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Jet Ski Safety and Avoiding Personal Injury

Spring Break and Summer will soon be here, which means Jet Ski or Personal Watercraft use will occur. While jet skiing can be fun, the mishandling of these watercraft can lead to serious personal injury including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or even wrongful death.

Jet Ski Safety

The American Red Cross has published various water safety tips, including specific safety tips for Jet Ski use. These tips include learning to swim, knowing the local laws and regulations, operating the Jet Ski with common sense and courtesy, using caution around swimmers, wearing a life vest, riding with a buddy, and refraining from alcohol use during operation.

Along with these tips, it is also important to know how a Jet Ski operates. It is important for a user of a Jet Ski to be trained by an experienced and knowledgeable operator because personal water craft are powerful and therefore, can be dangerous. Jet Skis, similar to other boats, do not stop like a car. Every year there is a tragic story about a person being catastrophically injured or killed due to a jet ski being unable to stop before running into a pier, dock, or other boat.

In Indiana, there also is no requirement to have specific training on a personal water craft unless you are under 15 years of age.  Any person with a valid driver’s license may operate boats and personal water craft.

Jet Skis and other personal water craft use is fun; however, caution should be used to prevent personal injury. If you or a loved one has been injured through the use of a personal watercraft, jet ski, or other boat, contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Goodin Abernathy, LLP for a free consultation.

Physician’s Liability – Driving While Medicated

A recent Indiana Supreme Court decision highlighted the dangers of mixing certain medications with driving.  In Manley, et al v. Sherer, et al., No. 59S01-1205-PL-249 (Ind. 2013), the driver struck Plaintiff, Mary Manley, head-on.  At the scene, the driver told Ms. Manley she “should not be driving due to her medical condition.”  The driver’s physician, Dr. Sherer, informed the prosecuting attorney the driver had several medical conditions that when combined with the medications prescribed by Dr. Sherer, may have contributed to the accident.

Ms. Manley and her husband sued Dr. Sherer for the failure to warn the driver not to drive while taking the prescribed medication.  In reversing a summary judgment in favor of Dr. Sherer, the Supreme Court held the usual 2 year statute of limitations to file her case did not apply because it was unclear when Ms. Manley knew she had a medical malpractice case.

In addition, the tolling provision of I.C. §34-18-7-3(a) was upheld.  This provision tolls the 2 year statute of limitations defense for physicians when a plaintiff files their proposed medical malpractice complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Medications mixed with driving are a concern in the U.S.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 16 percent of weekend nighttime driers (roughly 1 in 6) tested positive for illicit drugs or medications.  2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers:  Drug Results, U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, December 2009.  Of this number 3.9% were positive for medications and 1.1% were positive for a combination of illegal drugs and medications.