Michigan is home to many rivers and lakes where boating is a popular recreational activity. However, when boating accidents happen due to someone else’s negligent behavior, serious injuries, potential drownings and fatalities may result.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a boat accident caused by negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation to help pay for the damages you suffered.
At Jay Trucks & Associates, our legal team has more than 150 years of combined experienced helping injury victims across Michigan. Our founder Jay Trucks is a member of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association.
We offer free consultations and do not collect any upfront fees unless we help you recover compensation. Schedule a free case evaluation with a Clare boat accident lawyer today.
Contact us 24/7. Ph: (800) 762-8623
How Do I Know I Have a Case?
A free consultation with a member of our legal team provides you with the opportunity to discuss what happened and get answers to your legal questions from a licensed boat accident lawyer.
Boat accident victims may be able to pursue compensation if they can prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident and their resulting injuries. Negligence claims require that you prove four elements:
- The other party owed you a legal duty to prevent harm to you and others
- The other party breached that legal duty by failing to act as a reasonable person would have in a similar situation
- The breach of that duty directly resulted in your injuries and would not have otherwise happened
- Your injury was because of that breach of duty and caused you to suffer damages
There are also a number of other questions that we must consider to help determine whether you may have a case, including:
- At what speed was the boat traveling at the time of your injury?
- Was the operator intoxicated or impaired at the time of the accident?
- Was the operator speeding, driving recklessly or disobeying state boating laws?
- Was the boat was properly equipped and maintained?
Free Consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623
Determining Liability in a Boat Accident
Determining liability for a boat accident is often difficult, because there may be many contributing factors. That is why you may benefit from hiring a knowledgeable pleasure craft attorney.
At Jay Trucks and Associates, we have the resources and staff to thoroughly investigate the cause of your accident. When necessary, we may also hire an accident reconstruction specialist to determine the responsible party or parties, which could include:
- The boat operator – If he or she failed to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to passengers (i.e. life jackets on board), was intoxicated or impaired while operating the boat, or disregarded safety regulations
- The boat owner – If he or she knowingly loaned the boat to someone not qualified to operate it
- A boat passenger – If he or she acted recklessly or prevented the boat operator from completing his or her duty
- The boat manufacturer – If the cause of the boat accident was caused by a manufacturing defect
- The rental company – If the company failed to fix any maintenance issues with the vessel
What If I Am Partially to Blame For My Injury?
As long as you are assigned no more than 49 percent liability, you may still be eligible to pursue a boat accident claim. However, in accordance with Michigan’s comparative negligence rule, any amount of damages awarded will be reduced according to your percentage of fault.
For instance, if the jury awards you $100,000 but you are found to be 20 percent at fault, the award amount will be reduced by 20 percent or $20,000, leaving you with $80,000.
However, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you will be barred from recovering any compensation.
Recovering Compensation For Boat Accidents
There are many different forms of compensation boat accident victims may be able to recover for physical, emotional or financial losses, such as:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Assistive medical devices (i.e. wheelchair or crutches)
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy services
- Pain and suffering related to your injuries
- Mental anguish caused by the accident
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Loss of companionship, including emotional support
If you were injured in a boat accident on Michigan waters, we encourage you to contact one of our qualified lawyers as soon as possible. We have extensive knowledge about calculating personal injury damages. Our lawyers are standing by to take your call.
Contact our office for a free consultation: (800) 762-8623
Time Limit for Filing a Boat Accident Claim
The standard deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits in Michigan, including boat accidents, is generally three years from the date of the injury or death. Failure to meet that deadline will likely result in the court dismissing your case and losing the ability to recover compensation for your injury and damages.
There are certain scenarios that could affect the time limit, such as when the boat accident victim is a minor or mentally incompetent to bring a claim forward. If you are unsure whether your filing deadline has passed, we recommend that you reach out to one of our Clare boat accident lawyers for advice.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boat accidents happen for many reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
- Lack of experienced or properly trained boat operators
- Disobeying boating laws and navigation rules
- Operating the vessel in poor weather conditions
- Failing to maintain a proper lookout
- Excessively speeding or making reckless maneuvers
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to conduct proper maintenance
- Overloading or overcrowding the vessel
These negligence actions can cause a number of incidents:
- Boats capsizing, sinking or flooding
- Passengers falling in or overboard the vessel
- Collisions with another vessel or object
- Striking a submerged object or person
- Casualties due to drownings
What to Do If Injured in a Boat Accident
Suffering an injury in a boat accident can be a traumatic experience. You may not know what to do or how to respond. However, there are things you can do immediately after to protect your well-being and your potential claim:
Seek Medical Attention
It is important to determine if you or anyone else needs urgent medical care. Even if you believe your injuries to be minor, certain injuries such as a traumatic brain injury may not be apparent until days or weeks later. A doctor can assess the extent of your injuries and provide a treatment plan to follow. A medical record linking your injuries to the boat accident may also help to strengthen your claim.
Once you are out of danger, you will need to exchange information with all involved parties. Provide and ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of each person on board the vessel and from witnesses. Be sure to obtain the name and registration number of the boat and the insurance information from the operator.
Take photographs of the accident scene, damage to the boat and other property, and any visible injuries.
Report the Accident
The operator or owner of a boat involving in an accident must file an Official Boating Accident Report form with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources under the following circumstances:
- If a person dies within 24 hours of the accident, loses consciousness, receives medical treatment or becomes disabled for over 24 hours, the form must be filed within a 48-hour period.
- If there is damage to property totaling more than $2,000 or a person disappears from the vessel likely resulting in injury or death, the form must be filed within five days.
Reach Out to Our Clare Boat Accident Lawyers
The licensed Clare boat accident lawyers at Jay Trucks & Associates are prepared to review your situation and discuss your potential legal options in a free pleasure craft injury case evaluation. If you have a valid case, we are ready to work tirelessly to hold negligent parties accountable and pursue maximum compensation for your damages.
We charge no upfront fees unless we successfully help you obtain a recovery. Reach out to our firm anytime, 24/7, for a free consultation. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation to move forward.
Our office in Clare is located less than a five minute drive from Pettit Park.
Jay Trucks and Associates. Free consultation. No upfront fees: (800) 762-8623