Because boating is a fun recreational activity, it can be easy to lose sight of the dangers on the water. Even if you’re a safe boater, you can’t control the people around you on the water. What you can control is what happens after a boating accident. The law says that if you’re injured because of someone else’s negligent or reckless boating, you have the right to have them compensate you for your damages.
Litster Frost Injury Lawyers represent boaters who were injured by the negligence of other boaters. As one of the largest personal injury firms in Idaho, we have the resources and the experience needed to pursue your case to the fullest extent of the law. Whether you’re ready to file a lawsuit today or just want to find out what your options are, give us a call to schedule a free consultation.
DOES IDAHO REQUIRE BOAT INSURANCE?
Idaho has no law requiring mandatory boat insurance. That means that there’s a good chance that the people you see cruising down the Boise River or around other popular spots, like Lucky Peak Reservoir or Lake Lowell, have no insurance on their boat.
However, many boaters do carry insurance, so you should always check for insurance if you’re involved in a boating accident. In addition, other liability coverage like a homeowner’s insurance policy or umbrella insurance policy may provide coverage.
What Causes Boating Accidents?
Boating accidents happen for many of the same reasons that auto accidents happen such as:
- Careless operation.
- Poor maintenance.
- Ignorance of boating laws.
Boating accidents are often magnified by the fact that the serenity of being on the water lulls people into a false sense of security. Additionally, since Idaho doesn’t require a boating license, there is no testing or qualifications to meet to ensure that people who take a boat out on the water know how to stay safe. Despite there being no required boating license, all boaters still have a duty to know the laws and to operate in a prudent manner.
Is Drinking on the Water Allowed?
Even though many people do it, drinking while operating a boat is not allowed. Passengers are free to drink while riding in a boat but must be sober before taking the helm.
One special aspect of boating is that all boaters have an obligation to avoid collisions. While it’s theoretically possible for a drunk car driver to be hit and have no fault in an accident, this may not be the case on the water, because an impaired operator has reduced their ability to avoid an accident.
Who Pays in a Boating Accident?
The first step is establishing who was at fault. This can be done by proving that the boater was operating unsafely such as by speeding or failing to yield when required to. Even though both boats involved usually share part of the blame, Idaho is a comparative negligence state. If the other boater had the majority of the fault for the accident, you can still recover damages from that boater.
The next step is figuring out where the compensation will come from. If the at-fault boater is uninsured, you may be able to sue them for their personal assets. Judgments and wage garnishments can help if they don’t have enough liquid assets to pay for your damages.
How Do You Bring a Boat Accident Claim?
You can consider yourself lucky if law enforcement was able to quickly respond, make a report, and collect insurance information after an auto accident. The isolation of the water and often generally remote location of lakes and rivers means that you will likely have to either be rescued by civilians or simply idle into shore.
It is critical that you document the damages to both vessels because this can help prove how the accident happened. Be sure to get contact information for any potential witnesses. You should also get the registration number of the other boat.
Our firm can help you gather the information you need and identify who the responsible party is. This includes identifying if there is insurance coverage and making the appropriate claims. Our skilled trial attorneys also have experience piecing together what happened in an accident with little evidence to help you prove your version of events. Instead of trying to figure things out on your own, give us a call now to schedule a free consultation.