Jet Ski Accident Lawyer in Boca Raton, FL
Millions of Floridians enjoy the state’s natural water resources, including lakes, rivers, and miles of glistening beaches. People frequently use jet skis or personal watercraft (PWC) to enjoy these resources. PWC are recreational vehicles that can accommodate one operator and up to two passengers. While registered personal watercraft make up just 10% of boats in Florida, they are involved in 30% of boating accidents resulting in injuries.
People who ride jet skis or venture near them while swimming, kayaking, or boating may be at high risk for sustaining physical trauma. They could also experience unexpected lifestyle changes and emotional distress because of their injuries. If a defective jet ski may have caused your injuries, speak with Boca Raton jet ski lawyer Robert Baker of the Baker Legal Team. Our jet ski accident lawyers have handled several PWC injury cases with many successful results for our clients.
Why Do So Many People Get Hurt on Jet Skis?
Personal watercraft have been popular around the globe for several decades. In the 1970s, authorities began to document a pattern of severe injuries and fatalities involving PWC operators, passengers, and people in their vicinity.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety’s Recreational Boating Statistics of 2017 report, PWCs produce the second most casualties out of all water vessel types. In 2017, there were 670 casualties that can be broken down as follows:
- 17 drownings
- 29 other deaths
- 46 total deaths
- 624 injuries
The report also states that 36% of boating injuries involve a PWC. Collisions with other boats cause the most injuries and deaths of any type of jet ski accident.
Unlike other vessels, PWC operators are more likely to sustain and die from blunt-force trauma. The two main types of incidents involving PWCs that lead to severe injuries are steering-related collisions and body cavity water intrusions. Experiencing either type of accident carries a high risk of permanent injury or death.
What Causes Most Jet Ski Accidents?
Personal watercraft have grown in popularity in recent years as a low-maintenance and very inexpensive method to get around on open water. As a result, the number of jet skiers has increased, and so have the number of jet ski accidents. Jet ski accidents can result from various factors related to the operator and the jet ski itself.
The following are the most typical causes of jet ski accidents:
Operator inexperience is one of the most common causes of jet ski injuries. It takes a lot of skill to operate a jet ski, so prospective operators need a lot of practice. Inexperienced operators may not have the skill to make the safest decisions on the water.
Intoxication when operating a jet ski is dangerous and reckless, just as it is when driving a car. Some of the most violent watercraft accidents have been caused by alcohol intake. Drunkenness hampers motor abilities and causes poor judgment.
Irresponsibility plays a significant role in personal watercraft crashes. Irresponsible operators cause a large number of jet ski accidents. Operating a jet ski at a hazardous speed and taking jet skis out into dangerous waters are two of the most prominent examples of irresponsible jet ski operation.
Aside from operator error, mechanical problems are another common contributor to jet ski accidents. In some cases, jet ski rental providers do not adequately maintain their stock of jet skis, leading to them breaking down. Also, faulty manufacturing can cause jet skis to malfunction.
Essentially the root cause of a jet ski accident is negligence. Whether it is negligence on the operators part, the rental company, or the manufacturer, someone needs to be held responsible for the damages resulting from a jet ski accident. The skilled legal staff at Baker Legal Team may be your first step in establishing liability and recovering damages for your jet ski accident.
Steering-Related Collisions With a Jet Ski
Many steering-related collisions involving jet-skis occur because operators have trouble steering and maneuvering the vessel when the throttle lever is released. These incidents are often called Off-Throttle-Steering or OTS hazards. When a PWC operator intends to reduce his speed, the craft’s propulsion diminishes, and drag forces cause the vessel to slow down and eventually stop. A PWC doesn’t come to a stop immediately, however. An operator maneuvering at high speeds might need 250 feet for the PWC to stop. But, since the hydraulic is being used to provide directional control, releasing the throttle prevents the operator from steering.
These accidents tend to involve inexperienced operators traveling at high speeds in places they shouldn’t, such as on crowded waterways.
Body Cavity Water Intrusion Injuries From a Jet Ski
In this type of PWC accident, a person riding on the watercraft comes in direct contact with the vessel's high-pressure water jet. A rider who falls into the water while a jet ski is accelerating may suffer body orifice damages from being exposed to the pressurized jet. The force makes contact with the rider's skin or what they are wearing, which is unlikely to be strong enough to protect him from bruises, lacerations, or penetrations. The water pressure can be so high that it may also damage underlying body tissues or organs.
What Have Manufacturers Done to Make Personal Watercraft Safer?
Manufacturers of personal watercraft have primarily relied on passive measures like issuing warnings and instructions for the proper use of these vehicles to operators. Collectively, they have attempted to address their poor safety reputation by outsourcing efforts to make "industry standard" safety warnings and instruction labels. They have mainly relied on consumers to change their behavior to improve their safety rating. Some warnings you may come across on a PWC include:
- “TAKE EARLY ACTION to avoid collisions. Remember, PWC boats do not have brakes.”
- “DO NOT RELEASE THROTTLE WHEN TRYING TO STEER away from objects - you need throttle to steer.”
Despite more warnings, jet ski safety ratings have not improved significantly.
Turn to Our Jet Ski Accident Lawyers After a PWC or Jet Ski Accident in Boca Raton
Because of your PWC injuries, you may be experiencing severe stress over your ability to pay for all the resulting bills and even your ability to get back to work. With 30 years of serving the South Florida community, Boca Raton jet ski accident attorney Robert Baker understands how you feel. Baker Legal Team has extensive experience representing clients in jet ski accident cases.
Helmed by Attorney Robert Baker, Baker Leal Team has years of experience recovering millions of dollars for clients who have suffered a wide variety of injuries. When you work with Robert Baker, you can trust him to truthfully and fully answer all your questions about your jet ski accident claim. Schedule a complimentary case review with our firm today by calling us at (561) 320-0000 or completing our contact form.