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What are my Rights in a Personal Watercraft Injury Suit in Florida?

Excluding California, Florida has more than 3 times the number of boating accidents than any other state. There are over 1 million registered boats in the state and of those, more than 100,000 are personal watercraft. About 15% of all the registered boats are personal watercraft. Around 97% of those are privately owned and a miniscule 3% are owned by rental companies. Amazingly, however, personal watercraft account for close to 30% of all vessel injuries in Florida.

Most of the accidents involving personal watercraft involve colliding with another vessel or with a fixed object. The causes of these accidents run the gamut but include:

  • Inexperience of the user
  • Carelessness or inattention of the operator
  • Excessive speed
  • Drug or alcohol intoxication and
  • No proper look-out
Florida Regulations Governing Rental of Personal Watercraft

Rented personal watercraft cause a disproportionate amount of vessel accidents in Florida. For 2012, about 38% of accidents involving personal watercraft involved rental units. If you add borrowed vessels- another situation where the operator is inexperienced or unused to the machine- to that tally, it becomes almost 66%. As a result, Florida has regulations in place to govern the rental of personal watercraft. The regulations require, among other things:

  • A person must be at least 18 years of age to rent a personal watercraft in Florida

  • Anyone 21 and under must have a boater safety education identification card along with a state issued identification card to operate any vessel with 10 or more horsepower (with some exceptions)

  • The rental agency must provide instruction on the safe operation of the vessel

  • The rental agency must provide an on the water demonstration and a check ride to validate the competency of the renter

What are my Rights if I am Injured?

You can bring a lawsuit against the offending party in Florida state court in most cases. Typical causes of action include:

Negligence action against the operator/owner based on one of the following reasons:

  • Negligent entrustment by rental facility if the facility did not provide safety instruction or have proper safety instructions posted; if the rental facility did conduct a proper demonstration or check ride; or if the renter is not 18 or does not have boater safety education credentials.

  • Reckless or careless operation by the operator. Anyone who operates a personal watercraft with a willful disregard for the safety of person or property is guilty of a misdemeanor and potentially liable for injuries under a negligence theory.

Contact a Miami Boating Accident Lawyer

Finally, if you have been injured in a personal watercraft accident, you should contact a skilled and experienced attorney. There are often special circumstances involved in these types of accidents and knowing the right way to handle your case can be the difference between recovery and failure. Please contact the Broward and Miami-Dade County firm of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. and take advantage of our more than 50 years of experience with cases like this. Give us a call at (877) 475-2905 to set up your free consultation today and make sure your rights are preserved. We have the knowledge, skills and experience to get you the results that you deserve.

Client Reviews

I am a lawyer in Massachusetts. I had a case to refer against a cruise line in Florida and did my homework on which firm to represent the client. Let me take the guessing out of it for you. Call this law firm and sign up. Brandon Parrelli, Google User
A big shout out to Nick Gerson & Schwartz for helping me navigate my care after a fall against a major cruise ship. They took care of me all along the way and saw me through such a very hard time. I highly recommend their firm if you are looking for a firm that truly cares about you. 5 Stars all the way! Janna Wright, Google User
Mr Nick Gerson has been extremely attentive (even on weekends!) and has been more than willing to take time to answer all my questions. His receptionist (Suzanne) and paralegal (Carla) are courteous, friendly and highly efficient in all matters. Mr Gerson's diligence lead to a very quick resolution of my case. I am more than pleased to recommend you seek him as your attorney. You will not regret you did!! G.I.B.
Mr. Gerson and all his team gave to my case the careful and professional attention it needed from the beginning to end. Unfortunately, a year ago I was involved in a car accident on the victim side. I have appreciation for the good service that was given to me and my situation. Thanks. Cales & Mr. Hyde (Carlos Andrés García Jiménez), Google User
Gerson & Schwartz did an excellent job with my case! Nick Gerson was my primary contact throughout the process and I was overly pleased with his level of professionalism and commitment. Thanks again to the firm for both winning my case and handling it with the upmost respect. Read the full review » Jhlechia Ervin
Phil is the best attorney! The staff is very helpful and were always kind and understanding. Especially during a PIP claim which can be very frustrating. I am so lucky that I found Gerson & Schwartz to resolve my case, I truly believe there could have been no better outcome. Romina Frascarelli, Google User
Excellent attorneys, they leave no stone unturned in any case and get max value. Jon Zepnick, Google User
I hired Gerson & Schwartz, PA for a personal injury/slip and fall case. Phil Gerson, Nick Gerson, and Ed Schwartz were awesome! They were very professional, supportive, and informative through the whole process. I was amazed at how much time and effort they put into presenting my case. They fought hard for me and I am very happy with the outcome. I love these guys and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for an attorney who will look out for your best interest and fight hard for what you deserve. Deb Betts, Google User