Boating Liability

This time of year, our lakes are teeming with motorboats, sailboats and personal watercraft. Boating is a great way to spend a summer day.   Unfortunately, a number of people in our area get seriously injured in boating mishaps each year.

It is possible to sue a negligent boater for damages for personal injury. People who suffer serious and permanent injuries in boating collisions sometimes have economic losses of several million dollars. However, Canada’s Marine Liability Act limits the amount that can be recovered for personal injuries to a total of $1,000,000 for each boat that was operated in a negligent manner. This law can result in injustice, particularly where multiple people are seriously injured in a single boat crash.

The $1,000,000 per boat limit on liability does not apply in cases of recklessness. Where a boat is being operated in a reckless manner and the boat operator knew that his or her recklessness would likely lead to injury it is possible to recover more than $1,000,000 against the operator of the boat.

It is important to ensure that your boat or personal watercraft is properly insured. Marine insurance policies provide coverage for liability in the event that you are involved in a crash and people are injured. Marine insurance policies can also provide medical and death benefits if you or your family members are injured in a boating crash. It is a very good idea to talk to your insurance broker about the coverage that is available.

About the Authors

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Troy Lehman joined Oatley Vigmond in 2006 and became a partner in 2010. As a personal injury lawyer, his greatest satisfaction comes from helping people through to the other side of a difficult time in their lives. “We’re here to help and relieve stress,” Troy says. “When I walk into a first meeting with a client, people are often scared and anxious. And for me, the best thing that can happen at the end of the meeting is that they say, ‘I feel so much better.’

To learn more about Troy, please click here.