Michigan Boat Accident Lawyer

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There are just over 1 million registered boaters in the state of Michigan. However, being a licensed boat operator does not automatically make a person a safe and responsible boater. Just as motorists have rules of the road to follow, there are also laws that govern the Great Lakes, their tributaries, and the many waterways in Michigan. Failing to boat with knowledge, experience, and caution can lead to disaster, and the need for a Michigan boat accident lawyer.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents in the Michigan Area Waterways

Michigan’s beloved waterways are busy. The state’s rivers, lakes, and streams are popular destinations, particularly in the warmer months of the year. While many Michigan waterways are sailed by veteran boaters, there are just as many recreational boaters who have little to no experience operating a water vessel.

Just as highways are made more dangerous by impaired drivers and operator error, so too are waterways. Maintaining order is critical and, without it, disaster can strike. Some of the most common causes of Michigan boat accidents include:

  • Inexperience: Boaters are not required to complete a boating safety course in the state of Michigan. While this may be excellent news to the boaters who just want to get out there on the open water, this lack of experience can lead to far too many boaters who are unprepared to handle bad weather, emergencies, or equipment malfunctions. They may be at a loss to properly follow navigation, give distress calls,
  • Intoxication: For many boaters, time on the water is where they relax. And that means alcohol and other drugs are likely to be on hand. Designated drivers are just as important on the lake as they are on the highway, and that doesn’t mean the least intoxicated driver operates the machine, but a sober driver. Unruly passengers can also cause trouble for a boat operator, distracting them from focusing on their path, improperly using boat equipment, or falling off the boat.
  • Distraction: Awareness is critical when operating any vehicle. Smartphones are ubiquitous on Michigan highways, and there is no lack of their presence on waterways. Taking a moment to check a text while at the wheel of a boat can easily turn into a collision with another boat or a collision with the shore. Being distracted also means the operator may be unaware of quickly changing weather conditions that could put their vessel and its passengers in danger. Boating is a leisurely activity, but it requires the same attention to detail as operating a motor vehicle.
  • Lax regulations: In Michigan, boaters under age 12 can be licensed to operate a motorboat, with horsepower restrictions and supervision requirements. While this permission may be concerning, age is just a number. Young people who have spent years on the water with their family can easily have more experience, knowledge, and confidence about boat operation than the newbie boater who is uninitiated and ill-equipped to take their vessel into open waters. Lack of licensing restrictions can also create daredevils who envision themselves as capable of handling any water challenge, but this kind of behavior only puts them and other boaters at risk.
  • Crowds: Having a high level of experience on open waters is critical when you’re sharing the space with all types of vessels. At certain times of the year, waterways will be even more crowded than usual – particularly on the hottest days of summer or holidays like the Fourth of July – and the busier the waters, the more dangerous. Personal water crafts, sailboats, pontoon boats, motorboats, fishing boats, water skiers – there are all manner of vessels and people vying for their own space on Michigan waters. Maritime laws exist and it’s the boat operators’ responsibility to know the laws of the waterways and follow them.

The Aftermath of a Boating Accident in Michigan

No matter what type of boating vessel you operate, how experienced you are, or how diligently you have maintained your boat, the reality is that you cannot control the actions of other people on Michigan waterways. Being hurt in a boating accident can be as simple as a jolt when two vessels collide, but even this type of accident could lead to a traumatic brain injury.

Medical expenses after a boating accident are usually covered by your medical insurance, but dealing with bodily injury in the aftermath of a boating accident can cost a victim dearly. The inability to work, carry out regular responsibilities, or function normally impacts daily life and your standard of living. Suffering can reverberate throughout your entire family. It may be possible to recover damages for your pain and suffering if your boat accident was caused by another boater’s negligence or lack of operating skills.

Hire an Experienced Michigan Boat Accident Lawyer

When your time on the water in Michigan turns from enjoyment to tragedy, the consequences can be serious and life-altering. Injuries in a boat accident could be the result of an inexperienced, distracted, or impaired boat operator. Poor boat construction, malfunctions, or faulty equipment may have prevented the boat operator from carrying out the proper emergency tactics in a dire situation, leading to a crash.

If you have been injured in a Michigan boating accident, or lost a loved one in a boating accident, contact Thurswell Law for a free consultation with a boat accident lawyer. We will guide you through the claims process and give you the best possible chance to receive full compensation for your suffering. There are no fees unless you collect. Call us at (248) 354-2222 to schedule your free consultation.






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