Two airboats collided Monday injuring several people. It has been reported that the accident sent at least twenty to area hospitals for treatment. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported. The accident occurred at Gator Park located approximately 25 miles from Miami. Miscommunication between the operators is being blamed for the crash.
Typically when such incidents occur, the tour boat company files a special proceeding in Federal Court called a petition for exoneration or limitation of liability. This legal maneuver is designed to give the company a distinct litigation advantage over the injured people seeking compensation. First, this proceeding requires the injured parties to bring their claims in Federal Court without the benefit of a jury. Second, it attempts to convince a federal judge to exonerate the company of any wrongdoing or limit the liability to the post-accident value of the airboats involved. Often times, the value of the boats are far less than the value of the personal injury claims.
Should Gator Park file a limitation of liability action, all is not lost. There are ways around the limitation caps in certain situations. If you were injured on an airboat and would like to learn more about your legal rights, feel free to contact our Florida Board Certified Maritime Lawyer. We have litigated several limitation of liability cases and lectured on the topic at legal seminars.