Can I sue for injuries caused by a Jet Ski accident?

The short answer is yes. Changes to Tennessee boating laws back in 1989 contemplated that issues related to personal watercraft needed to be addressed. Currently, all Tennessee residents who wish to operate any watercraft while alone must possess a card demonstrating completion of a state authorized boating safety exam. The card is issued through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency upon successful completion of the test.

The acceptance of the card grants certain rights and privileges yet also implies that the recipient will obey Tennessee boating regulations. One of those regulations prohibits minors younger than 16-years-old from renting personal watercraft. In fact, minors younger than 12-years-old are prohibited from operating any powered boat in excess of 8.5 horsepower unless they are accompanied by an adult qualified to assume control of the vessel.

Another assumed responsibility is that individuals operating vessels such as Jet Skis will do so in a safe manner. Tennessee boating regulations provides stiff penalties for reckless operation of such vehicles. Some examples of activities which would be considered reckless include operating a vessel in an area where people are swimming, jumping the wake created by another vessel with a Jet Ski or traveling at excessive speed in crowded or dangerous areas. Any of these violations will result in a fine of up to $2500 and up to six months’ jail time.

As you can see, Tennessee has taken a forceful approach toward reducing Jet Ski-related accidents. However, despite best efforts there will always be scofflaws who will invariably allow their selfish need for entertainment to endanger others. If you have been injured as the result of a Jet Ski accident it may be possible for you to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party. If successful, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical costs and other related expenses.

Source: Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, “Boating Regulations” Sep. 08, 2014