Thousands of residents and visitors flock to the warm waters of South Florida to enjoy the scenery while riding a personal watercraft (PWC). You may know these vehicles by their common names, such as waverunners and jet skis; they are popular as a mode of transportation as well as recreation. However, whether you own your own craft or rent from one of the many companies that line the beaches from West Palm Beach down to Miami, there are risks involved with PWCs. Statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are proof: The counties along Florida’s southern coastline rank high for fatal and injury-causing PWC accidents.
Many of these incidents are the result of careless, reckless acts, and could have been prevented through the exercise of due caution. If you were injured on a PWC because of someone else’s negligence, you should get in touch with a Miami boating and marine accidents lawyer right away. Some background information may also be helpful.
Common Causes of PWC Accidents
A collision between the average boat and a PWC is similar in some ways to crashes between passenger cars and motorcycles. The person on the smaller, unprotected vehicle is most likely to suffer severe, sometimes fatal injuries. Plus, there is an added risk for riders on PWCs because the vast majority of victims will be tossed into the water. Boater error is frequently the underlying cause of PWC accidents, such as:
- Use of alcohol or drugs, especially since different laws apply to the crime of boating while intoxicated;
- Operator inexperience or lack of training;
- Failure to comply with or understand the laws governing boat traffic and navigation;
- Operating a craft that is not seaworthy;
- Boating without key safety equipment on board;
- Failure to use proper lighting; and,
- Many others.
When negligence is the cause behind a PWC accident, you may seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
State Law on PWC Rentals
In some cases, a PWC accident could be the result of negligence by the company that rented it to you. These organizations are required to properly maintain their vehicles, and they must provide basic instruction on how the PWC works. Unfortunately, the checkout procedure involves signing the rental agreement and showing the user how to turn the PWC on and off. Employees do not include sufficient training on safety and warnings about potential hazards. Plus, many companies will not think twice about letting a renter out in rough waters or when foul weather is in the forecast.
Many of these issues may amount to negligence, which means you may have a claim against the rental company that did not exercise due care in the transaction.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Miami Boating and Marine Accidents Attorney
For more information on your rights and remedies as the victim of a PWC accident, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. Our team has represented many clients in on-the-water collisions, so you can trust us to recover the compensation you deserve.