Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with severe injuries and head trauma suffered in a boating accident and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has collected a series of boat accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving severe injuries, property damage, and wrongful death. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Boating Accident Frequently Asked Questions
During the warm summer months throughout the State of Illinois, many families take to the open waters of Lake Michigan, rivers and local lakes to enjoy the sun and recreational activities. Unfortunately, spending time out on the water on your boat is not always smooth sailing. Many individuals have suffered severe injuries in a boating accident and have filed lawsuits and claims against those responsible for their harm.
The boat accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have compiled a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked questions involving boating injuries and posted the answers below. Many families use this information to determine how to take legal action for justice and to obtain the financial compensation they deserve for their injuries and damages.
What constitutes as a boating accident?
The United States Coast Guard states that boating accident happens when one of three scenarios occur. These scenarios include:
- A boating accident kills or injures a boater beyond the assistance of first-aid.
- A suspected boating incident causes the death, injury or disappearance of a boater.
- The vessel sustained or caused damage.
What are the most common types of watercraft involved in a boating accident?
Generally, cabin cruisers, runabouts, and jet skis are most commonly involved in a boating accident compared to sailboats and schooners.
What are the most common severe injuries suffered by boaters in watercraft accidents?
Typically, the type of injuries boaters suffer occur from boating collisions and contacting spinning propellers. Boaters often have difficulty steering many types of personal watercraft including jet skis and dinghies when releasing the throttle.
Are watercraft pilots responsible for causing an accident like a vehicle driver?
Yes, every boater must follow the rules of watercraft operation to ensure the safety of everyone on board and nearby. These rules clarify how one boat can pass another and how to use the best safety equipment effectively. If a boater violates watercraft rules, the court can hold them legally liable to pay damages for a preventable death or injury.
What safety measures prevent wrongful death and severe injuries caused by a boating accident?
The US Coast Guard regulates safety on open waters and provides a variety of safety measures that include:
- Always wear a life jacket when on board or near the water to avoid drowning from falling over or capsizing vessel.
- Never consume alcohol while operating the boat.
- Enhance the safety of everyone on board by taking boat safety courses.
- Remain alert to the potential risk of exposure to carbon monoxide that claimed the lives of hundreds of boaters every year. Death by asphyxiation can happen in any confined space when carbon monoxide is present.
According to statistics, more than 650 individuals lose their lives in boating accidents every year in America.
What are the common causes a most boating accidents with injuries and deaths?
The US Coast Guard states that there are numerous common causes accidents that include:
- Boat operating inexperience
- Careless boating including traveling at excessive speed, failing to follow watercraft regulations and failing to maintain a proper lookout.
- Boat operator alcohol consumption
- Weather conditions
What contributing factors lead to most boating accident?
According to statistics, the leading common contributing factors to most boating accidents in the United States involve:
- An inexperienced or inattentive boat operator
- Excessive speed
- Reckless or careless piloting
- Alcohol consumption
- Restricted vision
- A failure to maintain a proper lookout for other vehicles, hazards, and swimmers
- Reckless behavior of the passenger or water skier
- Equipment failure
- Inclement weather and hazardous waters
- Engine failure
Is there a specific demographic group more responsible for causing accidents in Illinois?
According to statistics, individuals ranging from 20 years old the 30 years old are involved in most boating accidents compared to any other demographic group. Other groups include those who consume alcohol throughout the day that can impair piloting abilities. Another leading factor that causes a injuries and a loss of life in boating accidents includes operating a vessel in the dark.
I was a crewmember when I was injured while working. What are my rights?
Federal law protects every maritime employee working on navigable waters. If you suffered injuries while working as a boating crewmember, it is essential to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney who specializes in maritime and boat accident laws. It is important to remember that maritime law does not just apply to commercial ships but any water vessel including personal watercraft, hovercraft, jet skis, fishing boats and cruise ships.
I was injured while on a cruise. Can I file a compensation claim?
Most likely. However, many cruise ship contracts place strict limitations on the amount or type of compensation you can receive when suffering an injury. That said, a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in maritime, cruise ship, and boating accident laws can discuss your legal options on seeking compensation to recover your damages.
Are boaters required to file a boating accident report?
