A U.S. jury has awarded $3 million to a Bahamian student in a lawsuit claim arising from a local jet-ski incident — a case that could change global manufacturing of the watercraft. A jury in a U.S. District Court in Savannah, Georgia on August 9 ruled that manufacturer Kawasaki was to pay a 26-year-old student for injuries she suffered in a jet-ski accident in 2006.
The case, however, may have bigger implications for The Bahamas and the entire industry. The jury found that the jet-ski on which the student was a passenger had known defects and insufficient warning labels.
The incident stems back to May 21, 2006 when the student was visiting Nassau and decided to go with her friends to Rose Island. She boarded from the passenger side and the watercraft operator proceeded slowly along the beach, said a release on the situation. The watercraft stopped and when the jet-ski operator hit the throttle, he lost control of the watercraft. The passenger was thrown off the back of the craft and consequently, suffered multiple injuries from the powerful jet of water coming from the stern.
While the jet ski carried a warning advising users to wear a wet suit or protective clothing, the jury decided that the general requirement for all personal watercraft manufacturers since the early 2000’s was not enough in this case.