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Old     (AxisofEvil)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-23-2013, 11:11 AM Reply   
So yesterday evening I went out for a few sets and one of my regular riding buddies brought along a mutual friend who I haven't seen in about 10 yrs. I remember back in the day he was a pretty advanced rider so I was courious to see if he still had his stuff. When it was time for his pull he said that he hadn't been on a board in about 2 years and not to expect much, so I figured he'd just be going for grabs and W2W jumps untill he got his legs back. Anyways he jumps stright in the water, no stretching... took about 2 warm up jumps then started throwing inverts, the 3rd one was a tantrum to broken femur.

After about 30mins in the water we finally cut off his binding and stabilizes his leg enough to move him back to the launch and wait for the ambulance. On the way back to the Dock I heard him mutter those terrible words that made my blood run cold "I don't have insurance".

I don't think that he's going to sue me, but you never know....Has any one had to deal with this issue?
Is this something I should be worried about?
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Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       07-23-2013, 1:42 PM Reply   
I personally don't see how he would be able to sue you. He was being pulled behind the boat. It's not as if you got in an accident or anything that way. Besides, you had other witnesses aboard that could back up what you just said above. I don't think he would get anywhere.
Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       07-23-2013, 1:47 PM Reply   
I believe anyone on or behind your boat is your liability. That's how I remember it from several years ago when I was a boat owner. Hopefully he's not an ahole, and won't sue you for an accident that you didn't cause.
Old     (scotthons)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-23-2013, 1:59 PM Reply   
My guess is your med pay that you have on your boat policy could pay for his hospital bills (usually the limits are $5k). This is regardless if you are at fault or not and is more of a good will gesture. If you were deemed to be at fault then your higher liability limits would probably kick in.
Old     (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       07-23-2013, 2:50 PM Reply   
I don't have an answer to your question, but hope it just "goes away" and the guy heals without issue.

Just as an informational. in general, I have assumed the majority of lawsuits are not someone saying I am going to much as a hospital or other insurance, trying to find another payer. So in a scenario such as this, even insured, they would ask questions how it happened, where it happened, collect all the information they can get to see if there is a way they can reduce their financial liability. (I have no idea why I assume this)
Old     (andy_nintzel)      Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: Minnesnowda       07-23-2013, 3:06 PM Reply   
Well I had almost the same situation except the guy did have insurance. He did a w2w jump to a spiral femur break. What did happen is that his insurance company sued my insurance company, it took about a year and half to clear up.

I hope all is well and he owns it.
Old     (redsupralaunch)      Join Date: Aug 2002       07-23-2013, 3:22 PM Reply   
Scott is correct. Hopefully you remembered to pay your insurance. This is a teachable moment. Don't pull anyone without medical insurance and get them to sign a release waiver especially your best friends - that is how to keep your friends when times are tough.

It is different from state to state but liability rests with the boat owner. It is property you own like real estate or automobile. For example, you can get a $1,000,000 liability policy to coach wakeboard from USA Water Ski for $35 as long as you are not the boat owner. If you own the boat its $4K.

Now back to your direct question. The medical payments section of your boat owners policy will cover some small claims 2K-10k depending on your policy and has nothing to do with fault which is a whole other issue.
Old     (pprior)      Join Date: Jan 2012       07-23-2013, 3:45 PM Reply   
Lawyers suck.

I worry about this too, we take kids and teach and if something happens, you know somebody will come after you.

Did I mention lawyers suck?
Old     (phillywakeboarder)      Join Date: Sep 2008       07-24-2013, 10:14 AM Reply   
Can he sue you? Of course. Basically, anyone can sue anyone for anything. Would his lawsuit be successful? That all depends on the facts of the case. Generally speaking, if you weren't negligent, i.e., if you were exercising a reasonable degree of care, basically acting like a normal boat owner/operator would, then you should be fine. If it's really bothering you, pull out your insurance docs and check your coverage.
Old     (CHern5972)      Join Date: Jul 2012       07-24-2013, 10:43 AM Reply   
My best friend broke his TIB/FIB throwing 3's behind my boat. HE did not ask for anythign and had no insurance. We offered to help and he said, "i was the dumbass throwing 3's, and you told me not too"

Scott is correct
Old     (burban89)      Join Date: Nov 2006       07-24-2013, 11:08 AM Reply   
Just throwing this question out as a boat owner myself, does anyone actually make people sign a waiver?
Old     (CHern5972)      Join Date: Jul 2012       07-24-2013, 11:11 AM Reply   
I dont...

