Who is liable for a jet ski accident depends on which party or parties displayed negligence. Potentially liable parties include:
- The person riding the jet ski
- Another jet skier
- The operator of a boat
- A jet ski part manufacturer
- A mechanic
A watercraft accident attorney can help you identify who bears responsibility.
How Jet Skiers Can Cause Accidents
Watercraft accidents are all too often the result of human error. Just like when driving a car or any other motor vehicle, operating a jet ski requires care and attention, and the operator should always:
- Remain on the alert for danger.
- Give other vehicles and people plenty of room to maneuver.
- Avoid drugs or alcohol right before operating the vehicle.
- Use the vehicle as intended and not perform risky stunts or tricks.
- Keep the jet ski in good repair, and avoid using a damaged jet ski.
Not behaving in a way that the average person would consider “reasonable” could constitute negligence and make the jet skier liable for any accidents they cause. You could then sue them for pain and suffering, medical expenses, property damage, and loss of wages.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Jet Ski Accidents and Other Vehicles
Jet skis frequently share the water with other vessels, including boats. Boat operators must follow the same rules of reasonable behavior as anyone else. However, a boat operator’s negligence can have even more far-reaching consequences because:
- Boats are often larger than jet skis, so they can do more damage in a crash.
- It is harder to maneuver a boat quickly, so it will have a slower reaction time even if the operator notices danger relatively early.
- Boats create a larger wake, which can throw jet skiers off balance or cause them to fall off the jet ski.
Even if the boat does not directly hit a jet ski, a negligent boat operator can still do damage: if they do not give jet skis sufficient room, the jet ski rider may panic or have to take drastic action to try to get away. This can cause the rider to lose control of the watercraft or even hit someone else.
When a Jet Ski Malfunctions
In some cases, the boat or jet ski operator is not liable because they lost control of their vehicle through no fault of their own. This may happen when:
- The manufacturer knowingly sells a defective product and/or refuses to recall a product it knows is dangerous.
- The manufacturer uses substandard or inappropriate materials when constructing the part.
- The mechanic you hired to service your vehicle either does not notice or does not tell you about a problem that someone in their position should have taken care of.
All of these actions constitute negligence, and you have a right to hold them liable if:
- Your jet ski malfunctioned.
- The malfunction directly contributed to the accident.
- The accident caused serious injuries and financial losses.
To determine if a malfunction played a role in your accident, your lawyer can help you find a competent mechanic to examine your watercraft. A good lawyer will also investigate the history of both the manufacturer and the mechanic you relied on to keep your jet ski in good working order.
Click to contact our personal injury lawyers today
Holding the Liable Party Accountable
No matter who is liable for a jet ski accident, you have a limited time to hold them accountable and seek compensation from them. In Georgia, for instance, that time limit is usually two years, but it may be shorter. This is the law according to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Your first step in suing the liable party must always be to identify that party. A boating accident attorney can do this for you by:
- Going to the scene of the accident to take pictures and look for evidence
- Interviewing you and everyone else who was present at the time of the accident
- Requesting official reports the U.S. Coast Guard filed
- Reviewing any existing photographs or video footage of the collision
- Consulting accident reconstruction specialists to help them figure out exactly what happened
Once you know who was negligent in your case, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against them. This process involves:
- Sending a demand letter to the other party and/or their insurance company
- Negotiating a fair settlement from the insurer if they indicate they are open to cutting a deal
- Taking your case to court and seeking a jury award, if, for any reason, it is not possible to negotiate a deal
When Someone Claims You Are Liable
Even as you prepare your case, another party may try to blame you for the jet ski accident and file their own legal action against you.
If this happens, it is easy to feel angry or concerned. Try not to worry too much: your lawyer has collected or will collect a great deal of evidence that shows who really caused your accident. They are prepared to:
- Show this evidence to the other party’s legal team
- Demand access to evidence the other party collected
- Use their evidence to refute specific allegations and show that the other party was really at fault, not you
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
How to Handle Multiple Liable Parties
Sometimes, all it takes is a single act of negligence to cause an accident. For example, if a drunk jet skier rams into your jet ski, they may be liable.
Not all accidents are this straightforward. Say that the drunk jet skier lost control of their vehicle due to a faulty steering mechanism. Are they still liable because they recklessly got drunk before operating the jet ski, or is the manufacturer liable for selling a hazardous product?
The answer may well be “both.” In investigating your jet ski accident, your attorney should uncover all there is to know about the event, including the identity and number of the liable parties involved.
Who Caused Your Jet Ski Accident?
Whether you know the answer to this question, Kaine Law can help you. We can figure out who is liable for a jet ski accident by collecting and analyzing as much evidence as we can find. Then, we will use that information to fight for you. Contact us today so we can evaluate your case at no charge.