Among all the natural features of Kootenai County, the local area boasts a navigable river and 18 lakes. Relaxing on the water is a popular pastime from late spring through early autumn.
Although boating is a great form of outdoor recreation, encountering an irresponsible boater could create a stressful situation. Boating accidents do not just ruin a day out on the water — they could cause significant injury or even death.
If another boater’s negligence has left you or a loved one with serious injuries, you are entitled to seek compensation from the responsible party with help from a seasoned civil attorney. A Kootenai County boat accident lawyer could advise you of your legal options and help you hold the tortfeasor accountable.
Kootenai County has the largest number of registered boats in the state, so the local government has enacted several laws and regulations that apply to boaters. Anyone who does not comply with these statutes violates the law and could face fines and jail time for serious infractions. If an accident occurs while a boater is out of compliance, a Kootenai County lawyer could present the violation as evidence of negligence.
For example, although the state has no minimum age for vessel operators, state law forbids anyone under ten years old from operating a watercraft with a motor in the absence of direct adult supervision. If the motor exceeds 15 horsepower, the operator must be at least 14 or under adult supervision. These restrictions also apply to personal watercraft.
Kootenai County has also enacted speed limits for vessel operation. Boats may not exceed five miles per hour within 200 feet of a shoreline or a pier, dock, or person in the water. The limit is 15 miles per hour within 100 feet of another vessel and 20 miles per hour at night. The speed limits are lower in certain designated waterways, including the Coeur d’Alene River and the Spokane River.
Any injury that occurs in an outdoor environment has the potential to be serious.
Boating injuries run the gamut from embedded fishing hooks and cuts that might require a stitch or two to fractures, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and drowning.
If an individual’s negligence contributes to the accident, the negligent party is responsible for the injured person’s losses due to the injury. These losses could include diminished income due to needing time off work, medical costs, and the expense of hiring someone to do household tasks that are impossible because of an injury. An injured person could also collect damages to compensate for the physical and emotional pain they experienced after the accident.
A person who was behaving incautiously when the accident occurred might be held partially liable for their injuries. However, they could still collect damages from parties whose negligence exceeds their own. A Kootenai County attorney could investigate an injured boater’s case to find evidence that another party’s negligence was the main contributing factor for an accident.
An individual who has a claim against a negligent party for personal injuries has two years from the date of their injury to file a lawsuit. If the injured person misses the deadline, a court will not hear their case.
The two-year statute of limitations has a few exceptions. For example, if a person was a minor at the time of the accident, the two-year time clock does not begin to run until they reach age 18. However, they cannot bring a lawsuit if more than six years has passed since the accident. Parents are able to bring suit on a child’s behalf rather than wait for the child to reach the age of majority and risk that a suit could be time-barred.
If a negligent boater caused you to suffer a serious injury, you could hold them responsible for the resulting harm. A claim for damages could force them to be accountable while it provides you with needed compensation for your ensuing harms and losses.
Do not hesitate to exercise your legal rights. Make an appointment today to discuss the matter with a Kootenai County boat accident lawyer.
Owens, McCrea & Linscott, PLLC