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Three Injured in Jet Ski Accident

Three people were injured in a jet ski accident on Lake Gaston when the raft they were riding collided with a pier.

A life-long water skier and 20-year jet ski operator took a raft out on Lake Gaston. On this day, he was to tow a raft with passengers. They set out after he checked his equipment, and checked that all passengers were wearing a life jacket. He had reviewed safety rules and signals with the passengers. He had also posted a safety observer/lookout on the jet ski to ensure that the raft was towing properly.

3 Injured in Jet Ski Accident - Altizer Law PC

The jet ski operator (defendant) entered a small cove along the shoreline with the raft in tow. While turning to leave the cove, the raft swung wider than the operator expected. It hit a wood pier. The operator and passengers estimated that the raft was moving at 20 mph or less or even at a no-wake speed.

After the collision with the pier, the plaintiff (one of three injured in the jet ski accident) was evaluated by paramedics, who noted that they observed some redness and swelling on her head. Plaintiff noted some pain, but told paramedics she was okay and received no treatment at the scene. She was not transported to an emergency room. Later, however, she asked to be seen at the emergency room. Upon arrival at the hospital emergency room, she was evaluated a second time. Emergency room records show that no serious injuries were apparent at that time. She was never admitted to the hospital.

The defendant admitted responsibility for the accident, as a result of reckless operation of a vessel. This was part of an agreement that would result in no conviction if his behavior met certain requirements for a period of time outlined by the court. He complied with these requirements. He was not convicted of an offense resulting from the accident.

Negotiation of a settlement in this case was focused on the injuries suffered by the plaintiff because the jet ski operator had admitted liability. The defense pointed out that the plaintiff engaged in a number of extracurricular activities, traveled overseas while still in high school, earned a high grade point average, and graduated from high school with her class. Further, she was accepted by all colleges to which she applied and enrolled at the school that was her first choice.  The defense argued that any head trauma suffered by the plaintiff was fully resolved in a matter of only a few months and that she no longer suffers effects of a brain injury. Defense also argued that the plaintiff has no physical or mental limitations that are the result of injuries sustained in the jet ski accident.

Plaintiff claimed a mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Plaintiff’s damages included medical costs of $35,000 and the cost of a life care plan (contested by the defense). There was no claim for lost wages.

The cases of all three of the injured jet ski accident plaintiffs were mediated, and a single settlement was awarded. The settlement was $1,616,600. The plaintiffs apportioned the settlement amount among themselves.

If you or a loved one is injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, whether on land or on water, and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your hurts and harms. When you need legal representation in a personal injury case, call upon the experience, compassion, and perseverance of Bettina Altizer and her team at Altizer Law, P.C. in Roanoke, VA.