Helping Boating Accident Victims Recover for Their Losses
Boating is a cherished recreational activity by many Chicagoans. Spending a gorgeous, sunny day out on the water is fun and relaxing for the entire family. However, boating can be dangerous at times, and the potential for a boating accident always exists. According to the United States Coast Guard, alcohol use by a boat’s driver is a major contributing factor in numerous boating accidents—third behind only distracted driving and excessive speed.
While Illinois has strict laws against boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, many people continue to operate vessels after having too much to drink. Of course, a person’s decision to drive a boat while under the influence can cause severe, or even fatal, injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a boat accident that involved a drunk driver, the Chicago boat accident law firm of Abels & Annes is here to help you. Please do not hesitate to call to learn more about our services today.
Holding Drunk Boat Drivers Accountable
Many people who are out operating boats simply believe that drinking is part of the fun of being on the water. Indeed, alcohol consumption has become part of boating culture. This does not change the fact that drunk boating is still highly dangerous and against the law. When a boat driver drinks and then causes a crash that injures others, that driver should be held liable to the fullest extent of the law.
While criminal charges may result, a criminal case will not provide full compensation to injured victims for their many losses, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Permanent injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Instead, victims must seek such compensation by filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim in civil court. These claims can be extremely complicated, and it is essential to have a highly experienced boat accident law firm handling your case.
Boat Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers Can Lead to Serious Injuries
Boating accidents are capable of leaving victims with extremely serious injuries, many of which have the potential to affect them for the rest of their lives. Unlike occupants of land-based vehicles, boat passengers and drivers are usually not restrained by seat belts or other safety devices, making it very easy for them to be ejected from the boat and into the water in the event of an accident. In addition, when accident victims end up in the water, it can result in them being deprived of oxygen for a significant period of time, which has the potential of resulting in serious brain damage.
Here are some of the more common serious injuries that boat accident victims can sustain:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – TBIs can often occur when two boats collide. They tend to happen when a person hits his or her head on an external object, such as a boat’s hull or floor. Even mild traumatic brain injuries can leave victims with serious symptoms that last for months, often forcing them to miss a significant amount of work or school. More severe TBIs can result in long-term cognitive or physical issues that may keep victims from living independently.
Anoxic Brain Damage – The brain requires oxygen to function normally. If the brain’s oxygen supply is cut off, even for a short period of time, it can sustain damage. Brain damage can start to occur after only four minutes of inadequate oxygen, potentially leaving victims with severe long-term issues with memory, speech, vision, or other functions. When boat accident victims are ejected from their vessel and enter the water while unconscious, they can often be deprived of oxygen for a length of time that can result in serious brain injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, are an extremely serious type of injury that can leave victims paralyzed or with significant physical limitations. They can occur whenever a person experiences trauma that results in physical force being applied to the spinal column.
How a Chicago Boat Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you have been hurt in a boat accident in the Chicagoland area, you may be wondering whether you should spend the time and money associated with retaining legal representation. Accident victims should always consult with an attorney, even if they have already been offered a settlement by the insurance company handling their case. There is no up-front cost associated with retaining the Chicago boat accident attorneys at Abels & Annes. We only collect legal fees from you if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Here are some of the more specific ways that a lawyer can help you after you have been hurt in a boat accident:
Determine Whether You Have a Claim – Not every boat accident is legally actionable. Your attorney will thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and let you know whether you may be able to recover compensation. In addition, should the facts of your case not provide a clear answer to whether you have a claim, your attorney will likely conduct an investigation into whether your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence.
Negotiate a Settlement with the Insurance Company Handling Your Case – If your accident was caused by a drunk boat driver, it is likely that liability will not be seriously contested by the at-fault party or the insurance company handling your claim. As a result, the case will likely be resolved through a settlement—meaning that you will accept a sum of money in return for releasing the other party from any future liability. An attorney can negotiate this settlement agreement on your behalf, ensuring that any settlement you accept adequately compensates you for all of your losses.
File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf – In some drunk boating accident cases, the at-fault party or the insurance company handling the case is unwilling or unable to settle the case for an adequate sum. When this occurs, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you are owed. In such an event, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf in the appropriate venue and represent you in court.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Chicago Boat Accident Lawyer
At the law firm of Abels & Annes in Chicago, we regularly assist injured victims of all types of accidents—including accidents caused by intoxicated boat drivers. If you have been injured, please call us at 312-924-7575 for a free case evaluation today.