I beleive if i ride behind a bids boat, IM RESPONSIBLE for my own actions. Same goes for my crew. I have broken my ankles throwing 3's(early 90's learning)
Old     (wakedaveup)      Join Date: May 2012       07-24-2013, 12:18 PM Reply   
I have had a few customers that made the comment "my insurance even covers other riders behind my boat!" so give your insurance policy and good look, you more than likely have coverage in the event this goes south on you, but definitely look into it.
Old     (redsupralaunch)      Join Date: Aug 2002       07-24-2013, 2:47 PM Reply   
Originally Posted by burban89 View Post
Just throwing this question out as a boat owner myself, does anyone actually make people sign a waiver?
Been there. Done Thant. After I spent the big $$ on the new boat & membership to a private lake, and give the perfect pull with the perfect wake, the son of a friend turns in a claim to my insurance company. That is when I started to have anyone who rides behind my boat sign a waiver.

WWA, INT, USA requires a waiver when one rides in a tournament, why should I be any different.
Old     (MylesK)      Join Date: Apr 2011       07-24-2013, 4:39 PM Reply   
Can someone share a waiver that they are using? It sucks making people do that but it's a crazy world out there!
Old     (saceone)      Join Date: Jan 2009       07-24-2013, 4:58 PM Reply   
Originally Posted by MylesK View Post
Can someone share a waiver that they are using? It sucks making people do that but it's a crazy world out there!

We don't have that problem in Canada, eh!
Old     (mikebu)      Join Date: Aug 2008       07-24-2013, 5:42 PM Reply   
A waiver may or may not prevent a lawsuit. Let's say for example a waiver is signed and you pull the rider into a dock. If you are negligent you are going to get sued even if you have a signed waiver no matter what it says. A waiver may help you with a frivolous law suit but I'm not a lawyer and the times I have had a lawyer create waivers they basically told me they don't help that much.

Many/most boat policies have a medical coverage component, mine is $5000, that is paid out to your riders whether or not you are at negligent. Health Insurance companies are now going after this if a person is injured while riding on your boat. If you ask that person to lie to their insurance company they risk the claim not being paid out at all. Also a waiver cannot stop a Health Insurance company going after this as the boat policy is obligated to pay out this amount.

If it was me I would call your insurance agent to discuss and let your friend get whatever medical coverage you have on your boat policy. I don't think your Insurance Company is going to penalize you for this and your friend could probably use what money is available to fix their leg.

I lost a friend over this when my daughter fell riding behind a friends boat and got some x-rays on her ribs/neck in the ER. My health insurance company wanted his policy to pay out the max benefit before they would cover the difference. I ended up paying the $1000 or $2000 his boat policy would have paid out of my pocket to my health insurance company.

I don't know if it was Karma but a couple of months later my ex-friend ran over a stump and tore off his rudder/prop and put a big hole in the bottom of his boat and had to file a very big claim with his insurance company to fix the boat.
Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       07-24-2013, 6:39 PM Reply   
Most people I ride with I'm not worried about and they have no reason to worry about me -- we all understand risks involved and would never pull a dick move like going after someone giving you a pull behind their boat. But hearing that the rider's insurance company may do this on rider's behalf despite their objections worries me.

Should we collectively pull a few bucks together and get a properly drafted release form that we could all use?

If there's interest, and someone could recommend a reputable attorney to write a useable release form, I'll get a quote, then start a crowdfunding campaign (e.g. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc) to fund it.
Old     (Nordicron)      Join Date: Aug 2011       07-24-2013, 7:01 PM Reply   
Ak4life that's a good idea! I don't think most people would have issue signing a waiver. I don't think I'd have a problem signing one if I was asked.
Old     (augie_09)      Join Date: Mar 2011       07-24-2013, 8:39 PM Reply   
I heard a very similar story last month, i.e.. friend of a friend of boat owner did a set and got injured, no real fault of the driver. A very standard pull if you will. The said rider. or their insurance, sued many parties to regain the cost of medical bills including the driver/boat owner.

The one tip I got from the involved party telling the story was, "if this happens to you, within 48hours, while your memory is still fresh, write everything down you can remember from that day, exact words said before the set, after, etc.., and get any witnesses to do the same and then consult a lawyer just to be prepared."

sorry to be vague, but the incident I am referring to is still going on in courts and it's not my place to go into detail about it.
Old     (denystaucd)      Join Date: Feb 2003       07-24-2013, 9:02 PM Reply   
Ever notice when you go to the doctors they ask if "This is a work related injury". Follow the money. I once kicked a dock cleat hard enough to split my toe open, requiring 5 stitches. Well the ER nurse wrote down "boat injury" and my medical insurance went crazy about getting my boat insurance info. Had to sign with a witnessed an statement saying the injury was on the dock and not my boat.

