Jet Ski/Sea-Doo Accidents
During the summer months, the unparalleled beauty of Michigan’s abundant lakes and waterways draws a multitude of vacationers from both inside and outside the state. In certain locations, the waters are teeming with Jet Ski/Sea-Doo type vehicles (technically called “Personal Watercraft” or “PWC”). Since our region of the country only provides a limited number of warm days, the PWC season can seem all too short.
Unfortunately, PWCs are not always operated with the skill and care with which the vehicles demand. Most boaters take safety seriously, but others disregard their responsibility to their fellows is the water. The thrill and excitement of operating a PWC may lead to individuals operating the vehicle at unsafe speeds and in inappropriate locations.
PWC accidents can occur when there is a collision with another craft on the water; where a submerged object collides with the hull; where the vehicle strikes a swimmer; or even in the absence of collision, such as where the vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed and crosses a large wave or wake from another boat. The list of how you may be injured on a PWC is endless.
Many times, people rent PWCs for the day. The expense of purchasing such a vehicle puts it out of the reach of many people, but nearby any larger body of water in Michigan, there will be vendors renting them for daily or hourly rates. Many times, these vendors do not provide adequate training or instruction on how to operate the PWC. Moreover, the vehicles might not be in good repair and require maintenance. These failures can lead to legal claims against the vendor. However, vendors will uniformly require the execution of a liability waiver before turning over the keys. Identifying a viable claim and navigating around a liability waiver is complex.
Another important feature of PWC claims is the allocation of fault. The injured party may have played no role in the accident, but in some instances, he or she may have been partially negligent. For instance, if you were kayaking in open, flat water and were struck by a PWC, its operator could be 100% liable for any injuries you sustain. On the other hand, if two PWCs collide on the open water, there is a chance that both operators will be found to be at fault. Take note that even if an operator has some degree of fault, that does not foreclose that individual from filing suit and recovering damages. So long as someone is not more than 50% liable for an accident, he or she may recover damages.
Given the complexity of law surrounding boat and PWC accidents, securing legal advice as soon as feasible is imperative. If you are injured, or if a family member has suffered a disabling injury or death in a boating accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Neumann Law Group for a free consultation.