Miami’s location and climate make it an ideal spot for water activities. Jet skiing, boating, and kayaking are all popular forms of recreation that many Floridians have participated in since they were children. Any time a person is near a body of water, there are inherent risks that loom. A carefree day on the water can turn into a tragedy very quickly if safety precautions are not taken or if a kayak comes into contact with a larger vessel. If you or someone you love have been injured in a kayak accident, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA to receive an honest assessment of your claim for damages.
Causes of Kayak Accidents
There are numerous factors that could cause a kayak accident to take place. Because kayaks do not have motors, they are at a mobile disadvantage compared to vessels like boats and jet skis. People who are operating kayaks cannot move out of harm’s way as quickly as boats can, and that creates a great risk of injury if they find themselves in dangerous conditions. Some of the most common causes of kayak accidents include:
- Inclement weather conditions
- Collision with a boat or jet ski
- Defective kayak
- Improper instruction by rental company
- Falling overboard
- Lack of safety equipment
- Failure to keep proper lookout
- Getting caught in waves
If a kayak capsizes or a person goes overboard while far from the shore, there is a heightened risk of drowning especially if there are no life jackets on board. Dangerous conditions can also be found where a kayak is in an area with numerous high-speed vessels.
Kayak Safety Tips
While some accidents happen suddenly giving kayakers minimal time to react, there are nevertheless some precautions that can prevent injuries from occurring. Some of these tips include:
- Never go kayaking alone. Bring a friend with you.
- Before taking your kayak out, examine it for any damage that could cause it to sink.
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Do not kayak when waters are choppy or in inclement weather conditions.
- If the water is cold, wear a wetsuit.
- Pack a first aid kit, float line, whistle or air horn, and spare paddle.
- Do not kayak while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not exceed the weight limit of your kayak.
- Stay aware of offshore winds and other conditions that will make it difficult to return to shore.
- Bring enough food and water to stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar stable especially in high temperatures.
How to File a Claim for Damages
If you were injured in a kayak due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries. Florida has a 2 year statute of limitations for personal injury causes of action. Thus, you have 2 years from the date of your injury to file a claim for damages. There are four essential elements that must be shown in order to succeed on a claim for negligence. These elements are:
- The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff;
- The defendant breached the legal duty of care that was owed;
- The defendant’s breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
There are two types of damages that an injured person can collect in a cause of action for negligence: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are awarded for the purpose of making a victim “whole,” and they are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Monetary recovery may include the following damages:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Present and future lost earnings
- Household services
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Wrongful death damages
Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate, but they are still recoverable. Some examples of nonmonetary damages include:
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where a court finds that the defendant’s conduct was intentional or egregious and outrageous to the degree that it shocks the conscience. Their purpose is to make an example out of a defendant in an effort to deter others from engaging in similar acts in the future. Florida has a cap on the amount of punitive damages that plaintiffs can collect in personal injury cases. A plaintiff may collect three times the amount of compensatory damages that are awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Miami Kayak Accident Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you love have been injured in a kayak accident, do not wait any longer to contact a personal injury attorney. Medical expenses and rehabilitation costs can add up to thousands of dollars. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA takes pride in providing aggressive representative for victims of kayak accidents so that they may receive the compensation they deserve. Call Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676 to talk to a Miami kayak accident injury lawyer you can trust.