In Little Sarasota Bay, an accident involving two personal watercraft (PWCs) recently occurred, injuring a 27-year-old woman. The collision took place while both vessels were operating on plane (when a PWC runs on the surface of the water rather than moving through it). The injured woman was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment.
Who’s responsible in a PWC accident?
Personal watercraft (PWC) accidents can lead to significant injuries. In Florida, victims of PWC accidents may be eligible for various forms of compensation for damages they've suffered.
PWC accidents are often caused by the negligence and carelessness of other operators. These accidents can result from falling off PWCs, wake jumping, colliding with stationary objects like docks or rocks, crashing into other watercraft and equipment failure. The negligence of operators is a primary factor in most PWC accidents.
Note that owners who lend their watercraft to others are held responsible for injuries caused by the operators or their PWCs. Owners must ensure that those operating their PWCs have the necessary skills and experience to operate them safely, or they may also be held liable.
Waivers and liability
Renters of PWCs often sign waivers, which may protect rental business owners to some extent. However, signing a waiver does not absolve renters of all rights to sue the PWC owner, manufacturer or other operators. If an operator or passenger is not at fault, they may have a valid claim against the owner and manufacturer. Waivers may not cover cases involving defect or negligent maintenance.
PWC owners may opt for liability insurance to cover damages caused to swimmers, other PWC operators, boaters and property damage. Homeowners with PWCs may have an additional layer of coverage through their homeowner's insurance policies.
Ultimately, the best way to determine liability—and whether you have a valid claim—is to contact a skilled Sarasota, FL accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.