Boat Accident Attorney Chicago
Many boating accidents occur yearly with Lake Michigan, Des Plaines River, Chicago River, and many other lakes and rivers surrounding the Chicago area. Boating accidents can result in many serious injuries and even death.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident due to negligence, you should seek a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. The person responsible for the accident should be held accountable for the incident.
Our personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are committed to helping you pursue justice and the compensation you deserve for your boating accident injuries.
As with all of our personal injury cases, our law firm handles Chicago boating accident claims and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. Contact our law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) today for a free consultation with a boating accident lawyer.
Illinois Boating Accident Statistics
In the Federal Fiscal Year 2020, 21 fatalities and 36 injuries were reported in boating accidents in Illinois. In this same Federal Fiscal Year, 81 boating accidents were reported in the state.
The US Coast Guard 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics reported that 5,265 accidents that involved 767 deaths and 3,191 injuries occurred in the US.
These statistics reveal how dangerous watercraft accidents can be for everyone involved. Suffering from a boating injury is very likely to happen if precautions are not taken.
If you have suffered a serious injury, you should consult with a Chicago boat accident lawyer who will be able to provide you with guidance and options.
Common Types of Boating Accidents
A boating accident may occur suddenly, causing those involved to get hurt and panic. There may be no apparent reason for how the watercraft accident occurred.
Most boating accidents will result in injury because passengers are likely not wearing seatbelts or secured. People can injure themselves by falling in the boat or falling out of it.
One of the most common boat accidents involves a boat colliding into another vessel or structure. A boat can also crash into a person who is swimming nearby.
These accidents can occur for different reasons, including:
- Driver inattention
- A driver under the influence of alcohol
- Defective boat and equipment
- Adverse weather conditions
Hiring a Chicago boat accident lawyer can allow them to investigate the cause and hold the defendants responsible.
How Boating Accidents Can Occur
Many different factors can cause watercraft accidents. Many things can go wrong when out on the water, even if the boat owner or operator is attentive and driving under optimal conditions.
Unfortunately, boating accidents occur from operators' negligent behavior or reckless operation. Often, many boat pilots are either not attentive or demonstrate negligence.
The weather and water conditions for boating may also not be agreeable. Some of the common causes of boating accidents and watercraft crashes in Chicago, IL is listed below.
Inattention Of The Boat Operator
Watercraft operators must be alert because most boating accidents occur due to human error.
A boat operator must stay aware of surroundings, shallow water times, and lake conditions. Not maintaining a proper lookout can result in a collision with a dock, swimmer, or another boat.
If a boat operator is traveling at an excessive speed and approaches a harbor where the speed limits are lower, it may be difficult for them to slow down fast enough.
Like car accidents, the operator may be going too fast to control the boat and then hit other boats or swimmers in the water, leading to severe boating injuries.
If the boat driver is speeding at night, it may be more difficult to see objects or people in the water.
Inexperienced Boat Operators
While it is easy to purchase a boat, it takes time to operate it safely. A person at least 12 years old must possess a valid Boating Education Certificate issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to operate the vessel.
This certificate is also referred to ask an Illinois boating license. Anyone who owns a boat, kayak, jet ski, canoe, or other vessels must register and title it.
Inexperienced boat operators are more likely to make mistakes that can put their own lives and passengers’ lives in danger.
If an inexperienced operator tries to operate the boat in bad weather where there are choppy or rough seas. There may be an accident, and the operator has failed to have the legally required equipment on board, such as fire extinguishers or a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every passenger.
Defective Boat Or Improperly Maintained Equipment
A boat must be adequately maintained regularly to ensure the safety of the operator and others. Machinery failure or negligent maintenance can cause fires and give off carbon monoxide, translating to burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Some of these boating accident cases might not be caused by the operator's negligence but by the boat manufacturer selling a defective product. If an accident occurs, the manufacturer will be held responsible for damages.
An Intoxicated Operator
Illinois law prohibits a person from operating a boat under the influence (BUI) of alcohol or drugs.
There is a higher risk of getting involved in an accident if the boat operator is driving under the influence. Under Illinois law, a boat operator's blood alcohol content limit is 0.08%.
Weather Conditions Can Cause Injuries
Boating activities in bad weather can be very dangerous and result in injuries and property damage. Before heading out on a boat, you should know the weather and lake conditions.
Violating Navigation Rules
There are rules for navigating a boat and other watercraft on the lake and safety laws that must be followed. Boating education and safety courses allow boat operators to understand the required navigation procedures and boating laws.
