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Negligent Homicide Case Involving Watercraft Accidents in Hawaii

Just two months ago, a twenty-year-old Australian man who was vacationing in Hawaii and crashed his jet ski into a sixteen-year old girl was released from jail. He was sentenced to time served. The young man was also ordered to pay a restitution fee of $78,000; however, many were outraged over what they considered to be much too light a sentence for the crime.

While riding his rented jet ski, the young man was posing for photographs when he collided with  a young girl from California who died the next day from traumatic brain injuries. The young man pled no contest to charges of negligent homicide, and his girlfriend — who attempted to delete some of the videos taken on her cell phone that may have shown there were warnings yelled out — was  charged with obstructing justice.

The young California girl’s parents have filed suit against both the Australian man as well as the jet ski rental company, seeking undisclosed monetary amounts. While some believe the laws must be changed, others state that there are already many laws on the books which are not enforced, and it would be more effective to enforce those laws rather than make  new ones.

Jet skis are light, powerful and much more maneuverable than more traditional boats, and they have become increasingly popular over the past couple of decades. Jet skis are more often used by younger people, sometimes to race one another. Approximately 70% of all jet ski accidents involve a collision with another jet ski or watercraft.  Even though jet skis only account for seven percent of all registered watercraft, over a third of all collisions on the water involve a jet ski. Just as motorcycle injuries tend to be much more serious than injuries sustained by those in an automobile, jet ski drivers will also have much more serious injuries than the pilot of a small boat due to lack of protection.

Those who have been injured in a jet ski or other small watercraft collision could have grounds to sue either the driver of the watercraft or the owner. If the watercraft was operated by an unsupervised minor, the parents could also be held liable. If you have a question about your right to sue, call the attorneys at Shim & Chang.

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Roy K. S. Chang
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With more than 30 years of practical and trial experience handling all types of personal injury cases, Roy K. S. Chang has molded Shim & Chang into a highly creative and innovative law firm that honors the Hawaiian spirit of aloha. He has achieved an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the national directory of attorneys, indicating…

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Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos
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With his unique name and background, Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos' character and experience have greatly added to the creative and innovative approach of Shim & Chang. He has been with the firm since 1996, exclusively handling personal injury cases. Raised in Honolulu, Harvey graduated from Kaimuki High School and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa…

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Alvin Tong Shim, Founder of Shim & Chang In Memoriam of Alvin Tong Shim, November 10, 1923 - June 24, 2006 The Spirit of Aloha Born in Wailuku, Maui on November 10, 1923, Alvin Tong Shim was the second child and first son of Henry and Helen Shim. As a young boy, he earned money…

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