Jet Ski Accident Lawyer
Caring, dedicated injury attorneys in Brevard County, Florida
South Florida has been blessed with crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, serene lakes, and expansive rivers. When you combine Florida’s abundance of natural resources with its year-round warm temperatures, you wind up with the perfect environment for watersports enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the more people there are taking advantage of Florida’s natural waterways, the more likely accidents are to occur. In Florida, jet ski accident rates are higher than they are anywhere else in the country. Annually, thousands of individuals are injured each year on the water. If you’ve been involved in a jet ski accident in Brevard County, Florida, you certainly aren’t alone. The good news is, you can take action. If you’ve been injured in a jet ski accident that was caused by the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Understanding how personal injury laws apply to watersports accidents in Florida can help you decide how to proceed with your unique case.
Most common Jet Ski injuries
Injuries sustained from jet skis can be mild, severe, and in some cases, deadly. The context of the collision will greatly impact the severity of any injuries that are subsequently sustained. No matter how mild an injury may seem, when crashes occur, the risk of drowning is greatly increased. Irresponsible jet ski operators may not see other people in the water. Being hit by a jet ski can be deadly. The risk of injury increases if the jet ski operator is under the influence of mind-altering substances such as alcohol or marijuana. Innocent swimmers may be hit without warning by tourists who are driving jet skis illegally. Here are a few of the most commonly seen injuries directly resulting from jet ski accidents:
- broken bones
- spinal injuries
- head injuries
- brain damage
- internal organ injuries
- internal bleeding
As you can see, jet ski accidents are no laughing matter. A simple mistake could take your vacation and turn it into a tragedy. That’s why it’s so important to know what your legal rights are. When jet ski accidents occur, there is almost always a party involved in negligence of some kind. You have a right to hold the offending party responsible for their dangerous actions.
Most common causes of Jet Ski accidents in Florida
Jet Ski accidents can be caused by many different factors. Reckless negligence isn’t always the cause of accidents, but some kind of negligence usually is. Even if external factors like inclement weather or mechanical failure are blamed, negligence is still probably at play somewhere. A responsible jet ski operator should take weather conditions into account when operating their recreational vehicle. They should drive at reasonable speeds, in designated areas, and should never operate a jet ski under the influence of alcohol. Operators are also responsible for the mechanical condition of their vehicle. Your attorney will be able to help you present your case in a way that shows exactly how the negligence of another impacted your life directly. Any negligent jet ski operator who injures another person will be held liable and responsible for any damages that may result from a collision. Here is a list of the most common causes of jet accidents in South Florida:
- BUI – Boating under the influence of any mind altering substance can be extraordinarily dangerous.
- operator inexperience – We see this frequently with jet ski rentals.
- lack of safety equipment – An example would be not wearing a helmet or life jacket.
- speeding – Driving at unsafe speeds can cause accidents easily.
- operation in unauthorized areas – Jet skis being used in areas where swimmers are present can be life-threatening.
- ignoring safety procedures – Failure to read safety warnings and understand emergency safety procedures can be very dangerous.
- failure to maintain proper lookout – This is usually due to poor visibility from spraying water or failure to use proper eyewear.
- mechanical failure – Rental companies often fail to check for damaged mechanical components between rentals.
- inclement weather – Poor weather conditions may cause dangerous problems.
- other water vehicles – Hitting the wake of another boat may cause a jet ski to overturn.
In Florida, a 4-year statute of limitations is in place for any personal injury claims. An injured person must file a claim within the 4 year time period if they wish to be compensated for damages. In most cases, jet ski accident claims are filed due to negligence on the part of another individual. To successfully file a claim of negligence, four key factors must usually be in place. According to Florida statutes, these factors are: “the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant breached the legal duty of care that was owed, the defendant’s breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.” If these four concepts have been proven, a personal injury negligence claim will usually be upheld by a judge in court. Your lawyer can further elaborate on these terms, what they mean, and how they apply to you and your individual situation. In layman’s terms, this means that the person at fault was breaking a law or acting dangerously, they shouldn’t have been, they were the reason you got hurt, and you sustained injuries.
Damage victims may receive
There are two different types of damages that may be collected by the victim of a jet ski accident in Florida. These are compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are awarded in order to make the victim whole once again. There are two categories of compensatory damages which are nonmonetary and monetary. Monetary damages are usually lost earnings, medical expenses, rehabilitation, household services, and wrongful death damages. Non-Monetary damages are the loss of employment, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
These damages are awarded when the judge finds that the conduct of the person who caused the accident was grossly negligent or shockingly dangerous. Punitive damages are usually awarded when the person who caused the accident is also charged with a crime. This is commonly seen in cases where jet ski operators are speeding, driving recklessly, or are under the influence of an illicit substance like pharmaceuticals or alcohol. These damages usually will be triple the amount of compensatory damages awarded or up to $500,000. The greater amount will usually be chosen. For example, if you were awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages, you’d get $600,000 in punitive damages. These higher amounts are usually seen in cases where wrongful death has occurred or life-long injuries have been sustained.
Let us help you recover what’s rightfully yours
If you have been the victim of a jet ski accident, you aren’t alone. Titusville victims of jet ski accidents should contact an experienced Brevard County, Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Couture Law, P.A., we will give your personal injury case the dedication and time that it requires for the best possible outcome. Our experienced and skilled staff team is ready to review your personal injury today. We have seasoned attorneys who can provide you with a free case evaluation and help you decide how best to proceed.