There are also certain waters that are considered dangerous, which authorities demarcate to restrict recreational boating.
Boating accidents and other watercraft incidents that occur further out from shore are regulated by maritime law. These global/federal boating regulations involve any boat accident or incident on a maritime vessel, including those that happen while the vessel is at anchor, berthed, or moored.
Generally, a maritime vessel that must follow global or federal law includes:
- Cruise ships
- Freight ships
- Cargo ships
- Fishing vessels
- Tugboats and barges
- Cabin cruisers
- Private yachts and personal watercraft
- Inflatable boats
- Military vessels (and some merchantmen)
Maritime laws are part of a complex legal system that can be difficult to understand. Have you been involved in an accident or incident that occurred further from shore? Speak with an experienced personal injury victims attorney who can help you navigate the system's complexities.
What Should You Do If You Are The Victim Of A Boating Accident
Negligence and defective boating equipment are significant factors that cause people to be thrown around in the boat or fall off the boat and drown. Boat accident injuries from these incidents can include permanent brain damage, broken or dislocated bones, concussions, and other severe injuries.
If an accident occurs, seek medical treatment for yourself or an injured person immediately. You must also file a boating accident report if you are involved in any watercraft accident that results in loss of life, injury to a person that needs treatment beyond first aid, or when total property damages are $2,000 or greater.
Gather the information of all parties involved and information regarding the vessel for your records. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you should consult with a Chicago boat accident attorney.
You have legal rights and remedies to get compensation for economic and non-economic damages if you are an injured party in a boating accident in Chicago, IL. Economic damages refer to calculable types of compensation, such as medical bills and property damage.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and can include:
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You can file a Chicago boating accident injury lawsuit to recover the compensation you are entitled to receive.
Potential Defendants in a Chicago Boat Accident Injury Lawsuit
There are many possible defendants in a boating accident injury lawsuit. The possibility of multiple at-fault parties is consistent with boat accidents' many different causes.
An attorney could investigate the facts of your case and prove negligence if a party was at fault. There are many types of boating activities around the Chicago area, which an experienced attorney can further investigate.
For example, many tour boats and party boats go out onto Lake Michigan. The crewmembers must be fully trained to act in an emergency.
Additionally, boats must have one personal flotation device for each person on board, at least one fire extinguisher, and correctly installed ventilation systems, among other requirements. When a boat lacks proper equipment or the crew is not properly trained, the operator, owner, and other parties may be sued.
Common Defendants That Are Found In Boating Accidents
Chicago boating accident attorneys can help investigate your case and determine who is at fault. Below are some possible defendants who could be responsible for injuries sustained in boating incidents.
- The boat operator: Boat operators can be held liable if they operated the boat recklessly or disregarded boating laws. The driver must be alert and avoid colliding with another boat, jet skis, or nearby swimmers.
- Boat owners: The boat owner can be held liable for an accident if the vessel is not maintained regularly or operating safely for use. Boat owners also need to be careful about who they allow to operate their boat because they can also be held liable if the operator causes an accident.
- Manufacturers of Watercraft: If the cause of the accident was a defective boat, you could file a product liability lawsuit against either the company that manufactured the boat or the one that was the retailer that sold it to you.
- Boat Passengers: If a boat passenger prevents a boat operator from fulfilling his duty of ensuring that those aboard are safe, the passenger can be held responsible.
- Other Boat Owners or Operators: If you are a boat driver or rider and were involved in a collision with another boat, you can file a lawsuit against the driver of that other boat.
- Marinas & Harbors: You can also file a claim against any defendant responsible for the conditions that surrounded your accident. For example, the dock where you were parking or storing your boat may have been negligently maintained and could cause your accident.
Viable boat accident cases can also be filed for lack of proper safety equipment such as life jackets.
Contact Us For A Free Consultation With One Of Our Chicago Boating Accident Attorneys
Even minor boating accidents on an Illinois river, lake, or pond can result in severe injuries. If you find yourself in a boating accident, you could be left with severe injury and physical problems.
Additionally, the costs of medical bills from the incident can also cripple you financially, requiring experienced Chicago boating accident lawyers on your side. A Chicago boating accident attorney from our law firm will help you present your injury case to the insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary.
Our Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC legal team has decades of experience handling serious personal injury cases. Our Chicago boat accident lawyers have recovered millions in settlements for our personal injury clients.
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757, or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. One of our Chicago boat accident lawyers will discuss receiving maximum compensation for your injuries, harm, or property damage.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.