Throughout Miami, residents and tourists are enthusiastic about water sports and enjoying the state’s thousands of miles of coastline. Some of the most common yet most dangerous types of watercraft that are often seen off the coastline and on the state’s waterways are jet skis and wave runners. These types of equipment pose certain risks for users who lack experience and proficiency with handling their speed and power. Sadly, a boating accident can change a victim’s life forever in a matter of moments.
Injuries from jet ski and wave runner accidents can be extremely devastating. Traumatic head injuries and spinal cord injuries are not unheard of. If your accident was due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, you might be entitled to compensation. At Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind P.A., our dedicated Miami jet ski accident lawyers are ready to assist victims and bereaved families with seeking compensation after an accident. Call our Miami jet ski accident attorneys at (866) 386-1762 to schedule a consultation.
How Jet Ski/Sea-Doo and Wave Runner Accidents Can Happen in Miami
Jet skis, Sea-Doos, and wave runners may sound very different, but they are all actually the same type of vehicle. These vehicles are commonly referred to as “jet skis;” however, Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, and Wave Runner are different brands of the same thing. These vehicles are actually called personal watercraft. Personal watercraft are so popular because they allow people to drive across bodies of water. They can reach very high rates of speed and many people love the feeling of speeding across the ocean or a lake. However, this is also precisely what makes them so dangerous.
Accidents on personal watercraft can happen in a number of different ways. Often, the person operating the watercraft is traveling very fast and is not paying attention to where they are going. This frequently leads to collisions with other watercraft or stationary objects like docks or jetties. You could be on the water, perhaps on your own personal watercraft, when you are suddenly struck by someone on a jet ski who was not paying attention.
Many people rent their jet skis from businesses along the beach. Accidents happen when the people in charge of renting our watercraft fail to give proper instructions to customers. Likewise, accidents can occur if these business owners do not maintain their watercraft. Mechanical malfunctions can also result in serious accidents. Call our Miami jet ski accident lawyers if you were injured in a similar accident.
Filing a Lawsuit for Jet Ski or Wave Runner Accidents in Miami
Florida provides ample legal recourse for victims of jet ski and wave runner accidents in Miami. The state experiences more boating accidents than any other state in the country, including incidents involving jet skis and wave runners. If you have been injured in this type of accident, you can bring a negligence claim against the individual or business that caused your injuries to occur. It is important to include all of the potential defendants in the action to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve. This may mean including any individuals involved in the accident and the business that owned the watercraft vehicle.
The nature of your claim will depend on how your accident happened. Your case could be based on the negligence of the defendant. Alternatively, your case could be based on an intentional tort, meaning the defendant intended for the accident to happen because they wanted to hurt you. If your accident happened because your watercraft malfunctioned, you could even file a lawsuit against the vehicle’s manufacturer. Speak with our Miami jet ski accident attorneys to determine the best way to approach your case.
Proving Negligence for a Jet Ski/Sea-Doo Accident in Miami
To recover compensation, you must show that the defendant or defendants failed to use due care. We must also demonstrate that their failure was the cause of the accident. Precisely what kind of due care was owed to you will depend on your relationship with the defendant. Our Miami jet ski accident lawyers can help you navigate this process.
Duty of Care
If the individual who caused your injuries was the operator of the machine, you might be required to prove that they failed to operate the machine in a safe and prudent manner, taking into account any boating and maritime laws that applied at the time of the accident. A person operating a personal watercraft, like a jet ski, owes a duty of care to drive safely and in a way a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
As with yachts and other types of watercraft, many users rent jet skis and wave runners from concessionaries around the coastline during vacations to Miami. Unfortunately, many of these companies fail to provide proper instructions and safety protocols to renters, letting them drive away with a dangerous and powerful machine. This is also true of boat rentals, which has led to a high number of boating accidents throughout Florida. In this instance, our Miami jet ski accident attorneys can help you bring a claim against the rental company for failing to use due care and for failing to follow applicable rules and regulations when renting the equipment.
