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Jet Ski Accidents

While jet skis can be a thrilling way to spend the weekend, they also pose dangers. What begins as a pleasant day on the water can quickly turn tragic.  Unfortunately, while these vessels are known for providing an exhilarating ride, with the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, they can also be extremely dangerous.  Jet skis, also referred to as personal watercrafts, “wet bikes,” and wave runners, have grown in popularity. Personal watercrafts account for approximately 11% of all registered boats in the United States. As more people ride jet skis, the likelihood of an accident rises. According to the US Coast Guard, personal watercrafts were involved in 30% of all reported boating accidents and 36% of all boating injuries.

In the hands of an inexperienced operator, a jet ski can pose significant dangers with disastrous results. While you cannot prevent all accidents, the more you know, the less likely it is that you will be involved in a serious jet ski accident. If you or a loved one were injured in a jet ski accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.  We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

Driving a jet ski or a personal watercraft should be treated as if the operator were driving a car. If you are in a congested area, you must pay close attention to your surroundings. These vehicles can cause dangerous situations because they travel quickly and can basically fly over water. Whether on a personal watercraft or a jet ski, accidents tend to have a few common causes.  Operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, dangerous waters, weather conditions, inattention of the operator, the inexperience of the operator, failure to look for other boaters, excessive speed, machinery failure, failure to follow waterway rules, and the forces of waves or wakes are just a few of those causes.

When a jet ski accident occurs, the severity of the injuries sustained is increased because, like motorcyclists, jet ski operators have little or no protection to prevent serious bodily injuries.  Jet ski accidents are frequently violent and result in severe injuries and possible loss of life. A collision between two personal watercrafts (other jet skis, boats, ships, etc.) accounts for half of these accidents. Collisions with stationary objects (buoys, docks, etc.), airborne incidents, sharp turns, and failure to stop or correct course are examples of other types of incidents.

Collisions occur frequently when the jet ski operator does not know how much time it takes to bring the vehicle to a stop. When this happens, they may collide with another rider or an object nearby. Waterway regulations typically state that jet ski riders are not permitted to jump another vessel’s wake if they are within 100 feet of the boat. This is to keep the jet ski driver from accidentally colliding with the other vessel. It is also common to have laws prohibiting sharp turns near other riders.

Serious lacerations, broken or fractured bones, amputations, burns, head trauma, spinal injuries, whiplash, and death are just a few of the injuries that a person can sustain in jet ski accidents.  Despite the fact that these injuries are common, there are ways to avoid them.

LIFEJACKETS. LIFEJACKETS, LIFEJACKETS! Wearing a lifejacket (or, at the very least, having one nearby) should always be at the top of your safety list, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned swimmer. The council recommends that children under the age of 13 wear life jackets while swimming or participating in other open-water activities. This also applies to adults while operating jet skis. While drowning is by far the most common cause of death in jet ski accidents, 75% of all victims drowned, and up to 86% of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.

DEVICE FOR ENGINE CUT-OFF. Things occur. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. On the water, emergencies can happen at any time. Whether you accidentally drop something into the water or, worse, a person falls overboard. An engine cut-off device, which is usually worn around your wrist or attached to your lifejacket, ensures that the jet ski’s engine shuts down instantly.

DO NOT DRINK AND BOAT (or operate a jet ski). Yes, there is such a thing as a BUI. As a result, there will be no “Boating Under the Influence.” BUIs are responsible for one-third of all recreational boating fatalities, according to the council. We all want to have fun on the water, but just like driving, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is a no-no. The effects of alcohol on vision, balance, coordination, and judgment are numerous. Accidents are becoming more likely. It is illegal in every state to operate a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The Coast Guard enforces a federal law that also allows for BUIs. Canoes, rowboats, and ships are all included.

HAVE A PLAN AND WAYS TO COMMUNICATE AWAY FROM THE WATERCRAFT. Again, you never know what might happen on your outdoor water adventures. It’s always a good idea to let someone back on land know your route and how long you intend to be on the water. You should also ensure that any communication devices, such as phones, emergency locator beacons, or walkie-talkies, are charged, have a signal, and function properly.

If you or your family have been impacted by a jet ski accident, you can trust our experienced and knowledgeable legal team to assess your case. We have more than 30 years of experience practicing personal injury law. Contact us today to tell us more about your needs. The experienced personal injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano have won cases for patients across the Upstate New York area, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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