With so many water sports and watercraft to enjoy in Texas, you and your loved ones can be at
higher risk for watercraft injuries. Whether you have a boat, a jet ski, love to water ski, or are an
avid swimmer, being out on the water year-round, can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.
However if you do suffer a personal watercraft injury caused by someone else, or the watercraft
you are operating, you should immediately speak to a personal watercraft injury attorney to help
you seek compensation.
What is Personal Watercraft?
Often called PWCs, personal watercraft are small pleasure craft commonly known as jet skis.
They operate with an inboard jet drive. Much like a motorcycle for water, they are typically
operated with a single person, although they can accommodate a passenger. Operators can sit,
stand, or kneel when operating a PWC and they are often towed behind boats.
How do Jet Ski Accidents Occur?
Reckless driving tends to be the most common cause of jet ski accidents. Although you do
require a license to operate a jet ski in Texas, in theory, anyone can hop on a jet ski regardless
of training. In fact, according to the National Coast Guard, most accidents are caused by
operators as young as 11 up until the age of 20. Reaching speeds as high as 70 mph, skill is
needed to maneuver the craft safely.
They operate quite differently than other types of watercraft. They can be tricky to steer, and
drivers can encounter issues when faced with wakes from other watercraft or when dealing with
the thrust system. This increases the risk for operator error and accidents. In hand with
improper training, common causes of accidents include:
● Water/weather conditions
● Operating under the influence
● Missing/defective safety equipment
● Unsafe speed
● Operator inexperience
● Operator inattention
● Poor visibility
However, in some cases accidents can be caused by manufacturer errors that make safe
operation impossible. These accidents can cause injury to the operator, passengers people out
in other watercraft or swimmers in the water.
What Types of Injuries Can Jet Ski Accidents Cause?
The US Coast Guard recorded 48 PWC-related fatalities in 2017. Of the 48 deaths 17 were by
drowning, and 29 by other injuries. Blunt force trauma was the most common cause of death.
Common PWC injuries include:
● Broken bones
● Spinal cord injuries
● Brain injuries
PWC injuries can lead to hospital stays, rehabilitation, and can even be life-altering.
How Can a Personal Watercraft Injury Lawyer Help?
Depending on the facts of the accident you could seek compensation if the negligence of the
operator or manufacturer is involved. Lawyers can look into the circumstances and explore
potential lawsuits for those involved. Only 18% of PWC accidents show the owner as the
operator. As well, 84% of operators involved in PWC accidents occur due to a lack of education
or proper training. Therefore, finding a negligent party to hold liable can lead to compensation
for the following potential damages:
● Medical expenses
● Rehabilitation expenses
● Lost wages
● Future earnings
● Loss of consortium
If you or a loved one have been injured in a type of watercraft accident, do not hesitate to contact the Malley Law Firm. Tony Malley has years of experience in advising clients regarding their watercraft accidents and in receiving the compensation they deserve for their injuries.