From an evening ride on a neighborhood lake to a week-long trip around the Upper Peninsula, Michigan offers boating enthusiasts an endless array of options. Nonetheless, even the most experienced operator can be involved in a boating accident. When that happens, it is important to understand what is covered by insurance and when to seek reimbursement from the responsible party. Here is an overview of Michigan boating accident coverage.
Some Homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies provide limited protection for small sailboats and powerboats with horsepower less than 25 mph. However, many homeowners’ policies restrict coverage to damage that occurs on the owner’s property. Additionally, this coverage is often limited to $1,000 or 10% of the home’s value.
This is why many boat owners who want more comprehensive coverage purchase separate boat insurance. These policies typically include theft or damage to your boat, damage to someone else’s boat or property, certain medical expenses resulting from an accident and liability coverage for your passengers and others who are injured in an accident involving your vessel.
In addition, some insurance companies offer policy discounts for boat owners who complete a boating safety education course, keep Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers on board and have not filed an insurance claim in the previous two years.
After a boating accident, it is necessary to determine who was responsible in order to recover damages. This can be a complicated process depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Medical expenses for injuries sustained in auto accidents are often covered by the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical benefits portion of the victim’s Michigan No-Fault policy. Because No-Fault insurance does not cover boating accidents, victims must rely on the coverage provided by their health insurance plan, which may not be sufficient.
Therefore, when someone is seriously injured or killed in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the victim and/or the family may seek compensation for their losses by filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. If the plaintiff prevails, the settlement may include economic losses such as property damage, medical bills, and lost wages, in addition to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Additionally, a boat owner may be able to seek reimbursement from the at-fault party for damage to a vessel or other property, even if no one was injured in the accident.
Accidents that happen on lakes, rivers and other inland waterways are generally subject to state and local laws. However, accidents that occur at sea may be governed by the maritime laws for that jurisdiction.
Therefore, if you or a loved one is injured, it is wise to consult a knowledgeable boating accident lawyer to ensure that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
Recommended reading: A Guide to Michigan Boating Laws
Victims of boating accidents should follow the same basic guidelines that apply to automobile crashes or other types of accidents. However, when an accident takes place on the water, there is the added risk of someone falling overboard and drowning. Therefore, it is important to determine whether anyone is missing and call for help as quickly as possible before proceeding with the following steps:
Recommended reading: These 10 Boating Safety Tips Can Help Prevent a Serious Accident
If a boating accident meets one or more of the following criteria, it must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Even the most careful boater can have an accident due to someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, call us right away. Our experienced legal team will fight to win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Boating accident law is complicated, but finding the right boating accident lawyer is simple.
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