With thousands of miles of coastline, lakes covering millions of acres, nearly 2,000 miles of rivers and 2,000 marinas, Florida is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. This makes the use of personal watercrafts (PWCs) extremely popular. PWCs are often erroneously referred to as Jet Skis, WaveRunners and Sea Doos, but those specific crafts are actually trademarked names of Kawasaki, Yamaha and Bombadier. Regardless, the popularity of these crafts has led to numerous injuries. When a PWC accident occurs as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may avail yourself of legal remedies to recover compensation for your damages. The lawyers at Osborne & Francis Law Firm PLLC are here to help when you are the victim of negligence as a PWC rider. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys have the skills necessary to obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.
So you've been in a car accident. What happens next? There are many things that you should do but here are the three most important:
Number One: See a doctor immediately.
A broken bone is easy to see, but some injuries are not. The most common injuries from car accidents happen in the neck, back, or head. The only way to diagnose and treat them is by seeing a doctor. A doctor can help ease the pain, provide medication, reassure you of how your injury may impact your daily life, and tell you what not to do to make it worse.
A visit to the doctor can also give you legally protected time off to recover and rest your body after an accident, and it documents and provides the evidence you may need for your case. Even a five-mile-per-hour car accident can cause a serious injury. So whether you've had a severe accident or a minor collision, see a doctor. And if you don't have medical insurance, let us know and we'll make sure that you receive the proper care.
Number Two: Write everything down.
Even if it seems small, during times of stress or injury it is common to forget the little details. Make sure you keep note of the pain that you're in. With neck, back, and head injuries, sometimes simple activities such as walking up the stairs or picking up a toddler may cause severe pain.
You may not be sleeping well at night. Documenting how much you sleep and how often you wake up due to pain is also very important. And lastly, if you have any cuts or bruises, take daily photos as you heal. This will provide visual evidence of the injuries that you've suffered.
Number Three: Do not speak to an insurance company until you've spoken to a lawyer.
Please understand that the insurance adjuster works for a billion-dollar corporation and not for you. Their interests are solely for their insurance company, and their goal is to provide you with the least amount of financial settlement as quickly as possible. When you do speak with them, remember they will record the conversation. Why do they do this? Because they've been trained to ask questions that may confuse you. So talk to us before you talk to them.
So remember: See a doctor, document everything, and call us before calling the insurance company for your free private consultation. We are here for you. Real tough lawyers fighting real tough issues.
A PWC is defined by the Coast Guard as a 13-foot inboard vessel that is powered by a jet pump and inboard motor, and designed to be operated by an individual who is kneeling, standing or sitting in the craft. With speeds reaching 85 mph, the very nature of these crafts leaves PWC riders at risk of many hazards, especially from boat operators. Their small size makes them difficult to spot in the water and their speed often prohibits successful evasive action when they are spotted. Add to this the often inattentive nature of boat operators, and negligent accidents can quickly occur.
In many cases, an inexperienced and insufficiently trained operator may be ejected off the back of the PWC into the path of the craft’s high-pressure jet pump water stream, severely injuring the rider. While a high number of PWCs are privately owned, commercial rentals of these crafts represent a significant portion of their presence on the water. Manufacturers and rental agencies overwhelmingly target young, inexperienced consumers in their marketing campaigns, adding to the risks of operating these crafts. Design defects, such as an inability to effectively control the direction of the PWC and the lack of a rudder, compound the difficulties associated with operating these vessels. While the majority of PWC riders experience no more than an exhilarating ride that feels quite dangerous, those who actually experience the hazards first-hand may never be the same.
Devastating personal watercraft accident injuries
The U.S. Coast Guard has identified PWC accidents as the second most common type of water vessel accident, and the number two leading cause of death in U.S. vessel accidents. Collisions are the most common cause of injury or death, followed by falls from the crafts and being run over. Design defects and poor maintenance contribute to PWC accidents and injuries as well. People involved in PWC accidents may suffer some of the following injuries due to blunt force trauma, drowning and other consequences of a personal watercraft accident:
Florida law requires renters of PWCs to be 18 years of age, but you need only be 14 years old to ride one. Use of life jackets is also required. Unfortunately, the sparse laws and regulations for PWCs are often quite inadequate in safety standards.
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Traumatic personal watercraft accident injuries can have a permanent impact on a victim’s life. And the prevalence of young PWC riders makes this situation even more tragic. If you or someone you love has been injured, or lost their life to a personal watercraft accident, please call (561) 293-2600 or contact Osborne & Francis Law Firm PLLC online to discuss your case with a member of our personal injury legal team.