Archive for July, 2014

West Palm Beach Boating Accidents Can Be Deadly

A boat collision in the waters of South Florida resulted in at least three deaths this July. According to Fox News 29, authorities believe that the boaters were out celebrating Independence Day when the collision occurred late on the Fourth of July. The collision was reported to rescuers at approximately 10:45 when the operator of a 36-foot pleasure craft called in and said he’d been struck by another vessel and his boat was taking on water. 

A total of eight people were taken to the shore and treated in local hospitals and two of the victims passed away. The second vessel was found by salvage crews with two unconscious women onboard. The body of another victim was found in the water and investigators were searching for one other party. The cause of the accident has not been reported.

Boating accidents are unfortunately common in the state of Florida. Victims of collisions and surviving family members of those killed in boat accidents should consult with a personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach.

Florida Boaters Face Risk of Deadly Accidents 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are more recreational boats and water vessels in Florida than there are in any other state within the United States. Unfortunately, there are also more collisions. Accidents that cause at least $2,000 in damage or injury are traced. In 2012 in Florida, there were 661 such accidents

Boating accidents have many different causes, but often drivers make mistakes that result in deadly wrecks. Some of the most common reasons for Florida boating accidents include:

  • Inexperienced boat operators who do not understand safety rules or how to operate vessels safely.
  • Boaters who operate their vessels when they are intoxicated after using drugs or alcohol.
  • Boat operators who are distracted and not paying attention to other vessels.
  • Operators speeding too quickly in their boats.
  • Bad weather.
  • Lack of appropriate safety gear aboard the vessel.
  • Failure to properly maintain a boat.

Boaters should be aware of these top causes of accidents and should follow boating safety tips to stay safe on the waterways. Tips to avoid boating accidents include:

  • Always check the weather before going out on the waters.
  • Have enough life jackets and safety gear on board the vessel for every passenger who will be out on the boat.
  • Avoid drinking or using drugs when operating a water vessel. Do not get onto a boat that is being operated by someone who has used an intoxicating substance.
  • Be on the lookout for other boaters or obstacles in the water and always pay careful attention when operating a boat.

Boaters should take recommended safety courses in order to ensure that they know how to pilot their vessel and how to respond in case of an emergency. A boater who fails to follow safety rules or who operates his vessel in an unsafe way can be held legally liable if he causes an accident and injures passengers or boaters aboard other vessels.

Personal injury lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for July, 2014

Pets Can Be a Deadly Distraction for West Palm Beach Drivers

Dogs love riding in cars and many motorists in West Palm Beach take their canine family members with them when they get in their vehicle. Unfortunately, having a pet in the car can be very risky for motorists. 

A driver with a pet in the car may be distracted and may endanger himself and others. Victims of a collision with a distracted driver need to understand their legal rights and should consult with a personal injury attorney.

Pets are a Dangerous Distraction for West Palm Beach Drivers

Esurance provides disturbing information about the major risks associated with having pets in your vehicle with you when you are driving.

According to a 2011 survey jointly conducted by AAA and Kurgo 65 percent of people who drive with their dogs admit that they have reached back, taken photos, held down their pet, or pet their dog while they were driving.

It takes just two seconds of driving while distracted to significantly increase the risk of a collision according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers who look away to deal with their pets may look away for much longer and are not focusing their full attention on the road.

If a driver does get into a collision when distracted by a pet, the animal may be at risk and may endanger everyone in the car. An unrestrained pet can turn into a projectile and fly around the vehicle, striking occupants. A 10-pound dog that is not restrained can generate as much as 500 pounds of force if the animal is in a car that crashes while the vehicle is going at least 50 miles per hour. An 80-pound dog can generate around 2,400 pounds of force even in a collision where the driver is going just 20 miles per hour.

Avoiding Dangerous Distractions

Although your pet can be dangerous, you don’t have to give up taking your dog along. There are plenty of ways to travel safely and avoid the risk a pet can present. For example, there are two common ways to restrain your pet both to prevent the dog from distracting you and to ensure the pet doesn’t fly around the car in a collision.

One option is to use a pet seat belt. These seat belts should be purchased separately as using human seat belts is ineffective and dangerous. Pet seat belts should be sized appropriately for your animal and they work in tandem with regular car belts. Pets in seat belts should sit in the back seat and not the front as air bags can cause serious injuries to animals.

Pet carriers are also a safe way to transport your pet in the car. Be sure to select a carrier that has enough room for your dog to turn around in and to stretch out in. The carrier should have plenty of room and you should secure it within the car so it stays safely in place if you get into a collision or if you are forced to break suddenly.

Personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach can help. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation.