How A Boating or Water Accident Can Change Your Life
I am an avid water enthusiast. I spend a great deal of time on the lakes in North Idaho and Washington. I know that a day on the water can be amazing. The beauty and number of lakes is one of the reasons I enjoy living in Spokane. I also know that every summer what should be a fun day on the water turns into a nightmare for some.
I always see people taking unnecessary risks with boats, on jet skis, while water skiing, tubing, wake boarding and swimming.
For instance, I recently resolved a case for nearly a million dollars against the driver of a boat. He pulled my client, a tuber, too close, to a dock. He suffered a head injury as a result. That happened on Twin Lakes but the same type of activity happens on Priest, Coeur d’ Alene, Hayden, Roosevelt, Moses and other lakes and rivers in North Idaho and Eastern Washington.
I often see or hear of drivers driving intoxicated, or drivers too inexperienced to safely pull skiers, wake boarders or tubers. They need to know the right speed and the right conditions for each of those water sports. Jet skis or water craft can collide, tip, or hit docks or swimmers.
Don’t drive with anyone inexperienced, drunk or too young. Ride in the boat in designated seats. Don’t swim or sit around the prop. If you smell engine fumes – move and notify the operator. Make sure there is a responsible spotter at all times. Make sure all safety gear and sporting equipment is safe.
Make sure your driver is aware of and complying with all safe boating laws and regulations.
Did you know that the laws governing one lake may be different on a neighboring lake. For instance, how close a boat can get to the shore, other boats, and stationary property like docks may vary from lake to lake. So too can the day and night speed limit. If you have been in a boating or water accident, we will tell you about those and all applicable Coast Guard, State, County and local laws.
There are five major types of accidents that can occur:
– a collision with another vehicle/vessel.
– flooding of the vessel
– crashing into a fixed object
– falling overboard
– a mishap with an external apparatus (such as a water ski, tube or wakeboard)
Of all these, falling overboard results in more deaths than the rest combined — and the majority of those who do die are not wearing life jackets. In more cases than any other, the result of a boating accident is carelessness on the part of an operator. Failing to notice another boat, failing to use proper signals, or paying attention to something other than the conditions of the water result in hundreds of accidents and dozens of deaths per year. While alcohol use has relatively fewer accidents, it accounts for the vast majority of death cases.
Even lake regions of the country with a relatively small population, such as Priest Lake in Idaho or Lake Roosevelt in Washington, are subject to disastrous boating accidents. These are areas with small populations that swell in the summer months with watercraft.
Slow water craft can be dangerous because they cannot get out of the way. A watercraft with more agility, such as a jet ski, can quickly avoid danger but due to the lack of protection, they are more likely to prove fatal. Indeed, the safest type of craft you can have on a lake like Lake Pend Oreille is a rowboat, as it is much too slow to create any type of hazard on its own.
Should you experience a boating, swimming, jet ski, tubing, wakeboarding or other water, lake, or river accident, you should contact an attorney to discuss the recovery of medical bills, property, pain and suffering, lost wages and other types of damages.