If I Get injured While Water Skiing, Who Is Liable?
Two teenage girls recently got seriously hurt after their jet skis crashed near Sandsprit Park in Stuart, Florida. Police reported that they had severe injuries to their legs and lower regions and were taken to a local hospital where their condition was described as serious but not life-threatening. Water skiing is also a popular activity in the state, with so many people who thrill to the notion of standing on the water and zooming across it at incredible speeds. Unfortunately, sometimes things can go wrong, and the individual riding the jet skis can get hurt, even seriously injured. If that happens to you or a loved one, it’s crucial to know what to do immediately after the accident — and how to ensure that if you’re injured, you get full compensation for your injuries.
How Can Using Jet Skis Lead To Accidents?
The U.S. Coast Guard has reported that jet skis are involved in a surprisingly large percentage of all boating accidents, as much as 30 percent.
There are different reasons why boating accidents occur, but there are some common causes. In some instances, the people on the jet skis get distracted by something and fail to pay attention to what they’re doing. They can also be inexperienced or reckless, eager to try some crazy stunts.
In other instances, it’s the person operating the boat or personal watercraft who stops paying attention to what they were doing, and their carelessness can lead to a collision with other boats, rocks, or a dock.
Alcohol consumption can play a role in boating accidents, particularly if the boat operator or the person on the jet skis is under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a lack of judgment in what can quickly become a risky and dangerous situation.
Other risk factors can include:
- Equipment failure on the boat
- Sudden rough weather
- People underestimate the dangers of boats
If you’ve been injured in a jet ski accident, the next question is whether negligence was involved and whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Victims of a jet ski accident can be eligible for compensation, but to be entitled to compensation for your injuries, you must be able to show that negligence was involved.
How Do You Determine Responsibility in a Water Skiing Accident?
There are different ways to get injured while jet skiing, including experiencing a hard fall, hitting something just below the surface in the water, or being unable to swim once an accident happens.
It can be complicated determining who’s responsible for a jet ski accident and whether negligence was involved. If a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the court will consider several factors, including whether the driver understood how to operate the boating equipment, whether they got distracted, if they were speeding or operating recklessly, and if the operator was inexperienced.
Other factors can include:
- Any possible drug and alcohol use
- Defects in the equipment that was used
- And lack of safety warnings on the water
Another key factor will be determining whether the victim who got injured signed a waiver before going out on the water. Jet skiing is considered an activity that carries an “assumption of risk.” In legal terms, that means jet skiers go out on the water knowing that an injury is possible.
Clearly, the best way to avoid being injured while water skiing is to prepare yourself, learn how to do it right, and to operate in the safest manner possible. That includes:
- Wearing a life vest
- Knowing how to swim
- Learning basic safety techniques while boating or skiing
What Should You Do Right After a Water Skiing Accident?
In a water skiing accident, it’s often necessary to quickly get the victim to shore and to contact emergency medical personnel. It’s also important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to review your situation. An attorney will know how the state’s laws cover activities like water skiing, and whether it’s considered an inherently risky activity in ways that would absolve others from most liability following an accident. The major exception to that is whether there were circumstances of gross negligence when the accident happened.
An attorney can help determine who caused the injury, whether it could have been avoided, and what level of fault can be attributed to the ski boat operator, the skier, any third parties, and whether alcohol or drugs was involved. Since Florida is a beach state, there are a large number of boating and jet ski accidents here every year. People have sustained serious injuries that included broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis. Don’t try to recover from this without seeking full compensation for your injuries.
Orlando Boating Accident Lawyers Are Available to Help
Attorneys with the Umansky Law Firm have practiced personal injury law for decades, with more than 100 years of combined experience. With our help, you can recover compensation for any boating or water skiing injuries you’ve sustained. We want you to get back to your normal life by recovering as quickly as possible. Let us handle the insurance companies so you can have peace of mind during this difficult time. Call our office or complete our contact form for a free consultation.