Miami Teen Killed, Ten Injured in Upper Keys Boat Accident

A boat capsized in the Upper Keys on Sunday, September 4th, resulting in one fatality and numerous injuries to those on board. According to a report from USA Today, the 29-foot boat capsized after hitting a channel marker near Boca Chita Key, which is approximately 16 miles off of Miami and is located within Biscayne National Park. Fourteen passengers total were in the vessel at the time of the boat accident and all fourteen were ejected from the boat when it collided with the channel marker. Eleven of the fourteen people in the boat were injured, four of them critically. One of them later died of her injuries from the crash, which the medical examiner determined was an accidental drowning. Three other high school students who were on the boat also suffered. Police arrived at the scene first and pulled several of the injured individuals from the water before Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission also arrived and the two agencies teamed up to transport the victims to the shore where Fire Rescue crews were waiting to transport the injured for medical treatment to area hospitals.

What Happened During the Boat Accident?

It is unclear what exactly occurred that the boat involved in this incident hit a channel marker. The accident occurred at 6:30 p.m. when it was still light out and visibility was good according to a Miami Herald report. Alcohol is not believed to have played a role in the accident, but the possible overcrowding of the boat is being investigated as a possible cause of the crash. Twelve of the fourteen passengers on the boat were teenagers celebrating a friend’s birthday along with the parents of the birthday girl, whose father owned the boat. Several witnesses also reported that a larger boat that was in approximately the same area at the same time may have caused a wake that threw the boat off course and into the channel marker, although authorities have not released any details of what their investigation has shown to date.

What Is Florida Law Regarding Boating?

Florida law regarding boating closely resembles Florida law regarding motor vehicles. For example, like the driver of any car, Florida law requires the operator of a boat to utilize ordinary care to keep his passengers as well as nearby boaters safe. If a boat’s operator is negligent in the operation of his vessel, then the boat operator can be sued for negligence under Florida law by either his own passengers or other boaters. Therefore, in the context of this recent crash in the Upper Keys, if it is determined that the boat’s owner allowed too many teenagers on board or was distracted while operating the boat, then he may be held liable for the injuries suffered by several of the teens. This is true even if he was not drinking alcohol at the time.

If a boat’s operator is negligent in causing an accident and this negligence results in injuries to a third party, then the boating accident victim is entitled to recover any bills and expenses for medical treatment necessitated by his or injuries, any lost past or future wages caused by those injuries, as well as past and future pain and suffering caused to the victim by his or her injuries. Therefore, to the extent it is determined that the boat’s operator in this scenario was either distracted or operating his boat negligently when this crash occurred, then any of the injured teens would have a potential legal claim against him.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

Boating accidents can have devastating consequences for those involved. During our more than 200 years of combined practice, the experienced personal injury lawyers of our firm have represented numerous victims of boating accidents in Florida. If you, a family member or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation today.