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Boca Raton Personal Watercraft (PWC) and Jet Ski Accidents Lawyer

Millions Recovered

Since 1990

Millions of Floridians enjoy the state’s natural water resources, including lakes, rivers, and miles of glistening beaches, year-round. There are nearly 1 million boats registered in Florida, and a small percentage of these are personal watercraft, commonly known as Jet Skis, Waverunners, or Sea-doos -- all brand names from several manufacturers. Personal watercraft are recreational vehicles that support 1 operator and 1 or 2 passengers. These types of watercraft can propel people forward at highway speeds, making for a thrilling ride.

Unfortunately, while registered personal watercraft make up just 10% of boats in Florida, they are involved in
30% of boating accidents resulting in injuries. Many things can go wrong when you’re riding a jet ski, especially if you lack experience. You may also be at risk of an accident when you are riding or operating a different type of vessel and encounter inexperienced jet ski riders. Their powerful engines and high-speed capacity can -- and often do -- turn deadly.

People who ride jet skis or swim, kayak, or boat near them may be at high risk for sustaining physical trauma, which may be followed by unexpected lifestyle changes and emotional distress. If a defective jet ski may have caused your injuries, speak with attorney Robert B. Baker, Esquire of the Baker Legal Team. Our Boca Raton-based firm has handled several PWC injury cases with many successful results for our clients.

Millions of Floridians enjoy the state’s natural water resources, including lakes, rivers, and miles of glistening beaches, year-round. There are nearly 1 million boats registered in Florida, and a small percentage of these are personal watercraft, commonly known as Jet Skis, Waverunners, or Sea-doos -- all brand names from several manufacturers. Personal watercraft are recreational vehicles that support 1 operator and 1 or 2 passengers. These types of watercraft can propel people forward at highway speeds, making for a thrilling ride.

Unfortunately, while registered personal watercraft make up just 10% of boats in Florida, they are involved in
30% of boating accidents resulting in injuries. Many things can go wrong when you’re riding a jet ski, especially if you lack experience. You may also be at risk of an accident when you are riding or operating a different type of vessel and encounter inexperienced jet ski riders. Their powerful engines and high-speed capacity can -- and often do -- turn deadly.

People who ride jet skis or swim, kayak, or boat near them may be at high risk for sustaining physical trauma, which may be followed by unexpected lifestyle changes and emotional distress. If a defective jet ski may have caused your injuries, speak with attorney Robert B. Baker, Esquire of the Baker Legal Team. Our Boca Raton-based firm has handled several PWC injury cases with many successful results for our clients.

Why Do So Many People Get Hurt by PWCs

Personal watercraft have been popular around the globe for several decades. In the 1970s, authorities began to record a pattern of serious 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 are the #2 vessel type that produces the most casualties. 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 all boating injuries take place on a PWC. Collisions with other boats cause the most injuries and deaths of any other type of jet ski accident.

Unlike other boats, PWC operators are more likely to sustain and die from blunt-force trauma. The two main types of incidents involving PWCs that lead to serious injuries are steering-related collisions and body cavity water intrusions. Suffering either of these types of accidents carries a high risk of permanent injury or death.

Steering-related Collisions with a PWC

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 Intrusions

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 impacts upon the rider’s skin or what he is 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 mostly relied on passive measures like issuing warnings and instructions for 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 warning and instruction labels. They have mainly relied on the consumer 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, FWC 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 Baker Legal Team After a PWC or Jet Ski Accident in Boca Raton

Attorney Robert B. Baker understands that you may be experiencing severe stress over your PWC injuries, and your ability to pay for all the resulting bills, such as medical bills, bills for physical and psychological therapy, and more. You may even be concerned about getting back to work.

When you work with Robert B. Baker, you can trust him to truthfully and fully answer all your questions about your jet ski accident claim. You can count on him to provide personalized attention to your case and help you receive the compensation you need to move on with your life.

Turn to us for quality representation. We have years of experience recovering millions of dollars for clients who have suffered a wide variety of injuries. Call 561-320-0000 for a free case review or complete our contact form. The sooner we touch base, the better the prospects may be for your injury case.

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