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Florida Boat Accident Lawyer / Blog / Jetski Accidents / THE PROBLEM WITH JETSKI COLLISIONS



Beyond the obvious physical and emotional pain of a JetSki collision is what comes next. What comes next is the insurer for the owner of the offending Jetski seeking to limit the recovery of the injured person or the family of a deceased person to the worth of the crashed JetSki. It sounds impossible. It sounds ridiculous. But that is exactly what happens when there is a JetSki collision involving serious personal injuries or death. The insurer for the at-fault JetSki files a complaint in federal court and that petition asks the federal court to limit the injured party’s recovery to the worth of the crashed Jetski.  This is known as a Limitation of Liability lawsuit and it is based upon a law that was passed by Congress in 1851. At the time the intention of the law appears to have been to place the fledging U.S. merchant marine fleet on equal footing with the European nations which already had such limiting laws in effect. The idea was that if a shipowner had a vessel and leased it out and the vessel was involved in a casualty, then the most the vessel owner would lose is the value of the vessel—and thereby this law would promote commercial shipping.

The problem with a Limitation of Liability case after a JetSki collision is that this 1851 law passed by Congress to help commercial shipping has been applied to recreational vessels, including that it is applied to JetSki collisions. This is why you will see, and we the attorneys here at see, insurers try to get out of paying for severe injuries or death of riders when a JetSki collision occurs. Yes, the Limitation of Liability can be fought, but there are two things to keep in mind. Limitation law is not the same law that applies to car accidents, fall downs, and dogbites. It is based upon federal statutes, and based upon federal law known as maritime law. The second thing to remember is that in Florida a car accident lawyer is not going to know how to fight this highly specialized area of the law when a Limitation of Liability action is filed against a JetSki crash victim or against the estate of a person who died in a JetSki crash. But, the insurer will have a maritime attorney working for them.


This is the frustrating part to injured JetSki riders and their families. In almost all Limitation cases that are filed in federal court there is an insurance policy, and many times a significant one, that could pay the claims. But they don’t. The insurer files a Limitation action through the maritime defense attorney to try to limit the claimant’s recovery to the worth of the crashed at-fault JetSki. Sometimes the value of that crashed JetSki is almost zero. So despite having an available insurance policy, the insurance company will pay to fight the case in federal court and seek to pay zero to the injured claimant.

One thing to be sure of is to have experienced and qualified counsel in this highly specialized area of the law. Caution: This is not a time to see how a car accident attorney might be able to fare against a seasoned maritime defense attorney who will have filed many Limitation actions for insurance companies.

We are maritime attorneys and only represent injured claimants. We do not represent insurance companies, and we never have. Choose our longtime experience successfully fighting for injured JetSki riders and their families. You can trust our 25 years of experience in maritime law and fighting Limitation cases. There is never a charge to you or your family unless we win for you. The insurance companies will have experienced maritime defense attorneys fighting to limit your recovery.  You need experience on your side to fight for you.



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