Tragic Boating Accident Takes Four Young Lives

Tragic Boating Accident Takes Four Young Lives | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

With temperatures rising and a holiday weekend on the way, our Chicago boat accident lawyers want to remind watergoers about the importance of safe boating practices. A harrowing crash on the Mississippi River on May 19th is a reminder of just how dangerous boating can be. In order to prevent such tragic accidents on the water, the Minnesota DNR recently released a few quick tips for boaters.

As usual, the DNR stressed the significance of water safety procedures for young water patrons. Parents and adults need to remind teens or people new to water recreation that safety on the water is no joke. One of the most easily forgotten precautions is the use of life vests and flotation devices.

While on a boat, canoe, kayak, or other water flotation structure, drivers and passengers should wear a life vest at all times. If you do not wear the vest, there must at least be one on board the water craft for each person onboard. Life vests are particularly useful during spring months when water and air temperatures are still chilly and could lead to serious injuries such as hypothermia.

In addition to life jackets, boaters should also obey some common rules of the road, such as no drinking while boating. The risk of combining intoxication and boating may actually be greater than that of drinking and driving because if a boating accident occurs, passengers may need to swim away from the scene. Intoxication obviously impairs a person’s ability to swim or tread water until he or she can reach safety.

The Mississippi River boating tragedy may illustrate the type of problem that can occur when passengers mix with boating with drinking. Although the precise cause of the accident is still unknown, officials do know that one of the boats involved was transporting eleven passengers from a party to shore at the time of the incident. The shuttle boat collided with another boat operated by a single man.

As a result of the crash, eight people went to the hospital and four bodies were recovered from the river. All of the victims were in their early twenties. An Iowa DNR official said the accident was one of the most devastating he ever saw. As officials learn more about this tragic accident, a myriad of legal issues are sure to emerge.

The law holds that boat operators may be liable for injuring others on the water if they operate their watercraft in a negligent manner. In order to establish an action for negligence on the water, the injured person must prove that some duty to act in a certain manner applied to the boaters, at least one of the boaters violated the duty, some harm resulted, and violation of the duty caused the subsequent harm. These are the same elements that attorneys often consider in accidents involving cars and other vehicles as well. 

However, unlike a car crash, boating accidents can prove more difficult to resolve. In a car accident situation there are many pieces of evidence that officials and scientists can use to reconstruct the scene such as skid marks, debris patterns, and the final resting places of the vehicles. In boating accidents the current of a river or choppy waters can either relocate or entirely destroy similar pieces of evidence.

To determine what happened in a boat accident, an experienced boat accident attorney must gather evidence of damage to the boats and testimony from those involved, as well as experts. If negligence is proved, the injured victim or victims may be able to recover compensation for emotional and physical attorney can successfully prove all of the elements of negligence there is a possibility that injured parties can obtain fiscal compensation for their emotional and physical injuries.