Alaska, Oregon, California, and Washington are all states that offer incredible water recreation opportunities. Unfortunately, when accidents occur on the water, the injuries can be severe. The devastating impact of these accidents, especially jet boat accidents, can be lifelong, or life ending.

If you have sustained injuries after a jet boat accident, you might wonder when it’s time to get a lawyer. Truthfully, it’s never too soon to contact a lawyer for help with your case. You should assume that the operator and the jet boat company retained counsel immediately after a casualty.  A knowledgeable maritime lawyer can help you with every step of your accident claim.

Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California Jet Boat Accident Lawyers

When you are engaged in any maritime activity or aboard a vessel such as a jet boat, the injuries you sustain in an accident may be serious. If you have been hurt in a jet boat accident, Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP can represent you in an injury claim. You deserve full compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages. Our skilled maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP can help fight for your right to full and fair compensation.

Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP provides representation to injured clients and their families in Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California. Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to secure a free consultation today with one of our practiced jet boat accident lawyers.

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Information Center

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Negligence in Jet Boat Accidents

Generally, state law applies to a jet boat accident if the accident occurred within state waters. State waters may include lakes and rivers within a state.. Negligence is the primary basis of liability under state law. When negligent people cause jet boat accidents, this can give rise to civil liability in state court. General maritime law governs jet boat accidents occurring on the navigable waters of the United States.  These claims may be brought in state or federal court.

Negligence is a tort with four main elements: duty, breach, harm, and causation. First, jet boat companies and captains must exercise reasonable care when operating their vessels. Second, when someone fails to uphold this duty of care, they have breached their duty to others. Third, harm occurs when a person is injured. Finally, for an operator to be liable for negligence, the captain or company must have caused the harm the boat passenger suffered. Furthermore, when a passenger passes away in a jet boat accident, family members may sue the person who caused the accident..

Types of activities that can give rise to negligence include:

  • Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to have appropriate safety equipment on the vessel
  • Driving a boat recklessly
  • Speeding, particularly in the presence of smaller boats
  • Hitting a swimmer in the water
  • Failing to abide by boating rules, including violations of state inland rules or the United States Coast Guard rules
  • Failure to bring the proper equipment

Suppose an individual operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol is speeding and collides with a smaller jet boat. As a result, the person on the jet boat suffers broken bones. In that case, a court may find the individual negligent. First, the individual had a duty to operate the boat reasonably. Second, the individual breached their duty when they sped and operated the boat while intoxicated. Third, another person suffered harm. Fourth, the individual’s actions caused harm. Thus, a court or jury may find that the individual was negligent and may award damages to the person who sustained injuries.

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Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time limit in which an individual must bring a claim. If the individual misses the deadline, they will likely not be able to sue and recover damages for a personal injury case. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations depends on the state. In California, Oregon, and Alaska, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years, meaning that people have two years after an accident to file a lawsuit for compensation from the party at fault. However, in Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years.  Be careful of the fine print when you book a jet boat ride; sometimes the ticket will reduce the time period for making a claim.

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Maritime Law

Jet boat accidents that occurred outside of state waters and on navigable waters are subject to federal maritime law. Navigable waters encompass all waters that are, or could be, used for interstate commerce. A lake or river located only within one state would not constitute navigable waters because people could not use the lake to engage in commerce with other states. However, accidents that happen in ocean waters, lakes, and rivers that are within or connect at least two states often fall under maritime law. Additionally, for maritime law to apply, a jet boat accident must be connected to traditional maritime activities and have the potential to disrupt maritime commerce.

The Supreme Court ruled that recreational boat accidents fall under maritime law, as they are connected to traditional maritime activities and can disrupt maritime commerce. Maritime law also applies to commercial accidents. Although many jet boat accidents are recreational in nature, the Jones Act would apply if an individual injured in a jet boat accident was employed as a crewmember of the jet boat at the time of the accident. The Jones Act is a federal law that allows workers injured during their work at sea to sue their employers for personal injuries. When maritime law applies, an individual may file a case in either state or federal court.

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The Federal Boat Safety Act

The Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 created a federal-state effort to improve boating safety, created the National Recreational Boating Safety Program, and granted the US Coast Guard the power to make boat manufacturing and safety standards. For instance, the US Coast Guard requires all boats, including jet boats, to be equipped with life vests. Failure to follow the US Coast Guard’s rules for recreational boat safety could lead to civil liability if an individual sustains injuries due to a vessel owner or operator’s failure to abide by the rules.

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Additional Resources

The Federal Boat Safety Act Timeline– The Safe Boating Council provides an overview of The Federal Boat Safety Act and a timeline showing the effects of the Federal Boat Safety Act on recreational boating accidents. After the Federal Boat Safety Act was passed in 1971, boat accident deaths were reduced.

Boat United States Foundation The United States Coast Guard Minimum Equipment Requirements– The Boat United States Foundation describes the United States Coast Guard’s minimum equipment requirements for boats including jet boats.

The United States Coast Guard Navigation Rules– The United States Coast Guard promulgates rules for navigating waters, which apply to jet boats. The purpose of these rules is to promote safety.

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Jet Boat Accident Attorneys |  Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California

If you have been injured in a jet boat accident, contact our knowledgeable maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP. We have represented jet boat passengers and crewmembers injured in accidents since 1977. Allow us to serve you with excellence.

With a proven track record of performance protecting victims of maritime accidents, Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP is prepared to take your case. If you reside in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, or California, call 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule an initial consultation.

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