Visitor Question

Boy Injured in Boat Accident…

Submitted By: Julie (Chester, PA)

My son was in his cousin’s boat and the cousin jumped off to swim. The boat was not anchored. My son was still on the boat and started to drive it. Accidentally the cousin swimming got injured by the propeller. The cousin’s parents are contacting our homeowners insurance.

Should I be worried? What will happen?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Julie,

You should not be worried. In most cases this is the reason why most people carry homeowners insurance.

Whether or not YOUR homeowners insurance will cover such an incident is another matter. Inasmuch as the accident didn’t occur on your premises there is always a chance your insurance company may deny the claim if filed.

Pull out your homeowners policy and read it. If you don’t have a copy of it ask your insurance company to email, fax, or mail you a copy.

If for any reason your homeowners insurance denies the claim, the remaining option the injured boy’s parents would have is to seek compensation for his injuries and the related medical bills from you personally.

The severity of the boy’s injuries and related medical bills may play a role in the case as well. If the medical bills are substantial and the boy’s parents are either uninsured or underinsured, they may seek reimbursement for those costs.

If the boy’s parents do have medical insurance which covers part or all of their son’s medical costs, their insurance company may begin an investigation into the accident.

If the insurance company concludes the accident was primarily your son’s fault, they may come to you at a later time and ask you to pay them back the money they paid for the boy’s medical bills. This is referred to as “Subrogating” a claim.

If the boys had been consuming any intoxicants at or about the time of the accident, their actions will be taken into account when the investigation is under way.

If the investigation concludes the injured boy had been intoxicated, such intoxication may be a defense against his recovery of money. This could mean neither you nor his parent’s health insurance company may be legally responsible for any of the boy’s medical bills.

The fact that your son may have also been intoxicated will not really be important. The duty to refrain from intoxication and the injuries which may result in a boating accident may lie squarely with the injured party; in this case, the boy.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 31, 2011

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