Four of the five Great Lakes surround Michigan. Boating on these lakes and the many smaller lakes throughout the state is a popular recreational activity, as well as a source of income for many people. Unfortunately, a single negligent boat operator may ruin the fun for everyone, and the resulting boat accident may lead to serious injuries or even drowning deaths. Passengers onboard the boat and people in the water or on other boats may be affected. At Feldheim & Wilenkin, our Detroit boat accident lawyers understand that these accidents tend to happen for one of three reasons: drinking alcohol while boating, inexperience or a lack of training or license to operate a boat, and improper boat maintenance. If you have been hurt in this type of situation, you can consult our injury attorneys to seek the compensation that you need.Pursuing Compensation for a Boat Accident
Michigan law prohibits motor boating while under the influence of drugs and alcohol under section 324.80176. It is a felony to do so. You are considered under the influence if your blood alcohol content is .08% or more, as determined by a urine, blood, or breath test. Motorboat owners are also prohibited from allowing someone to operate a motorboat if they are under the influence. By operating a motorboat in Michigan, a boating operator consents to be tested for alcohol or drugs.
If you are injured because a boat operator was under the influence, you may be able to bring a claim of negligence per se. This is negligence as a matter of law. Negligence per se may apply in Michigan when the defendant violated a safety statute, the violation was the legal cause of injuries to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff is in the class of people whom the law was intended to protect. If you are in a boating accident, and you believe that the operator of a craft is under the influence, you should contact law enforcement to make sure that this person is tested. This may be important evidence should you or others need to recover damages in a civil lawsuit.
Inexperience and the lack of training or a license to boat are likely to result in careless errors by someone operating a boat. For example, while no vessel has the right of way, every operator of a vessel is supposed to stay on the lookout, practice good seamanship, and maintain a safe speed and distance. To establish negligence, you will need to prove that the defendant was obliged to use reasonable care, the defendant breached that obligation, the breach was the actual and legal cause of your injuries, and you sustained actual damages.
For example, someone who does not have proper training or experience boating may maneuver a boat at high speeds into areas where there are people water-skiing or swimming. This may be a direct cause of injuries to the people in the water. The person speeding may be held responsible for paying damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Before going out on the water, a person who boats should make sure that the watercraft is appropriately equipped with safety equipment and is working properly. Safety equipment may include items like sufficient life vests for everyone going out on the water.Contact a Boat Accident Lawyer in the Detroit Area
Boat accidents may result in devastating injuries, including near-drowning or brain damage. The Detroit boat accident attorneys at Feldheim & Wilenkin represent victims in many areas of Southeast Michigan, including Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. We treat each victim compassionately and strive to maximize their compensation. Call us at 248-737-0700 or contact us via our online form to set up a free appointment with a personal injury or wrongful death attorney.