If you want to have fun on one of Tennessee’s many beautiful lakes, you may decide to take a jet ski ride with your loved one or a friend. All too often, however, fun turns into tragedy when the jet ski you were operating or riding on collides with another vessel on the water.
If you suffered injuries or a loved one died due to a jet ski accident, turn to the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC. We can help you recover the maximum compensation possible for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Contact us now at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation today with a jet ski accident lawyer in Knoxville.
Can I File an Insurance Claim for a Jet Ski Accident Like I Can for a Car Accident?
Yes, you may file a liability claim for a jet ski accident—just as you would after a car crash. However, the difference between a car accident and a jet ski crash lies in the kind of law applied to the cases. The Tennessee Motor Code applies to vehicle accidents, while the state’s maritime regulations apply to watercraft accidents.
Just like in a car accident, our attorneys can help you hold a boater or jet ski operator responsible for your crash based on Tennessee’s negligence law.
How Does Tennessee’s Negligence Law Apply to My Case?
To prevail in a personal injury claim, you must prove the jet ski operator’s negligence caused your accident. Our law firm has extensive experience in applying the negligence rule to jet ski accident cases. Whether you were operating the jet ski or were a passenger along for the ride, we can help you prove negligence by showing:
- The jet ski operator had a duty to operate the watercraft in a careful and responsible manner;
- They breached that duty;
- Their breach of duty caused an accident; and
- As a result of the jet ski operator’s negligence, you suffered injuries and other damages.
How Can Negligence Cause a Jet Ski Accident?
To help you prepare a strong accident claim, our legal team will examine your accident to determine the type of negligent or reckless behavior that contributed to the crash. We may find that the at-fault party caused an accident by:
- Failing to yield right of way;
- Failing to avoid flagged diving areas;
- Jumping the wake of a passing boat;
- Riding while intoxicated;
- Riding with too many passengers;
- Riding too close to another jet ski or boat;
- Operating at a high rate of speed;
- Failing to steer properly; or
- Weaving the jet ski through congested waterway traffic.
According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), operator inexperience and improper lookout were the leading primary causes of personal watercraft incidents in 2016.
If reckless operation caused your crash, the at-fault party will face stiff legal penalties in addition to their liability for your damages. Tennessee boating law considers reckless operation of a vessel, water skis, or personal watercraft a very serious offense. Upon conviction, operators could face a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail. Also, the Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of one year.
What If Alcohol Played a Role in the Crash?
In Tennessee, you may not legally operate a jet ski or any other watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Anyone convicted of having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or greater will face:
- A fine of up to $2,500 on the first or second offense and up to $5,000 for the third offense;
- Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail;
- Loss of operating privileges for up to 10 years; and
- Possible federal penalties.
If drugs or alcohol played a role in causing your wreck, we can hold the faulty party responsible for their reckless behavior. If they acted with gross disregard for your safety, we may be able to build a case supporting punitive damages.
What Type of Compensation Can I Recover From My Accident?
Our lawyers will need to evaluate the details of your case before we can determine how much your claim is worth. In general, you can get compensation for accident-related expenses like:
- Your medical bills;
- Funeral expenses, if a loved one died in the accident;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- The cost of purchasing mobility devices;
- Your pain and suffering; and
- Any mental anguish you experienced.
How Can a Lawyer Help With My Claim?
Before we file your claim, we explore every aspect of your accident. We will first identify the at-fault party in your crash. That could include a boater, another jet ski operator, or the operator of the jet ski on which you were riding. If a jet ski part malfunctioned and caused your wreck, we can hold the parts manufacturer liable for your injuries.
After we determine the faulty party, we collect evidence proving their negligence caused the crash. Then we submit your claim—along with a total value for your damages—to the responsible party’s insurance company.
The insurance company may try to minimize your injuries, offer a low payout, or deny liability for the accident altogether. We understand how to fight these tactics to get you the settlement you deserve. We work to build you such a strong case, the insurance company will have little room to question your right to compensatory damages.
For Help With Your Case, Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, Today.
It can be difficult to establish liability in jet ski accident cases because maritime, federal, and state laws could all apply. That is why you need a lawyer with the experience and knowledge to understand which laws apply to your case.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, know how to hold the responsible party liable after a jet ski crash. We will protect your rights while helping you obtain the maximum settlement possible for your injuries. If you suffered an injury in a jet ski accident, call us at 865-546-1111 today to schedule a free meeting.