By law, any boater, passenger or victim of an accident or casualty caused by a boating accident must submit a report to the appropriate authorities under certain circumstances including:
- Someone died because of the accident
- There was a disappearance under suspicious circumstances that could indicate injury or death
- Someone was injured and needed medical treatment that could not be accomplished through first-aid.
- There was $500 or more of substantial damage to the vessel or other property.
- The damage to the vessel is considered a complete loss
What is considered drunk driving when operating a motor vehicle in Illinois?
The rules of boating are just like the rules of the road in Illinois. Any individual operating a water vessel with an alcohol level of 0.08 or above is considered drunk. The arresting officer must identify the boater as being “appreciably impaired” with a BAC limit of 0.8 and higher.
I was injured in a boating accident. What are my legal rights?
By Illinois law, every boating accident victim has the legal right to seek financial compensation to recover their monetary damages. An attorney working on behalf of the victim will build the case on one or more civil tort rules as defined by personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, and premises liability laws.
I am from a different state or country. Do Illinois laws still protect me?
Yes, they do. You maintain your rights if another boater hit your boat, watercraft or you as a skier, swimmer or bystander no matter if you reside in another country or state. Defendants responsible for causing your injuries from a different country or state are still legally required to pay your compensation. However, you will need an attorney working on your behalf with experience in winning cases against defendants from out-of-state or another country.
Who can be held legally liable for causing my damages in a boating accident?
In many cases, a personal injury attorney working on behalf of the client will build the case against multiple parties to ensure that their client is sufficiently compensated for their damages. Many of these cases are based on liability that involve boating accidents with injuries or death. Your attorney will file a claim against every defendant that could include:
- The boat operator
- Passengers and other guests on the boat
- The boat operator of the vessel that collided with your boat
- The boat manufacturer
- The marina owner
- The safety equipment manufacturer
- The dock owner
- Those responsible for water obstructions
- Any individual who acted negligently caused your damages, injuries or losses.
Can I wait to file my compensation claim?
Not really. According to Illinois State law, the statute of limitations restricts the length of time you can file a claim for compensation. However, there are different statutes of limitation that could apply in your case that might require an attorney to determine your legal options. If you fail to file the appropriate paperwork and documentation before the statute expires, you could be forfeiting your rights to seek financial compensation at any time in the future. Because of that, it is essential to get started right away in filing a claim or lawsuit to hold those responsible financially accountable for your damages.
The boater's insurance company offered me a settlement. Should I accept it?
Probably not until you have discussed the offer with a personal injury attorney who specializes in boating accident cases. Typically, the insurance company or claims adjuster will offer a low settlement amount with the hope that you will accept the check and forfeit your rights to come back and negotiate additional compensation after you realize the extent of your damages, injuries or harm.
So how can I work with the insurance company?
It is essential to understand that insurance carriers that provide policy coverage for boaters must protect their company and stockholders ahead of ensuring that you are paid what you deserve for your damages. One way to maintain profits is to offer victims injured by their policyholders a low settlement. They can save money by getting you to agree to settle quickly before you understand the extent of your injuries and damages. Consider hiring an attorney to avoid making mistakes that could potentially jeopardize your entire case.
How much you charge to review my case?
The boating accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers provide every potential client a no obligation, initial case review at no charge. Let us review the facts and evidence in your case and discuss your legal options before you decide how to proceed with your compensation claim. Let us begin fighting aggressively on your behalf today.
I do not have much money. How can I afford to hire a boat accident attorney?
Our law firm works on a contingency basis agreement. This arrangement postpones payment of all your legal services until after we have resolved your claim through a jury trial or a negotiated out of court settlement. Also, we provide a “No Win/No-Fee Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure adequate compensation on your behalf, you owe us nothing.
What can I expect if I hire you as a personal injury boating accident attorney?
The boating accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will handle every aspect of your case for compensation. We ensure your financial recovery by carefully analyzing every detail of your case. Our law firm will obtain and review every relevant document including video records, prior accident reports, work reports, police records, litigation history, disciplinary action reports and other relevant information before building your case for compensation.
We encourage you and your family to contact our law office today by calling (888) 424-5757 to schedule your appointment to talk with our attorneys at no charge. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential. Call us now so we can begin working on your case today.
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