What are my options if I was in a boating accident this weekend?

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2015

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What are my options if I was in a boating accident this weekend?

My fiberglass fishing boat was struck by and out of control jet ski. My boat suffered some fiberglass damage and at minimum will require gel coat repair. I’m fearful of 2 scenarios: (1) that the insurance company will total the boat when the repair place wants to re-gelcoat the entire boat; (2) I’m worried the insurance company will only approve the damaged side be refinished, however due to the boat be 17 years old, if a partial refinish is done it won’t match the other side affecting resale value, etc. What are my chances of getting a successful lawsuit against the person who hit me is scenario 2 plays out?

Asked on July 13, 2015 under Accident Law, Michigan


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can reject the settlement offers from the insurance company, whether the offer is to total the boat or just to resurface one side, or other settlement offers with which you are dissatisfied.

If you reject the settlement offers, your recourse is to sue both the owner of the jet ski and the operator of the jet ski for negligence.  You would only file one lawsuit naming both the owner and operator of the jet ski as defendants.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to the boat.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a boat repair shop whose fees are comparable to other boat repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive boat repair shop you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages will be reduced accordingly.

Although it is not possible to predict the outcome of a lawsuit, you have a strong case for negligence against the owner and operator of the jet ski.



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