It’s that time of year when people love getting out on the water. Whether you’re going jet skiing or just rafting, there’s really no better way to spend a hot afternoon. It’s supposed to be fun. The last thing you’ll want to think about is getting hurt.
But, hundreds of people are hurt every year in jet ski accidents Florida. Some of these are total accidents. Somebody hits the wrong button or turns the wrong way, and the next thing you know you’re thrown from your craft.
Other boating injuries are caused by operator error. If you’re using a watercraft adventure company, they may have staff that are inexperienced. It really depends on your situation. Most of these accidents are caused by somebody’s negligence.
Your personal injury lawyer will help prove this negligence. They’ll also fight to get you the compensation you deserve. So, if you’ve been injured in a watercraft accident, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Navarre, Florida.
Navarre Personal Injury Attorneys Know the Statistics
Florida actually leads the United States when it comes to boating and watercraft accidents. There are more watercrafts registered in Florida than anywhere else. This is why they experience such a high number of watercraft and boating accidents.
On average, there are about 4,000 boating and jet ski accident in Florida every year. Of these, more than 2,500 people are injured. About 600 more people die in these accidents. Most of them could’ve been avoided.
The leading cause of deaths in water accidents are the result of drowning. Someone goes overboard and ends up drowning. This could happen to a man, woman or child. It doesn’t matter how skilled a boater or skier you are. Some things are beyond your control.
Most of these accidents are caused by negligence. Over 40% of these injuries are the result of some kind of collision. A watercraft either crashes into another vessel or into some other object.
What is the Leading Cause of PWC Accidents?
Not surprisingly, most boat and jet ski accident statistics are the result of negligence. Watercraft owners and operators simply aren’t careful enough. Or, they don’t take the necessary safety precautions.
Some of the biggest causes of jet ski and boating accidents are caused by the following:
- Mechanical failures
- Careless operation
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Operator inexperience
Sadly, more than 80% of all operators of these vessels never took a boating safety course. They aren’t prepared to handle an emergency situation. And, they usually don’t have the proper safety and first aid equipment on board.
Another reason so many of these accident victims die is because people don’t know how to handle things in these situations. They panic. Instead of calling 911 immediately, they wait. Or, they don’t know how to communicate what’s going on.
What Kinds of Injuries are Involved in Jet Ski Accident Florida?
People who are involved in jet ski accident in Florida tend to suffer very serious injuries. At least when you’re in a car accident, people can get to you so they can provide medical care. This isn’t always true on the water.
When you’re injured on the water, a lot of things complicate the ability to provide you with immediate medical treatment:
- Are they able to locate you following the accident?
- How far is the vessel from land?
- Does the operator or passengers have the ability to call 911?
- Are all the other passengers also injured?
- Are you alone or are there other vessels who can help?
Because of the situation, it can take longer to identify and treat your injuries. This is why your injuries may be quite severe.
Some of the common injuries suffered in PWC accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – You may hit your head as a result of your accident. This could happen on the side of a boat, on a jet ski, or on a natural object like a rock. You may also fall from a great height and your head suffers the impact when you hit the water or ground.
- Cuts and bruises – If you’re lucky, you’ll just suffer cuts and bruises. If this is the case, there’s not much chance that you’ll be entitled to compensation. These injuries heal themselves rather quickly. There are exceptions, such as facial disfigurement.
- Amputation – Because your accident will take place near moving equipment (I.e. the propeller, motor, etc.), you may suffer an amputation. Something like this can leave you permanently disabled. If this is the case, your lawyer will push for disability damages. This will be equal to the difference between what you’ll receive on disability as compared to what you would’ve earned working full time.
- Fractures and broken bones – These are common injuries in all watercraft accidents. You can hit or smash any number of bones during impact.
- Spinal cord injuries – If you fall or hit your head, you may suffer a spinal cord injury. This will depend on what you were doing at the time of your accident.
- Internal injuries – There's always the risk of internal injuries when you get into a boat or jet ski accident. The only way to know is to go to the hospital. The doctors will do the necessary tests to determine if you’re suffering from these injuries. They can be dangerous if left untreated. They can even prove fatal.
- Drowning – Obviously, a lot of people in PWC accidents risk drowning. This can cause lack of oxygen to the brain or even death.
- Death – Sadly, a lot of watercraft accident victims don’t survive their injuries. Some bodies are never even recovered. About 15-20% are the leading cause of death in boating accidents in Florida.
Your Navarre PWC accident lawyer is going to fight to get you as much money as possible. You’re entitled to damages. They’ll do what it takes to get you these damages.
Who Can You Sue in Florida for Watercraft Accidents?
The majority of watercraft accidents, such as those involving boats or jet skis, are the result of carelessness. When one side is reckless, it might result in a serious accident. If you were injured in a boat/jet ski accident, you may be eligible to claim for compensation.
Someone who does not use due care may be held accountable for the accident. You must first understand your legal choices before litigating. If the accident is covered by an insurance policy, you may pursue an insurance payout first.
After are some instances of who may be sued following a boat/jet ski accident. Contact an expert lawyer to learn about your unique possibilities for your case.
The Operator of a Boat or Jet Ski
The operator of the boat is usually to blame for an accident. Jet ski and boat operators have a legal obligation to people on the water. You must demonstrate the following to have a case against the operator:
- The operator had a duty of care to you.
- The operator failed to meet their duty of care. (In other words, they were careless.)
- Your boat or jet ski accident was caused by the operator's carelessness.
