Stirrup v. Reiss, 410 So. 2d 537 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1982)

This case involves a boating accident in Broward County. The plaintiff to lawsuit claimed personal injury damages when he was injured as a passenger on a boat that struck another object.

The facts of the lawsuit include a motorboat that was occupied by several friends. The group was operating the vessel through the intercostal in Broward County during the evening hours. One of the passengers, Matthew Reiss was injured when the boat hit something in the water.

Reiss filed the lawsuit against the boat’s operator, Mark Stirrup, and another passenger on the boat, Gregory Moss who was the boat’s owner. Reiss claimed that the owner of the vessel was negligent for the injuries sustained because he provided alcohol to all of the people on board the boat, who were all under the legal age; and because he did not provide an adequate lookout as the boat’s owner.

Florida boating laws hold owners of boats liable for injuries sustained by victims if the owner is in fact operating the vessel, or he is on board at the time that a negligent act caused an injury to the person. It is maritime laws which cover issues involving accidents involving privately owned boats, cruising vessels, and all other types of boats.

Generally, maritime law is used to help interpret Federal Legislation that was passed for admiralty and maritime situations. A maritime law attorney will be able to assess a particular case and interpret these legislative acts to see what damages can be attributed to the incident, as well as who is liable for the injuries. Additionally, maritime law covers injuries to people other than sailors as well who may have been injured during specific maritime activities. There statute of limitations to file a suit under maritime law does vary depending on the area where the event took place, however, three years in generally the time by which a suit must be filed.

The Jones Act, which was passed in 1920, allows for sailors to receive compensation for injuries sustained from those vessel owners who were negligent either directly or indirectly. Prior to this federal act being passed, sailors, and/or their surviving family members, were unable to seek a remedy from their employer for their loss. The Jones Act now gives legal rights to those who servicemen who were either injured or killed in their prospective line of work. The act ultimately gave those sailors the right to have a jury trial where they were previously unable to.

The Public Vessels Act and the Suits in Admiralty Act are additional acts passed through legislation which help to govern maritime law. The Public Vessels Act is what gives a person a right of action against publically operated vessels. The Suits in Admiralty Act is generally used by private individuals who have a claim against privately owned vessel owners. It is possible to have a claim under either act if you are injured on a United States operated vessel. These claims are filed in a federal court, and point out another reason why it is important for you to consult with a maritime attorney regarding your case.

The Admiralty Extension Act provides an action for injuries that occurred on land, but are the result of something taking place by or on a vessel. In other words, people who are injured at port while a boat is docked because of something to do with the boat, you will have a claim under the Admiralty Extension Act.

If you have been involved in a boating accident and have questions about what steps to take next, then contact a Fort Lauderdale injury attorney at Madalon Law today for your free consultation.