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Fort Lauderdale personal watercraft accidents a common danger

A 21-year-old Naples woman saw her $1.75 million verdict reduced to zero earlier this month after a jury failed to find the manufacturer of the 2006 Sea-Doo watercraft negligent in design of their product, the Naples Daily News reports.

She was injured during a Memorial Day ride three years ago. It was the first time she’d ridden a personal watercraft.
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She sustained extensive internal injuries caused when water shot inside her from the jet thrusts after she slipped and fell from the vessel. Recovery took several months and required her to temporarily wear a colostomy bag. According to the Naples Daily News, 17 other women have been similarly injured and filed claims against several manufacturers, but her attorney was barred from sharing that information with the jury.

Florida is home for many boating and personal watercraft enthusiasts, and recreational and commercial fisherman. Sea- and shore-side activities are a major tourism draw. As the holiday season quickly approaches, beachside hotels, motels and rental properties all over South Florida will be filling up with seasonal visitors escaping the cold and longing for time in the sun.

Our Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyers know that whether a local resident or a holiday-season guest, the use of personal watercraft such as jet skis and parasailing will draw experienced and inexperienced users alike. And that it is as much the owner’s responsibility as it is the rental agents to properly instruct operators and passengers and provide a safe riding experience.

Since 2003, 760 people have sustained personal watercraft injuries in Florida, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reports. The most common type of accident involves striking another vessel or a stationary object and falls on or from the rig. Speeding, operator inexperience and inattention are the most common causes for personal watercraft accidents. According to FWC, 62 percent of all boating and watercraft accidents happen in just 10 counties – Monroe, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Broward Counties top that list.

Of those injured or involved in a personal watercraft accident, nearly 70 percent are using borrowed or rented equipment. The most common injuries sustained are broken bones, lacerations, contusion, head injuries and internal injuries. To avoid injury, taking a boater safety course and reading the owner’s manual, operator instructions and safety warnings before riding any type of personal watercraft is strongly recommended.

The Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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