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How Common Are Jet Ski Accidents in Florida?

Florida has miles of coastline leading out to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and even reaching out to the Caribbean Sea. While some tourists and residents are contemptuous of lying on the beach all day, others might want an activity with more thrill. Some satisfy this thrill by going jet skiing. However, jet ski accidents in Florida are more common than you might think.

If you were involved in a jet ski accident that was not your fault, contact the Baker Legal Team. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation and work to hold the negligent party accountable.

Are Jet Skis Dangerous?

Many consumers believe that jet skis are safer than boats since they are easier and cheaper to buy. However, a jet ski can be just as dangerous as a motorcycle. Since a personal watercraft is more open and can travel faster, accidents involving a jet ski can be catastrophic.

Common injuries from jet ski accidents include broken bones, head or chest trauma, drowning, burns, and spinal cord damage. In more severe cases, the accident victim may die at the scene or later from their injuries. Jet ski design defects can lead to fires, causing severe burns. Additionally, most injuries are significant enough to require surgical treatments.

Florida Jet Ski Accident Statistics

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that there was $741,337 in property damage from personal watercraft accidents in Florida throughout 2020. Of the 152,000 registered jet skis and other personal watercrafts, there were 227 accidents, resulting in 15 fatalities and 183 injuries.

Miami-Dade County had the most registered watercrafts and jet ski accidents. Of the nearly 18,000, the county saw 41 accidents, resulting in one fatality and 35 accidents. Pinellas County had 24 accidents, with 16 injuries. Monroe County had the third-highest amount of accidents, with 21.

Unfortunately, the amount of accidents, deaths, and injuries seems to be increasing year after year. In 2019, there were 186 accidents, while 2018 saw only 120 accidents.

What Is Florida Doing to Combat Jet Ski Accidents?

Florida has several regulations that all boat operators, regardless of watercraft size, must follow at all times. Operators must be over 14 years old to operate a personal watercraft and over 18 to rent one. Additionally, it is illegal for an individual to knowingly allow someone underage to operate or rent a jet ski in Florida. Drivers must have a cutoff switch so the jet ski turns off if they fall into the water. You cannot use a personal watercraft 30 minutes before or after sunrise, and it is illegal to weave through boat traffic.

Breaking any of these rules or regulations may result in a misdemeanor charge. Penalties might include hefty fines, jail time, or loss of boating license.

How to File a Jet Ski Accident Claim in Florida

Jet ski accident claims are more complex than other personal injury lawsuits. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, victims might not be able to file a claim against the other party because of limited liability laws. According to federal and Florida maritime laws, boat owners or renters may not be liable for an accident if the incident was due to circumstances out of their control.

Additionally, many jet ski rental companies require riders to sign a waiver which precludes them from filing a lawsuit. However, a waiver might be void if you can prove the company did not provide adequate safety instructions.

Contact a South Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today

Filing a jet ski or personal watercraft lawsuit in Florida can be challenging. Your best chance of obtaining financial compensation for your losses is to contact the jet ski attorneys at the Baker Legal Team. When you work with Attorney Robert Baker, you can trust him to provide personalized attention to your case and help you receive the funds needed to cover accident-related expenses. Call (561) 320-0000 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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