CHICAGO BOAT ACCIDENT LAWYER
Legal Representation for Boat Accident Victims in Chicago
2020 Boat Accident Statistics
- Lack of attention by the boat operator
- Lack of experience by the boat operator
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
How Do Boating Accidents Happen?
- Driving a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to pay attention to other boats on the water, also called improper lookout
- Broken on-board navigation lights
- General inattention of the boat operator
- Inexperienced boat operator
- Restricted vision
- Not following the rules of the “road.” For example, not following right-of-way rules
- Sharp turns
- A boat operator starting the boat in gear
- Failing to anchor the boat properly
- Overloading the boat or improperly distributing weight in the boat
- Equipment, hull, or machinery failure
- Busy waterways
- Poor weather conditions that cause waves or wakes in the water
- Fires caused by vapor igniting or spilled fuel
Is it Illegal to Operate a Boat Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol?
BUI Penalties in Illinois
- First offense is a class A misdemeanor under Illinois law. You could face a $2,600 fine and up to a year in jail.
- Second offense is a class 4 felony in Illinois. You could face three years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
- BUI causing serious injury: If a boat operator’s intoxication causes serious harm or permanent disability to other boat passengers, they can face a class 4 felony. Again, that’s up to three years in jail plus a $25,000 fine.
- BUI on suspended operator’s privilege: If a boat operator receives a BUI while already facing suspension from operating a boat, the penalty is a class 4 felony again.
- BUI causing death: If a boat operator’s intoxication causes the death of one or more people, the penalty in Illinois is a class 2 felony. Under this penalty, a boat operator can face up to 14 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Common Injuries From Boating Accidents
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) generally happen when a person is under water too long after a boat accident. The lack of oxygen can cause life-long damage to the brain. Additionally, passengers can suffer a TBI if they’re thrown against a boat wall or another object during a boat accident.
- Cuts and scrapes are common injuries from boat accidents due to sharp propellers or other sharp objects in a boat. If anyone falls off a boat or comes into contact with propellers while they’re spinning, they could suffer deep lacerations.
- Amputations are also common injuries if passengers come into contact with rotating propellers.
- Whiplash is a neck injury that’s common in car accidents as well. Boat passengers can suffer whiplash if a boat abruptly stops or turns.
- Broken bones can happen if passengers fall or hit objects during a boat accident.
- Drowning is generally a common cause of death due to boat accidents instead of an injury. Many boat passengers drown because of not wearing life jackets or from being too disoriented to swim after an accident.
How to Prevent Boat Accidents
- Drink responsibly: Wanting to enjoy alcoholic beverages during a sunny day on the lake is normal among adults. However, it’s crucial for the boat operator to drink responsibly considering intoxication causes so many accidents. Being in the sun all day can exacerbate the effects of alcohol in the body, so it’s important to limit your alcoholic drinks and drink plenty of water.
- Take a boating safety course: Another major cause of boating accidents is human error. To keep your passengers extra safe, consider taking a boating safety course.
- Make sure you have safety equipment on board: Not only should everyone have a life jacket available in case of emergencies, but your boat should have a first-aid kit, boat lights, an anchor, and a fire extinguisher as well.
- Monitor weather and water conditions: If bad weather is moving in, you should naturally expect poor water conditions too. Stormy and windy weather causes choppy waters which can be dangerous for boaters.
- Don’t speed: As stated previously, speeding has caused numerous boating accidents in America. Boat operators should follow speed limits on the water to keep everyone safe.
- Follow navigation rules: Just like there are countless rules for driving, there are rules for boating too. Rules for both boats and cars exist to keep everyone safe and everyone should follow them carefully.
- Be vigilant: Lastly, it’s crucial for all boat operators to watch what they’re doing and where they’re going. Similar to driving, you can hit other boats or objects if you’re not paying attention to the “road.”
When Are You Required to Report a Boating Accident?
- Date of accident
- Location of accident
- Time of accident
- Watercraft operator’s name, phone number, and address
- Watercraft’s identification number, if any
- Names of all other occupants on the watercraft or otherwise involved in the accident
What Type of Report Should I File If There’s a Boating Accident in Illinois?
Statute of Limitations for Boating Accidents in Illinois
How Can a Boat Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Compensation for a Boating Accident
- All medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical disabilities or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Mental disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- Loss of companionship