Personal Watercraft and ATV Accidents in Florida
Considering Florida’s abundant natural beauty, it is no surprise that locals and tourists alike enjoy spending time outside. With endless miles of glistening water and plenty of rugged back roads and trails, personal watercrafts (PWC’s) and ATV’s are two of the most popular ways to experience the outdoors.
Unfortunately, they can also be two of the most dangerous. If you or a loved one were injured in a PWC or ATV accident, the compassionate lawyers at Lichtblau & Goldenberg are very experienced in Florida PWC and ATV accident cases. Please call us for your free consultation today. We will let you know immediately if you have a case and help you understand your options and how to protect your rights.
Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties all rank in Florida’s top 10 counties for personal watercraft accidents. Fortunately, the injury and fatality rates for personal watercrafts have been decreasing in recent years. According to the U.S. Coast Guard over 99.9% of PWC’s are operated accident free, but for the small amount of people who are injured the trauma can be severe.
Common PWC injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head injury
- Neck and back injury
- Internal injuries
Under Florida law, personal watercraft operators under the age of 22 are required to take a boating safety course and carry a boating safety ID card, and although not required, all others are encouraged to do the same.
Personal Watercrafts Are Not Toys
Personal watercrafts are very enjoyable but many people forget that they are machines and not toys. PWC’s can travel at speeds up to 70 MPH and respond with extreme sensitivity to steering. Inexperienced users often underestimate the power of these machines, while experienced users feel overconfident in their skill, and let their guard down or perform risky maneuvers.
The most common PWC accidents are collisions with another vessel, collisions with a fixed object, and falls overboard. The top causes for PWC accidents are operator inattention, carelessness, excessive speed, reckless operation, and operator inexperience. These actions can lead to serious injury to personal watercraft riders and victims of personal watercraft accidents can and should receive compensation for their injuries.
Personal watercrafts are often not shown respect by other boats on the water. PWC accident victims injured by the intentional or accidental negligent actions of others deserve compensation. Rental companies who don’t maintain their equipment or rent to inexperienced riders may be liable for the injuries you have sustained. Manufacturers may also be liable for victims injured because of a poor design.
ATVs Can Be Dangerous
ATVs have become increasingly popular in recent years and with this increased popularity came enhancements in speed and size. While riding ATV’s is a thrilling recreational activity, there are also many risks involved. In 2009, Florida ranked third in the nation for ATV related deaths. Tragically, about one third of ATV related deaths and injuries involve children, and children under the age of 16 are four times as likely to sustain serious injuries requiring hospitalization. ATV’s weigh up to 1,000 pounds and can travel at speeds well over 70 MPH. As anyone who has witnessed an ATV accident knows, the injuries are often serious and sometimes deadly.
Common ATV injuries include:
- Traumatic head injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
Injuries commonly occur in rollover crashes, collisions with stationary objects and falling off the ATV. Accidents involving children commonly occur when children ride adult sized ATVs. These vehicles are simply too powerful for youngsters. Many accidents also occur when multiple people ride on a single ATV. ATVs are not designed to carry multiple passengers; they are interactive, meaning that the driver must be able to shift their weight in all directions to maintain control of the vehicle over various terrains. Passengers inhibit this movement and make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.
In other cases, an ATV may be found to be dangerous or defective if the vehicle design had a center of gravity that was too high. In any case, the responsible parties may be held liable for any injuries and damages suffered by the ATV accident victim.
Our Lawyers Want To Help You
At Lichtblau & Goldenberg, our primary goal is to protect victim rights and help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries. As the victim of a PWC or ATV accident you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and maybe more. Personal watercraft and ATV accidents cases can be complicated because consumer groups maintain that these vehicles are unsafe and manufacturers should be held responsible while industry spokespeople blame injuries on driver error. With over 55 years of combined experience, an ATV accident attorney at Lichtblau & Goldenberg have the expertise to successfully handle your PWC or ATV accident case. We are committed to honestly, diligently, and aggressively pursuing your case and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one were injured in a personal watercraft or ATV accident, please call your West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer at Lichtblau & Goldenberg today at 561-863-9100.