Top Five Causes Of Jet Ski Accidents
Personal watercraft are basically water motorcycles. They are lots of fun, but also very dangerous, even in ideal circumstances. Although jet skis and other such watercraft make up only a tiny amount of the boat traffic on Florida waterways, they account for about a fifth of the serious accidents thereon. Florida law imposes some safety requirements, such as mandatory equipment and licensing rules. But these regulations are sparsely enforced.
Due to the seriousness of these collisions, a Tampa personal watercraft accident lawyer can usually obtain substantial compensation for these victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Potential responsible parties include the operators, jet ski owners, and personal watercraft manufacturers.
For many people, alcohol consumption and boating go hand in hand. Yet drinking and boating is even more dangerous than drinking and driving. Watercraft, especially small watercraft, are very difficult to control, even if the operator is in top mental and physical condition.
Alcohol consumption dulls the senses. People who drink are less able to react quickly to changing circumstances, like the boat traffic on a lake or river. Furthermore, alcohol gives people an artificial sense of euphoria. So, they are not only ability impaired. They are also more likely to take unnecessary risks. This combination might be great at parties, but it is extremely dangerous when operating high-speed vehicles.
In almost all cases, jet ski riders go out to enjoy themselves, not to get from Point A to Point B. So, operating the personal watercraft is a secondary concern at best. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of road accidents. Because of the inherent difficulties of using a personal watercraft, distracted operation is even more hazardous in these situations.
News reporters often say that heavy rain, thick fog, high winds, or other such inclement weather conditions “caused” an accident. That’s usually not true. The weather might have contributed to the wreck. But the operator is usually responsible for the wreck itself, at least in most cases. Jet ski operators have a legal responsibility to operate their watercraft safely, regardless of the weather conditions. If they cannot do so, they should not be out on the water at all.
Cars have brakes and personal watercraft do not. That one simple difference is extraordinarily significant. Drivers can stop speeding cars. But speeding jet skis must float to a stop. The faster they are moving, the longer this process takes. Operators who are riding above the posted speed limit are presumptively liable for damages in Florida. They could also be liable if they are riding too fast for the conditions.
Operators are liable for damages if they were negligent, and owners are liable for damages if they knowingly allowed incompetent people to operate their personal watercraft. Usually, manufacturers are strictly liable for any damages their defective products cause.
This defect could be a design defect or a manufacturing defect. Design defects usually happen while the jet ski is still on the drawing board. A manufacturing defect usually involves the use of cheap parts or materials.
Contact a Thorough Hillsborough County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact Mark H. Wright, PLLC. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.