HOUSTON JET SKI ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
When most people think of personal injury cases, they imagine car accidents, truck accidents, and various other motor vehicle accidents. However, boating and personal watercraft accidents also fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases. While these accidents aren’t as common as auto accidents in Houston, they can be just as devastating. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a jet ski accident, contact a Houston jet ski accident attorney with Reich & Binstock.
At Reich & Binstock, we have decades of experience helping those injured in boating and personal watercraft accidents. When another person’s negligence leads to serious injuries, victims deserve compensation for their damages. A qualified jet ski accident lawyer with Reich & Binstock is here to evaluate your claim, gather evidence to support your case, and litigate on your behalf if necessary. To schedule a free consultation with us, please call our office at 713-622-7271 today.
What Is a Jet Ski?
“Jet ski” is a brand name for a personal watercraft manufactured by Japanese company Kawasaki. Although the term is a registered trademark of Kawasaki, it has become a generic term used to refer to many types of personal watercraft.
What Are Personal Watercraft?
A personal watercraft is essentially a small boat that is propelled forward by an engine that produces a water jet. With traditional boats, operators and passengers typically sit inside the vessel. With personal watercraft, however, operators will usually sit or stand on the craft. There are several different types of personal watercraft, including recreational, performance, stand-up, and recreational-lite.
What Are Texas Laws for Jet Ski Operation?
The state of Texas has specific laws regarding the operation of any watercraft, including personal watercraft. The operating laws for jet skis in Texas are as follows.
- Operators may not use a jet ski at night (between sunset and sunrise).
- A jet ski operator must maintain a 50-foot distance from the nearest boat, person, watercraft, stationary platform, or shoreline. The exception to this is if the operator maintains headway speed, which is the slowest speed a vessel can be operated at while still maintaining steering.
- Operators may not chase or disturb wildlife while operating a jet ski.
- Operators may not recklessly operate the jet ski. They also may not use the jet ski to jump the wake of another boat while unnecessarily close to the boat.
How Common Are Jet Ski Accidents in Texas?
According to data from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the period of January 2021 to April 2021 showed a 40% increase in boating fatalities from the previous year during the same time period. Even though these crashes happen at a far lower rate than car accidents, this makes them no less dangerous. Those injured in jet ski accidents due to negligence should contact experienced jet ski accident attorneys as soon as possible.
What Are Common Causes of Jet Ski Accidents?
The most common causes of jet ski accidents are very similar to the most common causes of other boating accidents. These causes are speeding, boating while under the influence, distracted boating, and recklessly operating jet skis.
- Speeding: Jet skis, as their name suggests, can travel at very high speeds on the water. Although this may seem fun, it can increase the risk of jet ski accidents. This is because watercraft often take a longer time to slow down than cars do.
- Boating under the influence: Unfortunately, boating under the influence of drugs and, in particular, alcohol is not as rare as it should be. Jet skiing is a recreational activity that many people tend to pair with alcohol. However, alcohol can impair one’s judgment and reaction time, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
- Distracted boating: Boaters and jet skiers need to pay attention to their surroundings at all times. Even a short lapse in attention to talk, text, or eat can lead to severe injuries.
- Reckless operation: Jet ski riders and operators have a duty of care to other boaters and swimmers in the water. If someone fails to uphold this duty of care by operating a jet ski recklessly, this can result in serious accidents.
What Are Common Jet Ski Accident Injuries?
Jet ski accident victims are more prone to suffering certain injuries over others. Some of the most common injuries we see in jet ski accident claim cases include concussions, severe bruising, whiplash, fractures, sprains, and lacerations. Jet ski injuries can greatly vary in severity, which is why it is so crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a jet ski crash.
What to Do After a Jet Ski Accident
Immediately after the accident, it’s important to follow certain steps. These steps will not only keep you and others involved safe, but they will also help your jet ski accident claim. Take the following steps after a jet ski wreck has occurred.
- Check yourself and others for injuries.
- Move the jet ski to a safe location.
- Report the accident to the appropriate authority.
- Seek medical attention even if you don’t think you’re injured.
- Gather evidence from the scene, including the names and contact information of those involved, pictures of the scene, and insurance information.
- Call your insurance company to report the accident. Only give the bare minimum information.
- Contact a jet ski accident lawyer.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Jet Ski Accidents?
This depends on the circumstances of the case. A jet ski accident lawyer will be able to evaluate the situation and gather evidence to show who is to blame for your injuries. Many parties could potentially be held liable for jet ski accidents, including the following.
- Jet ski operator
- Rental company
- Jet ski manufacturer
- Maintenance crews
- Jet ski owner
It is also possible for more than one party to be responsible for someone’s personal watercraft injuries. In this case, each liable party will be responsible for their portion of the damages incurred.
Can I Sue the Rental Company for My Accident?
Jet ski rental companies have a responsibility to ensure that their personal watercraft are safe for operation. However, due to rising jet ski popularity, many rental companies skip out on properly maintaining their crafts so they can make more money. If a negligent rental company is responsible for your injuries after a jet ski accident, you can file a personal injury claim against them.
Can I Sue the Jet Ski Manufacturer for My Accident?
Potentially. If the jet ski accident resulted from defective parts, you may have the basis for a product liability claim. Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe and operate as intended. If they fail to uphold this standard, they could be held liable for someone’s injuries.
Can I Recover Compensation If I Was Partly to Blame for the Accident?
In Texas, we have what is called a modified comparative negligence system. This means that, as long as you were 50% or less to blame, you can recover compensation. However, if you are determined to be 51% or more to blame, you are barred from recovering compensation. Additionally, the amount you recover will be reduced by whatever percentage you are found to be at fault.
How to Choose a Jet Ski Accident Lawyer
After a personal watercraft accident, you’ll want to speak with a jet ski accident lawyer as soon as possible. But how do you go about choosing the right attorney for your case? For starters, you’ll want to work with an experienced attorney who has handled many of these personal injury claims in the past. They should have a good track record with jet ski and boating accident cases, as well as good reviews from past clients. The best way to determine if a particular law firm is a good fit for your case is to schedule a free case evaluation with them.
What Compensation Can I Recover After a Jet Ski Accident?
After an accident in which you suffered serious injuries, you likely have medical expenses piling up on top of days of missed work. This can put a serious damper on your finances. When you seek compensation through a personal injury claim, you may recover the following forms of financial compensation.
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim If I Lost a Loved One in a Jet Ski Accident?
If you lost a loved one in a jet ski accident, you may have the basis for a wrongful death claim. Although most accident victims survive their injuries, it is possible for victims to succumb to accident-related injuries later on. In this case, the surviving family members could file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages for the loss of their loved one. They could seek damages for all of the usual losses, as well as funeral expenses, burial expenses, and loss of consortium.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Jet Ski Accident Claims?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. They can help you navigate the claims process efficiently, ensuring that you don’t miss your filing deadline.
Contact the Houston Jet Ski Accident Lawyers at Reich & Binstock
At Reich & Binstock, our Houston personal injury lawyers have decades of experience representing accident victims and protecting their rights to just financial compensation. Our legal team is both aggressive in the courtroom and compassionate with our clients. We know this is a difficult time, so we focus on the case while our clients focus on their recovery. If you or a loved one was injured in a jet ski accident, contact the law firm of Reich & Binstock as soon as possible. Call 713-622-7271 today to schedule your free consultation.