Florida has the most registered recreational boats of any state in the country but also has a very high rate of accidents and injuries aboard water vessels. Recently, one devastating accident occurred on a Central Florida lake that caused injuries to three people. The Orlando Sentinel reports that there are calls for safety reforms in response to the incident.
After a watercraft accident, an Orlando personal injury lawyer can help victims or their family members to determine who was to blame and to pursue a claim for compensation.
Watercraft Accidents a Serious Risk in Orlando
The watercraft accident prompting safety concerns occurred on Lake Griffin near Fruitland Park in mid-June. Two personal water crafts collided and three people got hurt, including a seven-year-old boy.
Officials said that the accident demonstrates the need to emphasize water safety issues as the weather gets warmer and more people spend time out on the water during summer break.
Safety is a big concern because there was an increase in watercraft accidents last year. In 2012, there were 704 watercraft accidents in Florida and in 2013 there were a total of 736 accidents. In Central Florida, there were 24 accidents in 2013, which was slightly down from the 31 accidents in 2012. There were 13 people injured in 2013 and three killed in the Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola areas, compared with 26 injuries and 10 deaths in 2012.
Almost one out of every five of the accidents aboard water vessels that occurred caused fatal injuries. Other accidents cause serious and potentially permanent injuries such as damage to the lower back. Life jackets were able to reduce the chance of dying when an accident occurred.
The behavior of those operating personal watercraft makes a big different regarding the risk of accidents. If people are responsible and careful, then the chance of fatalities goes way down since most of the incidents that occurred were preventable. For example, the primary causes of accidents aboard personal watercraft for both 2012 and 2013 were a failure to look out properly and watch for other water vessels; excessive speed; or inexperienced or inattentive watercraft operators. Other causes included water currents, weather conditions and alcohol impairment of those operating the vehicles.
Not all individuals who operate personal watercraft have sufficient training, experience or knowledge to be safe. Only people who were born after January 1, 1998 are required by law to take an approved boater-safety course in order to be allowed to run a 10-horsepower vessel. However, everyone who operates a vessel could benefit from training and the Florida Wildlife Commission recommends that all boaters enroll in an approved safety class.
Those who operate water vessels should consider having the recommended training and should ensure they are doing everything possible to avoid being a danger to themselves or to others. Just like in a car, it is essential to stay focused on those around you; obey the speed limit and safety rules; and exercise caution in the decisions you make when piloting a watercraft.
Central Florida accident victims and families who lost loved ones can contact Winter Park, FL personal injury attorney Richard B. Troutman by calling 866-434-5770 or visit http://www.richardtroutman.com.