Injured jet ski passenger claims operator jumped wake of another vessel

4/10/2008 2:00 PM
By Steve Gonzalez

A woman who was permanently injured while riding as a passenger on a jet ski filed a personal injury suit against the watercraft's operator in Madison County Circuit Court April 8, seeking damages in excess of $100,000.

Amanda Miller alleges Jonathon Hatton was negligent and careless while operating a jet ski by:

Operating the jet ski while failing to stop, slow and/or swerve at the appearance of dangerous water conditions in order to avoid injury to his passengers;

Operating the jet ski without keeping it under sufficient control;

Operating the jet ski at a speed greater than was reasonable and proper under the circumstances; and

Operating the jet ski without keeping an adequate lookout ahead and to the side.

The incident took place July 16, 2006, on the Illinois River near Grafton, the complaint states.

Miller claims that due to Hatton's negligence and carelessness, she was ejected from the watercraft causing her to sustain severe and permanent injuries to her person.

Miller also claims Hatton violated the Boat Registration and Safety Act (BRSA) by jumping the wake of another vessel while unreasonably or unnecessarily close to other vessel thereby willfully and wantonly endangering her life, limb and property.

She also claims Hatton violated the BRSA by operating the jet ski while loaded with passengers beyond the safe carrying capacity of the watercraft and without taking into consideration the weather and other operating conditions and failed to use reasonable care to bring the watercraft to stop within the assured clear distance ahead of the oncoming wake.

According to Miller, her various injuries caused her to suffer loss of income, medical expenses, permanent disability and disfigurement and severe mental anguish and physical pain.

She is represented by William Mateyka and Kenneth Beijanski of Mateyka & Associates of Granite City.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

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