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Could Reeds Lake Developments Lead to More Boating Accidents?

 Posted on May 06, 2021 in Personal Injury

Grand Rapids boat accident attorneyLast month, a proposal came before the East Grand Rapids city planning commission for new developments on Reeds Lake, a longtime popular location for boating and other recreational activities. The plan would bring several changes, among them a public marina with pontoon boat rentals. Supporters claim that these developments will increase access to and enjoyment of the lake, but some residents fear that the ease of renting a boat will lead to an uptick in boating accidents. The impact of the plan, if approved, remains to be seen, but it is nonetheless important for Grand Rapids residents to understand their rights if they are injured in a boat accident.

Michigan Boat Accident Statistics

According to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 128 recreational boating accidents in Michigan in 2019, resulting in 22 fatalities and several more injuries. Though this is a relatively small number, the potential for serious boat accident injuries is certainly present. When these injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence, injury victims and their families are often entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim.

Common Examples of Negligence in Boating Accidents

The Coast Guard has identified five factors that have contributed to the most boating accidents throughout the U.S. over the last several years, most of which are related to boat operator negligence. These include:

  • Operator inattention - Just as distracted driving is a problem on the road, distracted boat operating is a problem on the water. Operators who are on their phones, talking to other boat occupants, or otherwise distracted can be responsible for injuries resulting from their lack of attention.

  • Improper lookout - Designating another person on board to act as a lookout gives the operator another pair of eyes to help them avoid accidents. Without a proper lookout, the risk of injury increases.

  • Operator inexperience - Michigan requires boat operators born after July 1, 1996, to obtain a safety certificate, but even so, many inexperienced boaters take to the water. Inexperience is common among boat renters, who may not practice their boating skills on a regular basis.

  • Excessive speed - Michigan boaters are required to travel at reasonable speeds for the current conditions, and in many cases, to maintain a no-wake speed. Operators who travel at unsafe speeds can be liable for resulting injuries.

  • Alcohol use - Alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boat accidents. In Michigan, boating under the influence is a criminal offense, and it can come with serious consequences in both criminal and civil cases.

Contact a Grand Rapids, MI Boating Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, Attorney John D. Tallman can help you determine who was at fault and pursue fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation at 616-361-8850.






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