Our Florida Jet Ski accident attorneys handle many different types of personal watercraft injury cases. These cases range from negligently conducted Jet Ski tours to improper personal watercraft design. In this case, we represent a person who was injured while operating a Jet Ski in Biscayne Bay off Miami Beach. While our client was operating the Jet Ski, a yacht producing a large wake crossed in front of the personal watercraft. Our client’s Jet Ski struck the wake causing it to lurch up striking him in the face and shoulder. This accident caused significant personal injuries to his face, neck, arm and hand. He was taken to an area hospital and was admitted for three days.
After our client’s medical condition plateaued, our Florida Jet Ski accident attorneys filed a lawsuit against the yacht captain alleging a negligence count for unsafe boat operation and a negligence per se count for violating various navigational rules including failure to keep a lookout and maintain a safe speed. Negligence and negligence per se are different legal theories. To prove a negligence claim, the injured Jet Ski victim must show that the yacht captain acted in a way that a reasonably prudent captain would not have acted and such negligent acts were the cause of the Jet Ski accident. To prove a negligence per se claim, the Jet Ski victim must prove that the yacht captain violated a safety statute designed to protect the Jet Ski victim from harm. A negligence per se claim based upon failing to comply with a safety statute under maritime law, if proven, carries the presumption that the violator is a fault for the jet ski accident. This presumption is only rebutted by showing that the violation could not have been a cause of the Jet Ski accident. This is an extremely hard presumption to overcome.
The yacht captain filed a motion to dismiss the negligence per se claim arguing that it should have been commingled within the negligence count. The Court held in our favor finding that different legal elements must be proven to establish a negligence per se claim than that of a simple negligence claim. Based upon the legal finding, the Court held that it was proper to allege the two theories of liability in different counts and denied the yacht captain’s motion to dismiss.