Are Jet Skis Dangerous?
Texas not only borders the Gulf of Mexico, it also has tons of lakes and rivers. In fact, Texas over 5,000 square miles of inland water, more than any other state in the continental United States. It’s no surprise that residents and guests, alike, like to take advantage of these beautiful spots.
Jet skis, in particular, are quite popular in Texas. The individual watercraft are fast and fun. However, dozens of jet skis are involved in accidents in Texas every year. When not used properly, they can be quite dangerous can cause serious injuries.
Causes of Jet Ski Accidents in Texas
Like any other watercraft, jet skis can be dangerous. While accidents can happen for a lot of different reasons, certain factors tend to contribute to accidents more frequently than others.
Inexperienced Operators: Inexperience and unfamiliarity with jet skis contribute to a staggering number of accidents. Someone who rents or borrows a jet ski may not know how to keep the vessel straight or use the throttle to slow down to avoid obstacles in the waterway. A new operator may also not know how to reboard the jet ski if they happen to fall off. All of these things can create a dangerous situation for the rider, swimmers, and people on other vessels.
Racing: Some jet skis can go from 0 to 55 MPH in less than 3 seconds flat. There’s nothing like the rush of adrenaline you get when racing across the open water. However, racing can be dangerous, particularly in crowded waterways. It’s much more difficult to come to an abrupt stop or avoid hazards on the water at high speeds.
Operating a Jet Ski While Intoxicated: Jet skis are synonymous with fun and a good time. For many, so are drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, jet skis and alcohol don’t mix. A jet ski user under the influence is less equipped to operate the personal watercraft safely. Alcohol reduces reaction time, makes it difficult to concentrate, and can even cause an operator to lose consciousness.
Mechanical Failure: Sometimes jet ski accidents happen even when riders are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced. Many times, those accidents tend to involve defective equipment or mechanical failures. When a jet ski or safety equipment is defective, the company that manufactured or sold it can be liable for resulting injuries.
Environmental Conditions: Limited visibility, rough waters, and poor weather can all create situations that make it dangerous to operate a jet ski. Every year, jet ski operators are injured in accidents because the weather interfered with their ability to ride safely.
Flipped Jet Skis: Jet skis can flip fairly easily, especially when operated at high speeds. When a jet ski flips and the operator can’t get back on the vessel, it creates a dangerous situation for everyone on the water. The jet ski itself creates a hazard that others have to avoid, and the jet ski operator is a sitting duck in the water. People operating other boats might not see the jet ski rider in the water and hit them, accidentally. Alternatively, stranded jet ski riders are more likely to drown.
Common Jet Ski Accident Injuries
When you ride a jet ski, you have very little to protect yourself if you’re involved in an accident. As a result, the injuries you can suffer in a jet ski crash can be quite severe. These include:
- Broken bones
- Head injury
- Neck injury
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord damage
- Brain damage, and more
Are Jet Ski Operators Always Responsible For Accidents?
Boating accidents aren’t uncommon on Texas waterways. Many of those accidents involve jet skis. Are the people operating the jet skis always responsible? Not necessarily. In Texas, anyone who is negligent and contributes to an accident, even slightly, can be held financially responsible. This might include:
- Jet ski operators
- Boat operators
- Canoe paddlers
- Jet ski or boat rental companies
- Manufacturers, or
- Government agencies in charge of water safety and oversight.
What if you share some of the blame for your Texas jet ski accident? Can you seek compensation for your injuries? Maybe. Under the state’s comparative negligence rules, you can file a lawsuit for damages as long as you’re not primarily responsible for the accident. However, your damages will be reduced by the degree of fault apportioned to you. If you’re 50 percent responsible for your jet ski accident, your damages will be reduced by 50 percent.
It’s always best to consult an attorney if you’ve been injured in a jet ski accident. Any boating accident case can be challenging. This is particularly true when jet skis are involved. For help, call Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP today.