Do explain the risks to new boarding every-time. Pat hope your friend recovers fast.
Old     (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       07-24-2013, 9:06 PM Reply   
Yes this does scare me.

I do have boat insurance. I also have some further coverage as a coach and a member of waterski wakeboard Canada. There's ways out there to reduce liability such as associations, memberships, and waivers.

It's not quite as scary being that we have public health care for injuries but there is still the potential of liability.
Old     (mikebu)      Join Date: Aug 2008       07-24-2013, 9:19 PM Reply   
And to be clear it sounds like we are talking about 2 different things in this thread:

1: Suing a boat owner based on some negligence that caused/contributed to the Injury.

2: Health Insurance recouping costs from a boat owners insurance policy via the personal medical coverage.

Option 2 a person doesn't have a say about.except to lie to the Health Insurance about the injury and that it didn't happen on someone's boat.

As a boat owner I'm not sure what benefit we get from having that personal medical coverage on the policy. I wonder if it is better to drop it altogether or increase it to provide more protection. Maybe it is useful for minor injuries and the insurance companies have decided it is cheaper to pay out up to $5000 on any incident rather then litigate and have to pay lawyers.

This kind of thing also happens with Auto insurance in that if you are injured while being in a car your Health Insurance will want whoever's Car Insurance is deemed responsible to pay the maximum limit of the medical benefit betore they put out money.
Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       07-24-2013, 11:02 PM Reply   
So can anyone recommend a competent lawyer to draft a waiver we could all use to protect ourselves? What do coaches/camps use?

Sounds like liability waivers can be effective, if properly written [1].

Releases and waivers of liability are usually enforced in California. They are considered contracts that, if properly drafted and executed, are recognized as valid agreements that limit your rights.

HOWEVER, signing a release or waiver for a sporting activity may not be fatal to your right to recover compensation for your injuries. If you signed a release or waiver of liability and you or your child sustained a serious injury, we can help you evaluate whether the form you signed was valid and binding.
Old     (AxisofEvil)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-25-2013, 9:28 AM Reply   
Wait, wait, wait….. You can get BOAT insurance now?

I’m just kidding, thanks for all the input and well wishes everyone. My buddy is doing well, I talked to him the yesterday and found out that snapped his femur in half and fractured it in a second spot, he had to have a plate and 8 screws put in but they said he might be going home today. He seemed to be in good spirits about the whole ordeal (but that could have been all the drugs) and I didn’t really get any vibes that would make me think that there will be an issue with a law suit in the future , I’m just worried about when those bills start to stack up.

As for getting wittiness and issues of negligence ….. I may or may not have had my Gopro rolling from the tower and caught the whole thing: my friend throwing 2 successful Backrolls and a 360 before coming up short on the tantrum and murdering his back leg.
But more importantly I have my wife asking him if he wanted us to call an ambulance for him,
and my 2 other friends and I (one works in the medical field and I’m a trained combat life saver) preforming First Aid on him for shock and stabilizing his leg so the bone didn't hit his femoral artery until the paramedics arrived. I’m hoping this would be enough to shield me from a negligence suit.

Last night I gave my insurance company a heads up call and they said I’m covered up to $300,000 so I should be good if anything was to happen. I also have them looking in to what we can do for helping him with some of his bills and if there is penalty on my end or not.
In the future I’m going to make sure anyone behind my boat has insurance, I would really hate to make people start signing wavers just to ride but that’s the world we live in now. Got to watch your back and pocket book I guess , sucks though.

Thanks again, and I’ll update if anything come of this.

Last edited by AxisofEvil; 07-25-2013 at 9:32 AM.
Old     (redsupralaunch)      Join Date: Aug 2002       07-25-2013, 2:47 PM Reply   
First let me say I'm very glad your buddy is doing well!
Old     (canucked)      Join Date: Jun 2007       07-25-2013, 3:39 PM Reply   
First off, glad to here he is ok. Thats sounds really bad

Second, if I asked any of my friends to sign a waiver before riding im sure they would kick me in the nuts...(thats what I would do)

...but i'm Canadian
Old     (AxisofEvil)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-25-2013, 7:19 PM Reply   
From left to right ; that's the outside of his knee to his hip.
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Old    kx250frider617            07-25-2013, 7:58 PM Reply   
Wow sounds so familiar, I broke my femur doing a tantrum and landed wrong. Had a rod and screws installed and sat in the hospital for 5 days. I am the boat owner but I didn't even think of possibly being sued by a friend getting hurt. He definitely has a long road ahead of him. It took, over 6 months to heal enough to board again. Here is my pics:
Old    kx250frider617            07-25-2013, 8:00 PM Reply   
I guess tantrums break femurs!!!

