Florida WaveRunner Accident Results in Teen Losing Leg

On April 24, 2011, two teenage girls were riding a pair of Waverunners side by side on Lake Gibson in Lakeland, Florida. One of the girls, age 14, suddenly turned into the path of the oncoming craft operated by the second girl, and crashed into it. The 14-year old girl's leg was severed below the knee.

A spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that, because the Waverunner was turned so suddenly, the second operator couldn't have done anything to avoid the accident.

Florida law allows those age 14 and older to operate a personal water craft upon completion of an authorized boater safety course. The two girls had not completed any formal safety training.

Florida Boating Safety Tips

Boaters should be educated and informed of the dangers of spending time on the water. Many states, including Florida, require boaters to take authorized safety classes before being allowed to operate a vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard requires every vessel to carry a lifejacket for each person onboard. Boats 16 feet long or longer must also carry an additional inflatable device as well.

Operators or owners are required by federal law to report any and all accidents resulting in a death, disappearance, serious injury or damage to vessels or property totaling $2,000 or more.

Boating Accidents In Florida

With 982,470 vessels, Florida has the most registered vessels of any state in the U.S. According to the 2009 Boating Accident Statistics Report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 620 boating accidents in the state severe enough to require reporting.

These accidents resulted in 65 fatalities and 426 injuries. Monroe County had the highest number of accidents and injuries with 77 total accidents resulting in three fatalities and 52 injuries.

The most common cause of fatal accidents was a boater falling overboard. Drowning was the cause of death in 69% of fatal accidents. Alcohol or drug impairment caused 18.5% of fatalities. If you've been injured in a boating accident in Florida, a personal injury attorney can help you understand your right to compensation for your injuries and medical expenses.

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