Most accidents with watercraft like boats or jet skis involve negligence. When a party is careless, their actions can lead to a severe accident. If you suffered injuries in a boat/jet ski accident, you might be able to sue for your damages.
If someone did not exercise reasonable care, they could be liable for the accident. Before suing, you’ll need to know your legal options. If an insurance policy covers the accident, you can seek an insurance settlement first.
Below are examples of who can be sued after a boat/jet ski accident. To know the specific options for your case, contact an experienced lawyer. Contact John Foy & Associates for a FREE consultation at (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.
The Boat or Jet Ski Operator
Most of the time, the watercraft operator is responsible for an accident. Boat and jet ski operators have a legal responsibility to others on the water. To have a case against the operator, you must show the following:
- The operator owed you a duty of care.
- The operator breached their duty of care. (In other words, they were negligent.)
- The operator’s negligence caused your boat or jet ski accident.
- You suffered injuries and other damages from the accident.
A boat/jet ski accident lawyer can help prove each of the above points. You’ll need evidence of the operator’s negligence in the crash. You will also need to provide proof of your damages. Contact a lawyer today to get started.
There are many ways a watercraft operator can cause an accident. Your lawsuit will need to detail what happened. An injury accident can occur because of:
- Driving the watercraft at excessive speeds
- Lack of experience or qualification
- Having too many boat passengers
- Driving when conditions are not safe
- Violating any rules or operation
- Failing to carry proper safety equipment
- Boating under the influence (BUI) of drugs or alcohol
Boat operators must keep others safe on the water. If they fail to do so, they can be liable. Talk to your lawyer about suing an operator after the boat or jet ski accident.
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The Boat Owner
You might be able to sue the boat owner after an accident. Sometimes, the boat owner is the same person as the operator. Other times, the owner allows the operator to use their boat.
Under Georgia Code Section 51-1-22, boat owners are liable if they consented to another person operating their vessel. Both the boat owner and operator could be at fault for your damages. You might have a legal case against one or both parties.
A Boat Rental or Sales Company
Companies that sell or rent watercraft must make sure the vehicles are safe. That includes maintaining proper maintenance and fixing any issues. If a boat or jet ski is unsafe and causes an accident, the company providing the vessel could be at fault.
Social events on the water often involve boats or water skis. If an accident happened during the event, those hosting could be partially responsible.
An Establishment That Sells Alcohol
If a bar or restaurant sold alcohol to the watercraft operator, the establishment could be liable.
Other Boat Passengers
If a boat passenger was acting recklessly, they could be liable for an accident. A rowdy passenger could cause someone to fall overboard or become injured while on the boat.
Partial Fault in a Boat or Jet Ski Accident Case
Before suing someone, you’ll need to determine fault in the accident. Sometimes, more than one party is at fault. Your lawyer will look at any responsibility between you, the operator, and third parties.
Georgia has comparative fault laws (Georgia Code Section 51-12-33). Under these laws, you can recover damages unless you were 50% or more at fault. The courts would reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault.
If you were partially at fault for a boat/ski accident, it could affect your compensation. Talk to an experienced lawyer about the details.
Will I Have to Sue the At-fault Party?
Before you sue, it’s best to see if you can file an insurance claim. In a personal injury case, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, boat/jet ski accidents can be more complicated.
Not all boat owners carry boat insurance. If the owner does not have insurance, you cannot file a claim. Your best option might be to sue the at-fault party. If the at-fault party does have insurance, the insurer might cover your damages.
Talk to a boat/jet ski accident lawyer about your options. You’ll also need to know if your case falls under tort or maritime law. This detail affects how you should handle your case.
What Do I Need to Sue Someone After a Boat/Jet Ski Accident?
You’ll need to build a strong case before filing a lawsuit. After your accident, essential steps include:
- Gathering evidence from the accident scene
- Compiling information about who caused the accident
- Keeping track of all of your damages
- Calculating your total losses
- Being careful what you say about the accident
- Hiring an experienced lawyer as soon as possible
If you’re going to sue, you will need legal representation. Schedule a consultation with an experienced boat/jet ski accident lawyer to go over your options.
Knowing who you can sue is the easy part. You’ll need to prepare for court and make sure your case is solid. You and your lawyer can also weight the pros and cons of a lawsuit.
Talk to a Boat/Jet Ski Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, our founder is the “Strong Arm” for a reason. We are not afraid to fight for the recovery you deserve. If you need to file a lawsuit to recover your costs, we are here to help.
Call us today to discuss your best legal options. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case. To get a FREE consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.