dies after falling off yacht

3484648472_32a338feb0[1]-thumb-333x221-27870A Miami-Dade man was killed when he fell from the rear diving platform of a luxury yacht and was sucked into the path of the vessel’s propellers.

At this time, it has not been determined by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials whether alcohol was involved or if rough seas played a factor.

This unfortunate accident comes on the eve of the Columbus Day holiday weekend when an annual flotilla of boats of all sizes and types anchor off Elliott Key to celebrate. The partying, together with alcohol and other substances, has resulted in injuries and even deaths over the years.

Various law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, FWC, Miami-Dade police and fire-rescue units and Biscayne Park National Park rangers will be patrolling the bay and local marinas this weekend on the look out “BUI” — Boating Under the Influence.

Any boats stopped will be inspected for the required safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and life preservers, and the operators will be checked for BUI. Penalties include jail and the confiscation of the boat.

South Florida is the boating capital of the world and a lot of boat operators who would never drive under the influence of alcohol don’t think twice about operating their boat drunk. These people tend to believe that driving their boat under influence is safer than driving their cars when impaired. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but the sad reality is that each hundreds of people are injured or even killed through boater negligence.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Teens arrested for South Florida boating accident

2391366086_8afee8992f[1]-thumb-333x221-20781Two 16-year old boys operating a boat were arrested and booked into the juvenile assessment center in connection with a boating accident that resulted in a teenage girl losing a part of her leg earlier this year. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report, the boat motored into a restricted swimming area within 500 feet of the Juno Beach fishing pier. The boys disregarded horns and signals from lifeguards.

The juveniles, whose names were not released, were both charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injury, reckless operation of a vessel and culpable negligence in the February 5th crash that injured a 15-year-old girl.

The girl and her two friends were in the water south of the Juno Pier when the boat approached. As she was trying to climb on board, the driver throttled the motor, in an apparent attempt to keep the boat from getting beached, according to an eyewitness.

The boat struck the girls, knocking them over, and the girl’s leg was struck by the propeller. Doctors were later forced to amputate part of her right leg.

After the injury, the boat left the scene and the boys made no attempt to notify any law enforcement agency, the report stated.

Teenage boys and power boats make a dangerous combination. They often lack the maturity to handle the horsepower at their fingertips and are oblivious to the potential for danger. Parents frequently hand over the keys to the family boat with out making sure that their children have the training necessary to safely operate these vessels. As a result, boating accidents involving minors are an all too unfortunate occurrence in South Florida.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

National Safe Boating Week in South Florida

an attempt to capture the water splashing up -- he was enjoying the wake of my brother's boat.

National Safe Boating Week is set for May each year. Its purpose is to recognize the importance of boat safety, particularly in South Florida, where there are more registered boats than in any other area of the country. After Monroe County (the Keys), Miami-Dade ranks second for boating accidents and Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) is not far behind.

While the overall number boating accidents including personal watercraft, is down, accidents still frequently occur when boats collide with fix objects like docks, channel markers, etc. A lot of these accidents can be attributed to driver negligence, inattention, inexperience or even intoxication.

The vast majority of boaters involved in an accident have not even taken a boating safety class. Florida law requires all boaters under 21 years of age to pass a class before they can operate a boat.

With regard to personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, a person must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft in Florida and a person must be at least 18 years of age to rent a personal watercraft in Florida.

National Safe Boating Week serves as a reminder to us all to be careful while we are operating our boats. It should also serve as a clarion call to the Florida legislature to make our waterways safer. The legislature needs to carefully consider initiatives to raise the age limits for jet skis from 14 to 16 and to require a safe boating class for personal water craft.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.