For jet skis and other watercraft, the manufacturer has a duty of care to ensure their vessels don’t put boaters at risk of drowning, burns, or serious injury. Boating is big business in Northern Nevada during the summer, and there are many boats cruising the waters of Lake Tahoe and other waterways that pose considerable safety hazards.
When product flaws cause personal injuries, watercraft manufacturers can be held liable for manufacturing defects, design defects, and failing to warn operators and passengers how to safely operate the vehicle or utilize safety features.
Manufacturing defects include the use of faulty construction techniques that can cause critical components to fail during operation. These can encompass fuel pumps that crack, fuel tanks that leak, and fuel lines that split, creating a considerable risk of fire.
Manufacturing defects also include the use of defective nuts or rivets that fail or cracks in the fiberglass, wood, or plastic hull that can allow water to seep into the vessel. Similarly, the use of insufficient or substandard flotation that can cause the vessel to lose buoyancy and sink while underway is considered a manufacturing defect.
Design defects encompass critical errors that can cause the vessel to become unstable during operation, such as boat motors that are prone to corrosion. Other examples include steering or throttle mechanisms that “stick” or “slip” at normal operating speeds. Such failures can cause the operator to lose control over the vehicle, which in turn can lead to collisions, swamping, and overturning.
Failures to Warn
Consumers have the right to be warned about the potential dangers of using a watercraft. This includes being notified about the safe operation of the vehicle and the ways to use each of the components on the vessel, including fire protection equipment, personal flotation devices, shut-off valves/switches, etc.
The manufacturer also has a duty to inform consumers about the watercraft’s operational specifications, including maximum weight, turning radius, speed limits, and emergency procedures. Failing to warn and notify consumers of these specifications is negligent and can lead to serious injury or death.
A product liability attorney in Nevada can help consumers who have been injured by a personal watercraft. Depending on the factors involved in the accident, there are a number of people who can bear liability. These might include the product manufacturer, the boat designer, the boat distributor, leasing company, or mechanics whose maintenance or alterations made the vehicle unsafe to operate.