Visitor Question

Fractured foot while disembarking…

Submitted By: Ernie (Leominster, MA)

I was on a power boat with friends.

After a day out we came into the bay and approached the pier to disembark. I was directed by the boat owner to take the stern line and jump onto the dock.

It was about 12-18 inches down, and when I landed, it was disastrous.

I ended up in the ER with 4 fractures in my foot and a torn rotator cuff, all on my left side.

I have had 2 surgeries and I now have 3 scars. I also have not been able to work for 5 months, with several more months ahead of me.

The medical bills so far are approaching $60,000.

I have months of therapy still ahead of me.

Can I make a personal injury claim against the owners boat policy?

Was I not a guest on his boat in his care, custody and control? I know the policy covers bodily injury for entering or exiting the boat, but was he liable at all? Can I make a claim on any other insurance? Any info you can give would be great.

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.


Dear Ernie,

Boats are often covered under homeowners insurance policies. Fortunately, under homeowners insurance it is not necessary for an injured party to prove negligence. If the boat owner’s boat was covered under his homeowners policy, all you will have to do is prove the injury occurred. Once you do, all your related medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, costs of transportation to and from treatment, etc., lost wages, and pain and suffering should be covered up to the maximum amount of the policy.

Because negligence isn’t a requirement, you may be able to handle the claim on your own. Yet, because of the seriousness of your injuries, you would probably be better off retaining an attorney.

Separate from the boat owner’s homeowners insurance, ask the boat owner for the name of his boat insurance company. To succeed under a separate boat owner’s liability policy you will have to prove the boat owner was negligent. That might be difficult under the facts you present. Once again, because of the seriousness of your injuries you would be best served by retaining an experienced personal injury attorney.

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: December 21, 2013

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