Florida’s gorgeous weather, crystal clear oceans, and seemingly endless opportunities for water sports make it one of the most visited destinations for tourists and people looking to settle down by the beach. It’s not uncommon to see jet skis treading Florida beaches and waterways throughout the year. Most people rent jet skis because it is generally cheaper and less of a burden to maintain than a boat, but rarely do they realize how frequent jet ski accidents occur.
The U.S. Coast Guard counted over 4,168 watercraft accidents that occurred in 2019, involving over 613 fatalities, 2,559 injuries, and nearly $55 million in property damage. Personal watercraft, such as jet skis, accounted for 19% of these accidents. If you’ve been seriously injured in a jet ski accident in Florida that was caused by another party’s negligence, contact the experienced jet ski accident attorney Robert Baker, Esq. of Baker Legal team to discuss your options.
State of Florida Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft Accident Statistics
Year after year, Florida leads the U.S. in boating accidents, deaths, and injuries. In 2018, there were 607 boating accidents that resulted in 57 deaths, 297 injuries, and over $7 million in property damage. Some of the main causes of boating accidents in Florida include:
- Alcohol use
- Operator inattention or inexperience
- Operator recklessness
- Vessel owner’s failure to educate watercraft safety measures
- Machinery failure or vessel owner fails to keep up with preventative maintenance
- Dangerous waters and weather conditions
Deaths are often caused by drowning, fire, or trauma in a collision. If you’re a recreational boater in Florida, it is important that you understand how serious watercraft accidents are and to always implement recommended safety measures when participating in recreational water sports.
What to do After You’ve Been in a Jet Ski or PWC Accident in Florida?
Recreational water activities are fun for many people. Unfortunately, a relaxing day can turn into a traumatic and chaotic experience in an instant. After being in a jet ski accident, you’ll probably feel startled and confused about what to do and might be in shock.
The first and most important thing to remember is to radio in that you were in an accident and need assistance. The radio transceivers should send communications to other watercraft operators, as well as law enforcement and other emergency partners to get you the help and medical care you or others need. Here are some other crucial steps you should take after a jet ski accident in Florida:
Make Sure Everyone is Okay
No matter who is at-fault for the accident, it is important to ensure that everyone is okay. The best-case scenario is that both parties come out of the accident with no injuries and insignificant property damage. On the other hand, more serious consequences may occur including life-altering injuries and fatalities.
It is also crucial that you never take accountability for the accident when speaking with authorities, insurance companies, and medical personnel. Investigators are trained in reconstructing watercraft accidents, therefore, let them determine the cause of the accident. If not, you can potentially impact your claim and the compensation you’re entitled to receive.
Following the incident, thoroughly assess damages to all watercraft vessels. If you have a camera or cell phone handy, take pictures of each vessel and, if there were any potential witnesses, ask them to stick around for a statement. Then, exchange contact and insurance information with the involved parties to ensure that they cover property damage.
In terms of injuries, it is vital that you obtain all relevant evidence including medical X-rays or photos of bruises and gashes. These documentations can serve as evidence in your personal injury claim. Some common types of jet ski injuries that may qualify for financial compensation include:
- Emergency medical care
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital care
- Brain damage
- Mental health care
- Rehabilitation and treatment expenses
- Mobility devices
- Pain and suffering
- Physical pain
- Punitive damages
The compensatory damages that you’re permitted to receive are entirely dependent on your injuries and losses. Speak to a compassionate personal injury attorney to go over all economic and non-economic damages that occurred in your jet ski accident and to help make sure that you’re being compensated fairly.
Consult a Jet Ski or Personal Watercraft Accident Lawyer
Determining liability for a jet ski accident is complicated and demanding, therefore, you should consult a jet ski accident lawyer immediately. Generally, operators, owners, manufacturers, rental companies, and passengers can be held liable in a jet ski accident. Whether you or another party is responsible for the accident, there are many factors the court must consider such as:
- Were the operators aware of how to use the equipment?
- Were there actions the reason the accident occurred?
- Was the jet ski rented?
- Did they sign a waiver?
- Was there alcohol involved?
- Was the accident caused by a defective product?
Location is another component that will have relevance on how the case will be handled. An accident that happens close to the Florida coast will most likely fall under the State of Florida and federal laws, whereas accidents that occur farther away from the coast may be governed under maritime laws.
All these elements take time to identify and are tricky to handle, especially if the jet ski was rented and you or another party signed a waiver acknowledging that you are aware that an injury is possible. However, if the injury was caused by another party’s negligent actions, you have the right to seek compensation in the form of a personal injury lawsuit against one party or multiple parties.
Protect Yourself After a Jet Ski or Personal Watercraft Accident in Boca Raton
Jet ski accidents in Florida account for a steep number of injuries and deaths. Regardless of boating laws that are put into place to prevent them, they are still occurring at an appalling rate. Since jet skis are small and open watercraft vessels, victims are more susceptible to sustaining severe long-term injuries. As a result, victims of jet ski accidents may be entitled to receiving a larger settlement to cover immense medical bills and future financial hardships.
If you’ve been involved in a jet ski accident and were injured in Florida, Robert Baker, Esq of Baker Legal Team is here to help. As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, Robert fully understands the needs of clients and will assist them in gathering the facts of the accident. His deep understanding of the legal landscape has allowed him to successfully obtain millions of dollars in compensation for his clients, securing him top awards and high acknowledgments from the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To get started on your personal injury claim, contact Robert for a free consultation by completing a contact form or calling today at (561) 320-0000.