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 watercraft accidents in 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 watercraft 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 accidents 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 are the Major Causes of Boating and Jet Ski Accidents?
Not surprisingly, most boat and jet ski accidents 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.
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 medical 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 watercraft 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.
What Kinds of Injuries are Involved in Watercraft Accidents?
People who are involved in watercraft accidents 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 watercraft 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 internal injuries. These can be dangerous if left untreated. They can even prove fatal.
- Drowning – Obviously, a lot of people in watercraft 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% of boating and jet ski accidents end up killing their victims.
Your Navarre injury 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.
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 liable 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.