After motor vehicle accidents, recreational boating is the second leading cause of transportation-related injuries and deaths in the United States. Complex claims of negligence and products liability, often involving multiple parties, are a common fixture in many boating accident cases. From Lake Tholocco northwest of Dothan to Lake Seminole and the many bays of the Florida panhandle, on out to the Gulf of Mexico, the personal injury attorneys at Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb provide intelligent, capable representation in recreational boating and jet ski accident claims.
Thousands of boating accidents occur every year, with a high rate of fatalities (over 10%) compared to motor vehicle accidents on the road. Many boating accidents are preventable if proper care is taken in the operation and maintenance of the craft. Boating accidents are typically attributable to the following causes:
- Operator inattention
- Alcohol intoxication/Drunk boating
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
- Operating in hazardous waters and weather
- Improper loading or overloading of passengers or gear
While operator error is a leading cause of boating accidents, and boat pilots are a frequent target of personal injury lawsuits, other parties may be involved in litigation as well. This includes the owner of the boat, where different from the operator, and rental companies and tour boats who may be sued for negligent hiring of the pilot, improperly assessing the weather or water conditions before renting or setting out, renting a defective or improperly maintained boat, or failing to make sure the operator is knowledgeable, experienced or capable before renting out the boat.
Jet Ski Accidents
Jet ski accidents pose a serious risk of catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death, with accidents often ending in facial injury and lacerations, head trauma, paralysis or drowning. The vast majority of jet ski accidents are attributed to operator error, due to factors such as inattention, lack of experience or speeding. However, manufacturing or design defects and improper maintenance are a secondary cause that should not be overlooked in the investigation and handling of a jet ski accident claim.
Often, the operator, rental company, and manufacturer are all potential defendants in a jet ski case, raising complex issues of joint and several liability and making it difficult to prove the negligence or liability of a particular party. As with boating accidents, liability can sometimes be sought against rental companies for renting defective or improperly maintained equipment, or failing to assess whether the operator is capable of handling the craft.