44 year old, James Cegelski of Parma, Ohio, has been found at fault for a collision with his instructor that occurred in the Calibogue Sound, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  Cegelski was seriously injured in the collision on July 10, 2012.

Cegelski and group of people rented personal watercrafts (jet skis) from the Palmetto Bay Watersports, on Hilton Head Island.  The group gathered in a semi-circle in the water to hear a safety talk before taking off.  The group already had one safety talk on land.  Cegelski’s watercraft suddenly jolted forward and clipped the guide’s craft.  Both men were thrown into the water.  Cegelski was knocked unconscious and was floating face-down in the water.  The guide quickly grabbed him and swam him to shore where paramedics were waiting.  Cegelski was hospitalized at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia.

DNR found Cegelski to be at fault from the damages to the watercrafts and eye witness accounts and found that the watercraft Cegelski was operating had no malfunctions.  The charge of negligently operating a water vessel could carry fines up to $400.00.

Cegelski’s attorney said he was going to fight the charge and that he thought the guide was too close to him and could not avoid him. Palmetto Bay Watersports owner, Tim Trigg, supports his guide and credits him with saving Cegelski’s life.  Cegelski is recovering from his injuries in Ohio and may face long term if not permanent facial paralysis according to his attorney.

If you or a loved one has be injured by someone else’s negligence while operating a water vessel, please contact the Kerr Law Firm for a free consultation.  You may call us toll free at 1800-350-2990 or locally at 1-843-785-3330.  You may also email us at info@kerrlf.com. We would be honored to assist you with your case.