Boating and Jet Ski Accident Injury Compensation

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If you, or someone close to you, has suffered a boating or jet ski injury in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to boating accident injury compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming compensation, including your rights to compensation, common causes of such injuries, an overview of the claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Boating or Jet Ski Accident Injury in Queensland

If you've been unfortunate enough to suffer a personal injury sustained from a boating accident in Queensland, you need to understand your rights to compensation. Different compensation schemes apply depending on the circumstances of your accident: 

  • Work accidents: You can claim WorkCover Queensland or your employers' own compensation scheme if they are self-insurers, regardless of who is at fault. Additionally, you can pursue a common law claim if your employer was negligent.
  • Public place accidents: For accidents that occur in public places, common law claims can be made against the public liability insurer of the area.
  • Car and road accidents: Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance isn't required for boats. However, if your accident involved a motor vehicle (for instance, the boat was attached to one at the time), then the Queensland CTP scheme could apply.

No matter how you were injured, you could have the right to make a boating accident claim. Contacting personal injury lawyers can help you figure out what you might be entitled to. 

Smith's Lawyers offer a free case review to help you understand your options.

Common Causes of Boating and Jet Ski Injuries

Queensland is the land of water sports, but that does mean it comes with its fair share of boating accidents. For instance, in 2019, there were 332 incidents including 37 hospitalisations and 18 deaths. 

It doesn't take much for a fun day out with family and friends to turn into something that could leave you with life-altering injuries. Here are some of the most common causes of boating injuries: 

  • Excessive speed: Speeding while manoeuvring a boat or jet ski can often lead to serious injuries or even death. Accidents often happen when an operator fails to follow speed regulations, resulting in high-impact collisions.
  • Operator inexperience: Lack of training or experience can easily lead to mistakes and a boat injury. 
  • Alcohol and drug influence: Operating a boat or a jet ski under the influence of drugs or alcohol will quickly cause people to get injured. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 10% of boating accidents in Queensland in 2019, often because of errors in judgement and delayed reactions.
  • Equipment failure: Mechanical faults or an equipment malfunction can easily lead to injuries sustained, despite the operator's skills. Regular maintenance checks are essential to prevent such situations.
  • Adverse weather conditions: Harsh weather conditions like sudden storms or rogue waves can cause incidents. It's always crucial to check the weather forecasts before setting sail.
Common Types of Boating and Jet Ski Injuries

When the weather is good and you're looking to have fun, getting out on a boat or jet ski can be just the ticket. However, it doesn't come without its risks.

Injuries can range from mild to extremely life-changing and require extensive aftercare and treatment. Some of the most common types of injury include: 

  • Whiplash: Most commonly caused by the abrupt acceleration and deceleration of the boat or jet ski. It can result in severe neck pain and stiffness, limiting your ability to move and perform daily tasks efficiently.
  • Bone fractures: These can occur due to high-speed collisions with hard surfaces. A break might heal quickly but can also lead to long-term pain and may require a prolonged recovery period.
  • Concussions: Hitting the head against a hard surface or even due to a sudden jolt could potentially lead to concussions. This could result in you developing symptoms like headaches, dizziness and confusion.
  • Cuts and abrasions: Your hands or other parts of your body could easily catch something sharp on the boat or rub against a rough surface. Though not as severe as other injuries, they can lead to persistent pain, potential scarring and risk of an infection.
  • Drowning or near-drowning incidents: When someone falls overboard and cannot get out of water in time, lack of oxygen can lead to severe complications, including brain damage or severe psychological trauma.

If you've suffered from an injury while boating or on a jet ski, you should speak to a boat accident lawyer about potential compensation.

Smith's Lawyers provide a no-obligation case review to help you better understand your options.

Workers Most at Risk of Boating Injuries

With such a beautiful and diverse coastline, it's easy to see why so many people choose to work on or near the ocean. It's also an area of work that carries some of the highest risk of injury.

Did you know that the Gold Coast region reported the highest number of marine incidents across the state in 2019, with 23% of the total?

Being aware of the risks can help to mitigate the potential for injury. Some of the most at-risk professions include: 

  • Fishing industry workers: Spending most of your working day on a boat or dock naturally brings with it a higher risk of boating injuries. The causes range from equipment failure to poor weather conditions and lack of proper training.
  • Marine tour operators: If you work in this field, you'll often spend a significant amount of time on boats or jet skis, increasing your risk of injury. Common causes include operator inexperience, high-speed navigation, and collisions.
  • Recreational sports instructors: If you're teaching water sports such as jet skiing or waterskiing, you're at a high risk due to the inherent dangers of the activities. Accidents can arise from personal mistakes, equipment failure or simply anyone else's irresponsible behaviours in the water.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Boating Injury Compensation Claim Process

Boating accident compensation claims might seem daunting at first, especially if you were severely injured. That doesn't mean you shouldn't think about making a claim. 

We've outlined some of the steps that you can expect to go through when pursuing a claim. Each case is different, so you might experience more or fewer steps.

Just remember - the most critical step to take after an injury is to seek immediate medical attention, as your health is paramount and forms a crucial component of your claim. 

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence do I Need to Support my Boating or Jet Ski Claim?