BTW: my whole leg was $75k + ambulance + PT before insurance. Luckily, I just got a copy of the bill my insurance got.
Old     (Orange)      Join Date: Jun 2012       07-25-2013, 9:44 PM Reply   
Originally Posted by AxisofEvil View Post
From left to right ; that's the outside of his knee to his hip.

Are those sutures from surgery to repair the break? Or was it a compound fracture and some of those were closing up where the bone penetrated the skin? Either way... Ouch.
Old     (saceone)      Join Date: Jan 2009       07-26-2013, 4:44 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by canucked View Post
First off, glad to here he is ok. Thats sounds really bad

Second, if I asked any of my friends to sign a waiver before riding im sure they would kick me in the nuts...(thats what I would do)

...but i'm Canadian
Haha, I guess that's our way of seeing things. Same answer here from my french canadian friends! That's how we roll in Montréal
Old     (redsupralaunch)      Join Date: Aug 2002       07-26-2013, 6:50 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by redsupralaunch View Post
First let me say I'm very glad your buddy is doing well!
Second, After the claim was filed in my last incident, we had a long talk with my commercial insurance agent who also is the agent of record for my personal boat insurance. The medical portion of coverage is really a standard so you cannot opt out. I would hazard a guess that is a way to keep costs down on litigation by a small $5000 limit.

I was advised that multiple claims would result in cancelation of coverage. Just like our insurance on my home or commercial property. That is a snowball that just would not stop and eventually I don't get to ride. Waiver is the answer. Most importantly, this gives me the control to submit a claim at my option and tear up the waiver if I so chose.

Some of you who don't know me might think that I'm an ass for doing this, but I pull a lot of people including my local collegiate club just because I like sharing the luv. Its embarrassing how much I have spent on the sport, but I don't regret it and have to protect my ability to continue.
Old    kx250frider617            07-26-2013, 11:04 AM Reply   
Does anyone have a copy of their liability form I could see to replicate it? I should start doing the same. Ill just tell my buddies my insurance changed and now requires them to sign.
Old     (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       07-26-2013, 11:26 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by kx250frider617 View Post
Does anyone have a copy of their liability form I could see to replicate it? I should start doing the same. Ill just tell my buddies my insurance changed and now requires them to sign.

USA Water Ski has plenty of resources available. Another consideration is to look into registering as a club, I don't know all of the details involved but it can be a way to extend liability coverage to those individuals riding with a club.
Old     (AxisofEvil)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-26-2013, 11:32 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by Orange View Post

Are those sutures from surgery to repair the break? Or was it a compound fracture and some of those were closing up where the bone penetrated the skin? Either way... Ouch.
No they are all from surgery, thank God it wasn't a compound or else he could have bled out in the water or have gotten a nasty infection.
Old     (kitewake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       07-26-2013, 5:55 PM Reply   
I have often wondered about compound fractures in today's new world of drug resistant infectious bugs. For those who are there anything you can do, first aid reduce the risk....such as immediate irrigation with a sterile saline solution with Betadine? It seems to me that immediately irrigating the exposed wound and bone, then wrapping with a sterile dressing could reduce risk. Sometimes it can take a long time to get from the water to the hospital...

Sorry to hijack the thread...but I thought it would be a valuable addition to the discussion...

Last edited by kitewake; 07-26-2013 at 6:01 PM.
Old     (csquared)      Join Date: Jan 2002       07-26-2013, 9:30 PM Reply   
Depending on where he gets his medical care and how they try to collect, you could be better off that he DOESN'T have insurance.

May sound strange but subrogation can be a PITA.

Long story short, a friend had a minor injury (put his arm through the handle and had a severely bruised bicep that he thought was broken) riding behind my boat a few years ago and went to the ER. He had insurance but because he put that he was injured on a boat on the intake form at the hospital, his insurance company asked for more details, he told them the truth and they tracked down my insurance and subrogated the claim. Neither I nor my friend knew anything about it until I got a letter from my insurance informing me of the claim and that it had been settled. When I called my agent, he pretty much said "Don't worry about it...happens all the time".

Didn't see a rate increase or anything negative but have since learned that even if your friends have medical insurance, their insurance company will go after any money they can get. My agent told me that even if I were to get a waiver in place, it won't matter to their medical insurance company. They can still try and recover the funds.


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