Those who own or operate watercraft vehicles must be careful. If someone gets hurt on a boat or jet ski, the owner or operator is liable for the damages. If someone’s negligence caused your boat/jet ski accident, you can sue them personally.
Many people enjoy the thrill of watersports, but they do come with risks. If you or a loved one suffered injuries, you should know your legal options. You might have a strong personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Filing an Injury Case for a Boat or Jet Ski Accident
Boating/jet ski accident cases depend on negligence. Under Georgia Code Section 51-1-2, negligence is a lack of care that ordinarily cautious people would have in the same situation. When someone is careless, it can lead to an accident.
To have a case, you must show that someone was negligent in your accident. Here are the four elements of a boating accident case.
1. The Boat or Jet Ski Operator Owed You a Duty of Care
Those who operator watercraft vehicles have a duty to each other. They must be responsible when sharing the waterways.
2. The Operator Failed in Their Duty
If the boat or jet ski operator was careless, they failed in their duty of care. Examples of this carelessness can include:
- Driving the boat at excessive speeds
- Boating under the influence (BUI)
- Not leaving enough room for other water vehicles
- Failing to maintain the boat or jet ski properly
3. The Driver’s Negligence Caused Your Accident
The operator’s actions must have led to the accident.
For example, say the driver was under the influence of alcohol. If they hadn’t been drinking, the accident wouldn’t have happened. As a result, the driver is responsible for the accident occurring.
4. You Suffered Injuries From the Accident
You’ll need to show that the accident injured you and led to damages. Examples of boat/jet ski accident damages include:
- Medical costs
- Prescription medications
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If the owner or operator has insurance, you can file an insurance claim. Your claim should include the at-fault party’s negligence and your resulting damages.
Keep in mind that no one is required to carry boating insurance in Georgia. Your claim options will depend on the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. If they do not have insurance, you might have to bring a lawsuit against them.
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Do You Have to Sue to Get Compensation for the Accident?
If the at-fault party does not have insurance, you may still be able to obtain compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained. It’s a decision to discuss with a boat/jet ski accident lawyer.
You’ll want to look at your total damages, including property damage. Maybe you owned a boat that was involved in the accident. You might have significant damage that costs you a lot of money. If you were severely injured, you could have (at least) thousands of medical bills.
Again, if the at-fault party has insurance, it’s best to file a claim first. The insurance company will probably offer you a lowball settlement at the most. To fight for the compensation you deserve, you should talk to an experienced lawyer.
Talking to a Boat/Jet Ski Accident Lawyer
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible for help with your case. Your lawyer might be able to negotiate a fair insurance settlement. However, insurance companies often refuse to offer very much.
If the insurer does not settle, you might sue the at-fault party directly. How much you can recover will depend on your damages and the at-fault party’s assets. A boat or jet ski accident lawyer can help you determine what to do.
At John Foy & Associates, we have 20-plus years of experience in personal injury law. We understand local boating laws and how they apply to accidents. We can help you build a strong compensation case. To get a FREE consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.
Can You Sue the Watercraft’s Owner for Your Accident?
Even if the owner was not operating the boat, they could still be liable. Under Georgia Code Section 51-1-22, boat owners are responsible if they consented to someone else driving their vessel. If an accident happens, the owner is at fault.
Even if the operator is at fault, the owner could be at fault too. The law also allows family members to use boats or jet skis. If the owner’s family member was driving the boat, they could be at fault.
If a watercraft accident injured you, make sure you know all at-fault parties. Talk to your lawyer about who all is responsible for your costs. You’ll need to be clear on this before trying to sue for damages.
What if a Loved One Died in a Boating or Jet Ski Accident?
Sadly, fatalities are relatively frequent with boating accidents. Many boat-related crashes are very severe. According to the US Coast Guard, the most common causes of boating deaths include:
- Trauma-related injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
Statistics showed 79% of known boating accident deaths were from drowning. If the at-fault party’s actions led to a loved one’s death, you could have a wrongful death case. You might be able to sue the at-fault party personally for your damages.
Wrongful death damages can include:
- Medical costs
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of benefits or inheritance
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
You might be able to sue someone for their actions after a boating/jet ski accident. Talk to a lawyer today to learn your options.
Talk to a Boat/Jet Ski Accident Lawyer for Free Today
If a boat or jet ski accident injured you, John Foy & Associates can help. We have over 20 years of experience, and we know what it takes to win cases. Our attorneys do not collect a fee unless we win you a settlement.
To get a FREE, no-risk consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.