Michigan’s many lakes provide a lot of opportunities for boat enthusiasts to enjoy getting out on the water, especially during the warmer summer months. Due to the cost and inconvenience of owning a boat, however, many people may choose to rent one instead.
Boat rentals are great, but it does raise questions about who may be liable for injuries or damages if an accident occurs. Could the boat rental company be held liable in this situation?
If you were injured in a crash involving a boat rental, we are prepared to help you understand if you may have a case. We encourage you to speak with one of our dedicated boat accident lawyers in Grand Rapids about your situation as soon as possible. Initial consultations are completely free, and there is no obligation to file a claim.
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Boat injury claims are often complicated when it comes to determining liability if a crash or other boating accident occurs. There are multiple questions an attorney may ask to determine what factors may have contributed to the accident and if you have a case, including:
Boating accidents may happen more often with rentals due to the boat operator’s lack of experience. Although Michigan’s required boat safety certificate provides a certain level of knowledge, it may not be sufficient in unexpected situations on the water. Some of the most common reasons rental boating accidents occur is because of:
It may be difficult to assess a boat rental company with liability for a boating accident. Often, patrons must sign a waiver to rent a boat. This form releases them from liability for injuries you may sustain while using their boat. In short, if you sign this form you are saying that you understand the risks you are taking and agree to accept responsibility for them.
That said, waivers are not always well-written, so an attorney may be able to find a loophole that would allow you to file a claim against the boat rental company if you are injured in an accident.
Even if a boat waiver was signed, there are certain situations where the boat rental company could be held liable for your damages, such as if:
Boat rental companies are required to ensure their vessels are regularly maintained, safe to operate and free of any known dangerous conditions. Additionally, all boats on Michigan waters are required by law to have:
There are several reasons a patron may not be eligible to rent a boat, including if the patron:
If a boat rental company hires staff to operate the boat on your behalf, those staff must be properly licensed and obtain any other certifications as required by the state.
Boat rental companies are required to warn or advise patrons of the potential risks involved with boating. Sometimes these risks are listed on a waiver, but the patron should still be verbally informed by the rental company.
Additionally, the boat rental company may have liability if they knew of other risks, such as a pending storm, that could make renting the boat unsafe.
After any boating incident in Michigan, there are steps you should take to protect yourself, as well as any potential claim you may later file.
After a boating accident, you should seek medical attention right away. This step is important to your health – especially if you hit your head or possibly sustained other internal injuries. It also helps to link your injuries to the boating accident and provide support to your legal claim.
If you have a boating accident in Michigan, you are required by law to file a report within 48 hours of the incident under the following circumstances:
Other incidents that must be reported within five days:
If you can do so without placing yourself or others in danger, take photos of any damages to the boat, external hazards where the accident occurred or visible injuries. This evidence may provide insight to authorities about how the accident occurred and may also help to support your legal claim.
Boat rental accidents are complicated, and it can be difficult to obtain compensation for your injuries without knowledgeable legal representation.
Our qualified attorneys at Jay Trucks not only have extensive experience in personal injury law, but we are committed to fighting for the maximum amount of compensation possible. We know how to determine if you have a valid case and whether a boat rental company could be liable for the damages.
Millions Recovered. Call: (800) 762-8623 today.