The Florida personal watercraft accident attorneys of Brais Brais Rusak have recently brought a lawsuit against a Miami area rental and tour company for negligent conduction of a WaveRunner Tour. The facts surrounding this case involved a couple from New Jersey vacationing in South Florida. They decided to take a Biscayne Bay personal watercraft tour and purchased such a tour from one of the many companies operating at the Bayside Marina. After paying for the tour, the couple were directed the WaveRunners to start the guided tour. Once on the water, it became apparent that the weather was deteriorating and the waves began to become larger and larger. Though the bay waters were turning rough, the tour guide not only kept taking the couple out farther but started to separate himself from the couple riding behind. In fear of getting left behind, the couple attempted to catch up to their tour guide. While attempting to catch up, the WaveRunner struck a wave causing the wife to separate from the craft then slam back down on it.
The impact resulted in a fractured patella and torn meniscus. The patella, more commonly known as the knee cap, is the triangular bone which protect the surface of the knee joint. A meniscus is a piece of cartilage that cushions the knee which prevents the femur and tibia from rubbing against each other. The wife underwent surgery for her injuries.
Court papers assert that the guide failed to provide the statutory required instruction before beginning the tour and failed to conduct the tour in a reasonably safe manner. Under maritime law, a company that provides personal watercraft tours must follow statutory requirements including specific safety briefings before allowing their customers on the water. Furthermore, the tour operator must provide a tour which is reasonably safe. The lawsuit claims that the tour guide’s decision to take the couple in exposed waters of Biscayne Bay during rough weather coupled with the fact that he separated from the group fell below minimum legal standards. The case is currently pending before the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County.