Building a solid claim for a Boating or Jet Ski injury is much easier if you gather as much evidence as possible. This isn't just about proving that an accident occurred but about illustrating the severity of the incident and the full extent of the impact on your life.

The sorts of evidence that can help your claim include: 

  • Medical reports: These not only detail your injuries and treatments but also provide a clinical view of the trauma you experienced. Ensure that all medical reports and bills are kept for reference.
  • Witness statements: If there were people present at the time of the accident who could vouch for your version of events, their testimonies could be invaluable. Witness statements can corroborate your narrative and make your claim more credible.
  • Proof of accident: This could be photographs of the scene, damage to your boat or jet ski, or even CCTV footage where available.
  • Details of expenses: All quantifiable financial costs such as medical bills, rehabilitation costs, equipment costs, and other related expenses form a crucial part of your claim. Be meticulous in your record-keeping.
  • Evidence of lost income: If your injury forced you to take time off work or has impacted your ability to earn, this is a significant component of your claim. Supporting documents can include payslips and bank statements or a letter from your employer confirming your period of absence.

Don't underestimate the value of evidence when it comes to boat accident compensation claims. It could be the difference between a substantial payout and receiving nothing at all. 

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

When it comes to calculating your compensation claim, each case is different and takes account of lots of factors. These include:

  • Past and future loss of earnings: Compensation may be claimed not just for wages lost during the period of treatment but also for a future loss if you're unable to return to your previous employment. This includes lost superannuation contributions that you might have otherwise earned.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: All expenses related to your treatment can be included in your claim. This includes hospital charges, doctor's fees, and medication costs. It also covers any ancillary expenses related to your medical care.
  • Rehabilitation costs: If you require rehabilitative treatment, the related costs can be claimed. This might involve physiotherapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy, among others, and could be necessary over a prolonged period.
  • Pain and suffering: The physical discomfort and mental distress you experienced due to the injury can warrant compensation. This is subjective and can vary greatly from person to person but can have a significant impact on quality of life.

It's important to understand that identical injuries don’t necessarily correlate to identical payout amounts. Various factors influence the final compensation settlement, including: 

  • The severity of the injury: If you've suffered a permanent impairment or severe injuries, it could lead to increased compensation. This accounts for the ongoing or long-term impact of your injuries.
  • Recovery process: Your specific recovery journey, the medical prognosis, and how well you've responded to treatment can affect the claim outcome.
  • Occupational impact: If the injury has restricted you from working, this will be taken into account. It may profoundly impact the compensation you receive, particularly if you're unable to work in the same role after the accident.
  • Age: Your age, particularly if you're young, could affect your potential for future earnings and, thus, the claim amount.

How Can a Boating or Jet Ski Injury Impact Your Ability to Work?

In the wake of a boating or jet ski accident, the associated injuries can substantially affect your ability to work, both in the short and long term. There may be an immediate impact, like having to take time off work for treatment and recovery. This quite often results in lost wages and can put significant financial strain on you and your family. 

In the long term, your injuries may prevent you from returning to your previous line of work, especially if your profession relies heavily on physical capability. Furthermore, the psychological trauma associated with the accident can also impact your ability to maintain regular employment.

Time Limits for Boating or Jet Ski Injuries

If you are considering making a claim, remember that it could be subject to time limits. Generally speaking, in Queensland, any claim for compensation following a boating or jet ski injury needs to be filed within three years of the incident. However, there are some occasions where time limits are different. These include:

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment.
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have nine months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the nine months but must be within three years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim.
  • Or, you have one month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (one month vs nine months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have three months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the three-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard nine-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have three years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I was injured while waterskiing/wakeboarding; is that covered by boating insurance?

Potentially, but be aware of coverage limits. While certain boat insurance policies include towed water sports, specific exclusions within those policies are common. Consulting your boat's insurance documents or inquiring with the insurer is critical for understanding the extent of your coverage. A personal injury lawyer can examine policy details alongside specifics of your injuries.

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Should I report the boating accident to the authorities, even if my injuries seem minor?

Yes, you should report accidents to Maritime Safety Queensland. Immediate reporting facilitates official investigations crucial for future compensation claims. Additionally, 'minor' injuries sometimes worsen over time, and having an accident report protects your right to seek later compensation if needed.

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I was a passenger on a boat that crashed. Who can I claim compensation from?

Claims typically target the boat operator's insurance policy. If their negligence contributed to the incident, their insurer should handle settlement negotiations. In extreme cases of negligence, a separate compensation claim directly targeting the boat operator could be possible. A lawyer will provide tailored advice based on your scenario.

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Another boat caused the accident I was injured in. How do I go about making a claim?

Start by gathering as much identification for the other vessel as possible (description, registration numbers, photos). You'll likely claim against their insurance. Evidence is crucial here – witness statements, accident reports, and any proof of your injuries strengthen your case. Our lawyers can help to track down the responsible party's insurer.

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I was on holiday in Queensland when the accident happened, can I still make a claim?

Yes,  jurisdiction for personal injury claims typically rests where the incident occurred, not where you reside. Smith's Lawyers represent clients across Australia and internationally for incidents that happened in Queensland – we can guide you through the process no matter your location.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Last updated:
March 10, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.