Breach of Due Care
Once a duty of care has been established, we next have to prove that this duty was somehow violated or breached. Exactly what a breach or violation looks like will vary depending on the duty that was owed. For example, another operator of a jet ski has a duty to drive safely. If they drive in a clearly dangerous way, they have breached their duty of care.
If we are talking about a duty of care owed by a jet ski rental business, the violation will be different. A rental business has a duty to maintain their equipment, so it is in safe, working order. They must also make sure the people who rent watercraft are properly instructed on operating the vehicles safely. If the rental business fails to give safety instructions, they can be said to have breached their duty of care. They also breach their duty of care if they rent out equipment that is faulty or damaged.
If a lapse in care or caution has been established, the plaintiff must show that they would not have been injured but for the defendant’s lack of due care. This stage of the litigation is called causation. In general, jet ski and wave runner accidents involve speeding, a failure to pay attention to the waterway ahead, a lack of education regarding how to operate and control the vehicle, rough water conditions, or intoxicated drivers at the helm. The physical nature of the equipment leaves riders exposed to the elements, which can make a collision with another vessel or object potentially life-threatening for victims.
We must show that there was a breach of due care and that breach resulted in the accident and your injuries. A defendant may try to argue that some other independent factor is the real cause of the accident. We must demonstrate that, had it not been for the defendant’s breach of due care, the accident would not have happened.
You do not have much of a case if you cannot prove damages. Damages are any injuries or losses you suffered because of the jet ski accident. Damages can be physical and tangible, like bodily injuries or property damage to your watercraft. Damages can also be non-tangible, like pain and suffering. The important thing is that damages must be real. We cannot make a claim based on injuries that could have been. The accident must have been actual rather than a near miss or a close call.
Once you have established that the defendant’s negligence was the primary cause of your injuries, you can then present information supporting your claim for monetary compensation in the lawsuit. Some of the most common categories of damages are pain and suffering, ambulance fees, medical bills, and payment for any wages that were lost during recuperation. If you experience severe injuries that result in permanent and life-altering physical or mental impacts, you may also seek compensation for any estimated future medical care needs as well as compensation for your reduced earning capacity.
Accidents from Rented or Loaned Jet Skis in Florida
Florida has recognized a legal claim called “negligent entrustment,” which holds a defendant liable if the plaintiff can prove that the entity that provided the vehicle knew or should have known that the recipient was likely to use it in a manner involving an unreasonable risk to their safety or the safety of others. A lawyer who is experienced in handling water sport accident cases and similar situations can analyze the various theories of liability that may apply to your situation.
One example of negligent entrustment might be when a jet ski rental business allows a visibly intoxicated person to rent a jet ski and take it out on the water. While it is true that people should not be drinking and operating any type of vehicle on land or sea, watercraft rental businesses should also know better than to permit drunk people to use their equipment.
Maritime Law and Jet Ski/Sea-Doo Accidents in Miami
Your accident may fall under something called maritime law rather than the ordinary law of Florida. Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, is a federal body of law that governs accidents and behaviors on the water. Generally, your accident must have occurred on navigable waters to fall within maritime jurisdiction. Navigable waters are typically any bodies of water that are used or could be used for interstate or foreign commerce. This usually includes larger bodies of water, like oceans and lakes.
Maritime is not like regular law and tends to be a bit more niche. It is crucial that you hire an attorney who is experienced in this field as it could come up in a case involving a jet ski accident. Our Miami jet ski accident attorneys are very knowledgeable in the field of maritime law and are prepared to help your case.
Discuss Your Injury Claim With Our Miami Jet Ski Accident Lawyers
Suffering injuries as a result of another individual’s carelessness on the water is one of the most stressful experiences that someone can endure. Pursuing legal action to receive the compensation that you are owed for your injuries can be even more stressful and daunting. We ensure that each client receives the zealous legal counsel that they deserve.
Our team of compassionate and reliable attorneys has handled claims arising from many different types of watercraft accidents, ranging from sailboats to ferries. We represent victims throughout Miami. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind P.A. at (866) 386-1762 or contact our Miami jet ski accident attorneys online to set up your free consultation.