Injured in a Boat Crash?
Illinois boasts dozens of popular bodies of water that are ideal for summertime boating. This list includes Lake Michigan, Chain O’Lakes, the Chicago River, the Des Plaines River and the Illinois River. With such great access to the water, it is not surprising that thousands of residents hit the water every year as well as countless tourists and visitors who come for a summer break. Most people enjoy their time on the water safely and then go back to their daily lives. Unfortunately for some, a boating trip will turn tragic and result in an accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident, contact the Chicago Boating Accident Lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today to get the compensation you deserve.
In 2012 alone, there were 101 boating accidents reported in Illinois. Further, 69 of those collisions resulted in injuries and 19 resulted in death.
The typical boating accident occurred in June or July during daylight hours and in calm waters. The average age of a boater in these accidents was between 20 and 40 years old. Also, among those driving during accidents, most had over 100 hours of boating experience.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
The majority of boating accidents had one thing in common. Typically, at least one operator was driving in a hazardous or reckless manner, causing a collision with another boat or a fixed object. Further, more than half of the fatal accidents involve a boater under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Most Illinois boating accidents occur as a result of negligence on the part of the driver, whether that negligence is caused by intoxication, distraction, or inexperience. Overwhelmingly, the majority of boating accidents involve operators with extensive on-water experience but little or no formal training. This combination can result in an overconfident operator who may ignore some vital safety procedures.
Boating while intoxicated
In many aspects, boating accidents can mirror car accidents with many of the same factors in each causing collisions in the other. As previously mentioned, operating under the influence is very common. Too often, drinking alcohol and boating go hand-in-hand in Illinois. Friends and family gather for a fun day on the water, but boating under the influence is illegal and dangerous. Boaters in Illinois face the same standards as drivers when it comes to intoxication by any substance that impairs a driver’s ability to operate a watercraft. Yet often, those who would never drink and drive somehow choose to boat and drive. Intoxication is a factor in too many boating fatalities in Illinois, in some years over 50%.
Another common cause of boating accidents is inattentiveness by an operator. Often this results in a collision between two watercrafts, or in one watercraft striking an object or a person in the water.
Every year accidents occur where a speeding boater fails to notice a swimmer in the water. As a result, the boat strikes or runs over the swimmer, often with tragic consequences. In other accidents, a large boat operating at a high speed mail fail to see a smaller boat hidden by waves until it is too late and a collision occurs.
Negligent boat maintenance
Like other vehicles, boats are subject to wear and require maintenance to keep them in proper working condition. This may require the installation of new parts or repair of broken parts at intervals in the life of the boat. Failing to properly maintain a watercraft can lead to a dangerous condition or even a collision. This may result in injuries to those on board or to others in the area.
Some properly maintained boats may otherwise be unsafe if they are subject to a flaw or defect in design. This issue could make normal use of the boat precarious to a novel or an experienced boater.
Legal Options After a Boating Accident
Many of those who suffer injury in a boating accident are unaware that they may be able to make a financial recovery for their damages. The type of claim available and whether a recovery is possible varies. It depends on the type of accident, the injuries to the victim, and whether someone was negligent or reckless in causing the injury. As each incident is unique, it is always a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney after an accident to learn about your legal rights.
As an accident victim, you may be able to to make a claim against the at-fault boater, the boat owner, or even the marina and/or rental company in some circumstances. This claim can provide you with compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages you were unable to earn
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
- Any other actual damages due to the crash
If your family member dies in a boating accident, you may receive compensation for your losses. This could include the time you will no longer be able to spend in your loved one’s company and future loss of income.
In some cases, an at-fault boater may not be known or may not be a viable source of a financial recovery. This does not necessarily prevent a victim from obtaining compensation in many accidents. A lawyer can help you realize whether another form of compensation may be available.
Contact a Chicago Boating Accident Lawyer
The injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a free, no obligation case consultation to all accident victims. Call (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or contact us online. Our legal team is standing by 24 hours a day to assist you. After an accident, call us and let us help you understand your legal rights. We can help determine whether you have a right to financial compensation for your injuries.