Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

Nationally Recognized in Legal Community

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 Illinois boat accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving severe trauma, property damage, and wrongful death.

Should you have additional questions, we invite each client to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights with a boating accident attorney.

Boat Accident FAQ
Table of Contents show

What Constitutes as a Boating Accident per the U.S. Coast Guard?

The United States Coast Guard states that boating accidents happen when one of three scenarios occur.
These boating accident 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.

U.S. Coast Guard: [1]

↑ Back to Top

What are the Most Common Types of Watercraft involved in Boating Accidents?

Generally, cabin cruisers, runabouts, and jet skis are most commonly involved in a boating accidents with boat operators compared to sailboats and schooners.

↑ Back to Top

What is the Main Cause of Boating Accidents With Injuries and Deaths?

The US Coast Guard states that there are numerous common causes of boating 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
  • Intoxication (alcohol use)
  • Equipment failure
  • Reduced vision

↑ Back to Top

What are the Most Common Severe Traumas 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.

↑ Back to Top

What Safety Measures Prevent Wrongful Death and Severe Injuries Caused by a Boating Accident?

The US Coast Guard regulates safety on open waters for boat operators and provides a variety of protective measures that are meant to prevent boating accidents, including these:

  • Always wear a life jacket when on board or near the water to avoid drowning from falling over or capsizing vessels.
  • Never consume alcohol while operating the boat.
  • Enhance the well-being 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.

↑ Back to Top

How Do You Protect Yourself Driving a Boat if an Accident Happens?

Like car accidents, one of the most important issues is the occurrence of harm in a boat accident and how to prevent that including spinal cord injuries or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

First, make sure you take all proper training and courses prior to launch.

Second, load up all safety gear and equipment for passengers sufficient for boats of that size and for each person.

Third, keep track of the weather.

Fourth, make sure each person is securely fastened in case accidents do happen

Finally, make sure operator inattention is not an issue.

↑ Back to Top

Is There a Specific Demographic Group More Responsible for Causing Accidents?

According to statistics for Illinois, individuals ranging from 20 years old to 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 which can impair piloting abilities. Another leading factor that causes trauma and a loss of life in boating accidents includes operating a vessel in the dark.

↑ Back to Top

Yes, there are both state and federal laws meant to protect a boat passenger. In Illinois, the main law governing boating accidents is the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act (625 ILCS 45/). This sets out the requirements for boat owners, what to do in case of an accident, and other important terms.

The purpose of this law is “to promote safety for persons and property in and connected with the use, operation, and equipment of vessels and to promote uniformity of laws relating thereto.” 625 ILCS 45/1-1. It covers everything from authority to accidents.

If you have questions about this or anything, talk to a personal injury attorney or boat accident attorney in a free consultation about boat passenger laws. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC works in attorney-client relationships to help injured boat riders get compensation from the negligent parties or insurance companies.

Boat Accident FAQs

↑ Back to Top

What is the First Action Required of a Boat Operator who is involved in a Boating Accident?

Due to naval regulations, upon the occurrence of a boat crash, every person must stop their boats. Then, they must give their information to all people involved in the incidents and try to help where possible.

Once the accident reports are filed, they should be uploaded to local website property totals. This will normally include citations levied, the person or people involved, etc. The attorneys of our law firm can give you a free consultation if you become our client on the legal consequences of a maritime crash and what you should do.

↑ Back to Top

When is a Watercraft Operator Required to Assist Anyone Injured in an Accident?

You should only try and assist others after the people on your own boat are safe. Then, you should help another person as much as you can.

↑ Back to Top

Are Watercraft Pilots Responsible for Causing an Accident Like a Vehicle Drivers?

Yes, every boater must follow the rules of watercraft operation to ensure the protection of everyone on board and nearby. These rules clarify how one boat can pass another and how to use the best protection equipment effectively.

If a boater violates watercraft rules, the court can hold them legally liable to pay damages for a preventable death or injury.

↑ Back to Top

When is a Boat Operator Required To Submit an 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 for substantial damage to the vessel or other property.
  • The damage to the vessel is considered a complete loss

↑ Back to Top

What is Considered Drunk Driving When Operating a Motor Vehicle?

The rules of boating are just like the rules of the road. 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.

For information on Jones Act cases, look here.

↑ Back to Top

Who Can Pursue a Boat Accident Lawsuit?

Any person who was harmed or damaged in a boat accident because of the intentional or negligent conduct of another can bring a case.

Talk to the attorneys of our law firm for a consultation about your rights and how we can fight for you on a contingency fee basis.

↑ Back to Top

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 kind 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 for seeking compensation to recover your damages.

↑ Back to Top

I Was a Crew Member 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 crew member, 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.

↑ Back to Top

I am From a Different State or Country. Do Illinois Laws Still Protect Me?

Yes, they do. You maintain your rights if another boater hits your boat, or 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.

↑ Back to Top

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 involves 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 watercraft 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.

↑ Back to Top

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.

↑ Back to Top

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 to two years. 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.

↑ Back to Top

What Type of Financial Compensation Can I Recover for Injuries Sustained in an Illinois Boat Accident?

You can receive various forms of financial compensation for injuries sustained in Illinois boat accidents including the following: economic; non-economic; punitive; and wrongful death damages.

The kind of compensation passengers obtain depends upon their unique loss and whatever their property totals like boat propellers or other destruction. If you have questions, use our website and leave your contact details for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. All rights reserved. Privacy policy guaranteed for clients.

Boat Accident FAQ

↑ Back to Top

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company?

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.

↑ Back to Top

Resources: [1]

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
Free Consultation (888) 424-5757