According to the Associated Press, a man died in a recreational boating accident on Sprague Lake outside of Spokane, Washington on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. A female passenger in the power boat was taken to a Spokane-area hospital, but her condition was not immediately known. The sheriff’s office reported that the two were in a power boat but the boat had not been located at this early stage in the investigation.
As we begin recreational boating season in Washington, it is important to review basic boating safety rules with your family. Although the cause of this incident is unknown, many recreational boating incidents are caused by alcohol, inattention, unsafe speeds on the water, failure to have a proper lookout, and the failure to wear life jackets. Before leaving the dock, make certain that you have enough life jackets for your passengers. Don’t drink alcohol while operating a recreational boat. Alcohol is known to impair judgment and dramatically increase the risk of boating accidents. In the state of Washington, it is illegal to operate a recreational boat with more than a .08 blood-alcohol level.
As lawyers representing people injured in recreational boating accidents, we known that conducting an early investigation into the facts of the accident are critical to any case. It is important that the lawyer have the opportunity to review the physical damage to the boat and preserve that evidence if it is important to the investigation. Furthermore, a lawyer should speak with all the witnesses to the incident as soon as possible after the incident. With time, the memories of witnesses can fade and it may become difficult to locate some important witnesses.
Under most insurance policies, a family member of a vessel operator may bring an action for damages against the driver or operator of the vessel. Even when a family member is responsible for the recreational boating accident, a lawyer should explore the possibility of insurance coverage for the incident for the acts of the driver. The insurance policy may provide important compensation for passengers injured in the accident and the fact that another family member was responsible for the incident should not relieve the insurance company for paying for damages under the insurance policy.