Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can be, and often times, are as severe as motor vehicle accidents that occur on the highways.  The laws pertaining to who is responsible for a boating accident are similar to car accidents, with the primary exception that instead of being governed by the “rules of the road” they are governed by the “rules of the water.”
 
The operation of a vessel on the waterways of Iowa is governed by specific legal requirements regulating speeding, passing other vessels and other traditional operational requirements similar to automobiles.  In addition to the “statutory regulations,” the general requirement that the operator exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of those within the vessel as well as others out on the waterway, also applies.  Just like vehicle accidents, in most cases, the insurance company for the at-fault operator is financially responsible for the injuries suffered by the injury party.  However, in some circumstances, if the at-fault boater did not have sufficient insurance, they may be held personally financially responsible.
 
Boating accidents do however, present some additional challenges that ordinary motor vehicle accidents do not.  The primary challenge when a boat collision occurs is the fact that the vessels involved in the accident ordinarily do not leave “trace evidence” like what is often times discoverable in vehicular accidents.  Accidents on roadways commonly leave gouge marks, skid marks, and other evidence that is detectable and documentable on the roadway even after the vehicles are moved following the accident.  In boating cases, the waterways do not preserve such evidence.  In fact, the water often times will destroy or distort whatever evidence is present following the accident.
 
For this reason swift action is crucial.  Witness statements must be obtained as soon as possible and the vessels involved in the collision should be inspected on a dry dock by an expert, trained in marine accidents.  Time is not an injured person's friend in a boating accident case.  Swift action is the best way to ensure that an injured person's right to recovery is adequately protected.

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