- The accident caused you injuries and other losses.
A boat/jet ski accident lawyer may assist in proving each of the above issues. You'll need proof that the operator was negligent in the collision. You must also give evidence of your losses. To get started, contact a lawyer right now.
A watercraft operator may cause an accident in a variety of ways. Your lawsuit must include specifics about what occurred. An injury accident may arise as a result of:
- Excessive speeding of the boat
- Inadequate experience or qualifications
- Having an excessive number of boat passengers
- Driving in hazardous situations
- Any regulation or operation violation
- Failure to carry enough safety equipment
- Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI)
Boat operators must ensure the safety of people on the water. They may be held accountable if they fail to do so. After a boat or jet ski accident, consult with a lawyer about suing the operator.
The Owner of the Watercraft Vehicle
After an accident, you may be entitled to sue the boat owner. The boat owner and operator are sometimes the same individual. Sometimes the owner lets the operator use their boat. Under Florida law, a boat owner may be held accountable for negligent entrustment if he or she allows a person the owner knows is likely to operate the boat in an unsafe way that endangers himself and others.
In that case, both the boat owner and the operator might be held liable for your losses. You may have a legal claim against one or both of the parties.
A Boat Rental or Sales Business
Watercraft dealers and renters must ensure the vehicles are safe. This includes doing routine maintenance and repairing any problems that arise. If a boat or jet ski is hazardous and causes an accident, the corporation that supplied the watercraft may be held liable.
Boats or water skis are often used at social occasions on the water. If an accident occurs during the event, people who are hosting may be held partly accountable.
An Establishment that Sells Alcoholic Beverages
If the boat operator purchased alcohol from a bar or restaurant, the business might be held accountable.
Other Passengers on the Boat
A boat passenger who was behaving carelessly might be held accountable for an accident. A raucous guest may lead someone to go overboard or hurt themselves while on the boat.
Case of Partial Fault in a Boat or Jet Ski Accident in Florida
Before you can sue someone, you must first ascertain who was at responsibility in the accident. More than one side is sometimes at blame. Your lawyer will investigate any potential liability between you, the operator, and other parties.
If you were largely to blame for a boat/ski accident, your compensation may be reduced. Discuss the specifics with an expert lawyer.
Will I Be Required to Sue the At-Fault Party?
Before suing, check to see whether you may submit an insurance claim. In a personal injury lawsuit, you may submit a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party. Boat/jet ski accidents, on the other hand, may be more problematic.
Not every boat owner has boat insurance. You cannot register a claim if the owner does not have insurance. Suing the at-fault party may be your best alternative. If the at-fault party has insurance, the insurer may compensate your losses.
Discuss your options with a boat/jet ski accident lawyer. You must also determine if your lawsuit comes under tort or Florida maritime laws. This information has an impact on how you should manage your case.
What Do I Need to File a Lawsuit After a Boat/Jet Ski Accident?
Before bringing a lawsuit, you'll need to create a compelling case. Following your boating accident, you must take the following steps:
- Obtaining evidence at the accident site
- Gathering data on who caused the accident
- Keeping note of all your losses
- Adding up your overall losses
- Take caution with what you say about the accident.
- As soon as possible, hire an experienced lawyer.
If you intend to sue, you will need legal counsel. Make an appointment with an experienced boat/jet ski accident lawyer to discuss your options.
The easiest step is determining who you can sue. You must prepare for court and ensure that your case is sound. You and your lawyer may also consider the benefits and drawbacks of a lawsuit.
How Do You Prove Operator Negligence in Florida?
In order to get you compensation for your injuries, your Navarre personal injury lawyer will need to prove negligence. Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. To prove this, your lawyer must demonstrate the following four (4) things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries were caused by their breach
When it comes to proving duty of care, it’s not that difficult. All watercraft operators owe other people on the water a duty of care. They also owe it to their passengers to keep them safe. When they don’t do this, people get hurt.
It also shouldn’t be hard to prove you were injured. As long as you go to the hospital for treatment immediately after your accident, you should be okay. The doctors at the hospital will do the necessary tests to determine if you’re hurt.
Your medical records will indicate what kinds of injuries you’ve suffered. They’ll also make notes about what kind of medical treatment you’ll need. If you’re going to need future medical care, they’ll advise you of this.
When it comes to PWC accidents, there are certain things that contribute to the operator’s negligence. These include:
- They don’t follow the local boating rules
- They ignore the “rules of the road” when it comes to the water
- They passed another vessel improperly
- They don’t maintain the necessary safety equipment
- They're under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you can prove any of these things, you’ll be able to demonstrate negligence. This means you should be able to convince the court to award you fair compensation for your injuries.
How Does Limited Liability Affect Your Case?
There are special rules when it comes to jet ski and boating accidents. These claims are subject to something called limited liability. This means that certain defendants can’t be sued for these accidents.
Boat and watercraft owners and operators can’t be held accountable if the accident was caused by something beyond their control. A lot of owners of water adventure companies make their customers sign a waiver of liability.
Keep in mind – just because you signed a waiver doesn’t mean the company is off the hook. If the owner or operator is negligent, you can still file suit against them. You just have to follow maritime law.
Boating and even jet ski accidents are not subject to normal laws. They are controlled by maritime law. This means you want to choose a personal injury attorney in Florida who understands maritime law. It can make the difference between winning and losing your case.
Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney in Navarre, Florida
If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating or jet ski accident, you need to call an experienced boating accident lawyer in Navarre. Call today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.