Michiganders in Livonia and around the state love to get on the water when the temperatures start rising. Whether it’s for sailing, canoeing, skiing, or something else, people in Michigan are never more than a few miles away from a lake to jump into.
Unfortunately, when accidents occur, they can do more than spoil a family vacation, which is why state regulations require strict adherence to registration, certification and safety requirements. Because there are both state and federal laws guiding rulings in a personal injury case, it is wise to secure an experienced and knowledgeable legal source if you have suffered injury or loss in a boating accident.
The most common causes of boating accidents
According to the most recent national reports, in 2020, over 5,200 recreational boating accidents caused 767 deaths and 3,191 injuries, and property damage reached $62.5 million. In Michigan in that same year, there were 33 fatalities and 20 drownings. Sadly, only one in five of these victims was wearing a life jacket.
The most common reasons for recreational boating accidents were:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Mechanical failure
Drowning is the cause of death in 75% of all cases, and 86% of the time, the victim was not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol use is one of the leading contributors to fatal boating accidents.
For these reasons, Michigan has strict requirements that boaters must adhere to that including boat registration, a boat safety certificate, age restrictions and life jacket rules to prevent deadly accidents from occurring.
Finding liability in a boating accident claim
A recreational boat can include:
- Jet skis, wave runners, or inflatable boats
- Canoes, paddleboards, or kayaks
- Cabin cruisers
Although small boats may have coverage for damages on their homeowner’s insurance policy, it is usually limited, and Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws do not cover boating accidents. When the accident results in injury or death, victims or their families can file a civil claim against the responsible party, who is often the operator of the boat, for negligence in their failure to provide reasonable safety.
Under Michigan laws, it is possible to receive both economic and noneconomic damages that can include property damage, medical and hospitalization bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.