While riding a jet ski can be fun, it can also be dangerous. Unfortunately, for many riders, the dangers are due to factors beyond their control. If you’ve been injured in a collision or any other type of accident on the water, you should talk to a jet ski accident lawyer about your legal rights. You may have a claim for significant financial compensation.
What Are the Grounds to Sue for a Jet Ski Accident?
When can you file a claim for a jet ski accident? There are several possible grounds to sue when you get injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Some of the most common grounds to sue for a jet ski accident include:
1. Another Jet Ski Rider was Being Reckless
Many jet ski accidents happen when two or more riders are riding together. Recklessness is a common factor in this scenario. Going too fast, jumping wakes, getting too close to other riders and other forms of recklessness create unnecessary risks—and they frequently lead to unnecessary accidents. If you were injured by someone who was being reckless on a personal watercraft (PWC), you will want to talk to a jet ski accident lawyer about filing a claim to recover your losses.
2. Another Jet Ski Rider Didn’t Know How to Safely Operate a PWC
Along with recklessness, rider inexperience is a common factor in jet ski accidents as well. Operating a jet ski isn’t like operating a car or motorcycle. It isn’t even like operating most types of boats. But, most people don’t know this, and they assume that they can just get on a jet ski and instantly start going 40 or 50 miles per hour across the water. When they need to stop or turn, they often can’t, and they end up creating extremely dangerous situations for themselves and others.
3. A Boater Created a Dangerous Wake
All boaters have a legal duty to exercise due care on the water, and this includes not creating dangerous wakes. If you hit a dangerous wake because you had nowhere else to go, the boater who created the wake could be fully responsible for the costs (both financial and non-financial) of your jet ski accident.
4. A Yacht or Ship Captain Didn’t See You
The duty to exercise due care on the water also requires that yacht and ship captains ensure that they have clear water in front of them. Due to their small size, jet skis aren’t as easy to see as other vessels. While jet ski riders must avoid putting themselves in harm’s way when they can, if a speeding yacht or ship is heading straight towards them, they may not be able to get out of the way in time to avoid being hit.
5. A Boater or Captain was Drunk at the Helm
Unfortunately, boating under the influence (BUI) is a very real concern in just about every popular boating destination around the United States. Captains of large commercial vessels may also be drunk at the helm. When boaters and captains are drunk, all of their faculties are impaired, and this not only increases their risk of creating a dangerous situation, but it also reduces their ability to resolve a dangerous situation without causing serious injury.
6. Another Jet Ski Rider or a Boater Ignored Your Need for Rescue
In many states, jet ski riders and boaters have a legal duty to assist with the rescue of—or at least report—jet ski riders who have been injured or who are in distress. If someone else saw that you needed rescue and failed to act, you could have a claim arising out of your jet ski accident.
7. The Jet Ski’s Owner was Negligent in Failing to Maintain the PWC
Like many recreational vessel owners, many jet ski owners do little, if any, maintenance on their PWCs. While this usually isn’t a problem, it only takes one failure to cause a serious or fatal accident on the water. If you were riding on a borrowed or rented jet ski that had not been properly maintained, a jet ski accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim against the owner.
8. The Jet Ski’s Owner was Negligent in Allowing Its Use
Jet ski owners can also be held liable under the law of “negligent entrustment” in many cases. Under this law, owners have a legal duty not to lend their jet skis to individuals who don’t know how to (or are incapable of) operating them safely. Lending a jet ski to an inexperienced rider and letting someone ride who is clearly drunk are two examples of scenarios in which the law of negligent entrustment may apply.
9. A Jet Ski Rental Company was Negligent
In addition to individual jet ski owners, jet ski rental companies can also be held liable for inadequate maintenance and negligent entrustment. If the rider who caused your accident was on a rented jet ski, you should talk to a lawyer about filing a lawsuit against the rental company. The rental company’s commercial liability insurance policy should apply in this scenario.
10. The Jet Ski Itself was Dangerous
Finally, even if everyone is doing their best to stay safe, jet ski accidents can still result from issues with jet skis themselves. If your jet ski was defective, or if you were involved in an accident with another rider whose jet ski was defective, the manufacturer could be liable for your current and future medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Talk to a Jet Ski Accident Lawyer for Free
Were you seriously injured in a jet ski accident? If so, you should discuss your legal rights with a lawyer as soon as possible. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a jet ski accident lawyer at the Brais Law Firm, call 800-499-0551 or tell us how we can contact you online now.