18-Year-Old Admits Involvement in Hit-and-Run Boating Accident on Lake Lanier
With the summer upon us, many people in Georgia have already started using their ski boat, Sea-Doo, Wave Runner, personal water crafts (PWCs) and other water vessels for fun on Lake Lanier and other bodies of water in and around Georgia. While watercraft sports like skiing, wakeboarding, tubing and hydrofoiling can provide recreation, excitement and physical activity, they also can pose serious hazards which are especially dangerous when watercraft sports and alcohol are mixed on a hot afternoon on the lake.
A recent hit-and-run boating accident on Lake Lanier provides a good illustration of the potential danger to watercraft operators, passengers and those in the water. An 18-year-old high school student came forward and admitted his possible involvement in a hit-and-run boat collision according to a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The father forced the teen to go to the Hall County Detention Center and make a statement after the dad heard about the boating accident and observed the damage to the family’s boat. While the son admitted to hitting “something” in the water, he indicated he did not observe or hear anything at the time of the collision.
The Lake Lanier boating accident injury victims were in a Sea-Doo that was badly damaged in the boating collision. The victims were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment. While the investigation is ongoing, DNR investigators indicated that the Sea-Doo boat that was totaled had transfer marks from impact with another boat that the DNR official said “ran over” the Sea Doo boat.
While it is unclear whether the Georgia watercraft accident was the product of inexperience, alcohol, distraction, excess speed or other factors, these types of boating and personal watercraft accidents are far too common. Many people that would never consider drinking and driving somehow view operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol differently. However, the lack of handling and absence of brakes make boats, jet skis, Sea-Doos and Wave Runners even more dangerous in the hands of an intoxicated operator.
Although it is too early to determine whether the accident victims will file a personal injury lawsuit, there are certain issues that immediately arise in terms of who is legally responsible for the boating accident. Even if the 18-year-old is unequivocally shown to have engaged in negligent operation of a watercraft which caused the boating accident, he is unlikely to have personal assets to satisfy a judgment. While he may be covered under the boat owner’s insurance, this is not necessarily the case. However, those injured in the boating accident may still be able to pursue a legal claim against the boat owner for negligently entrusting the boat to his son, and hopefully there is an insurance policy in place that would afford protection.
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