CHICAGO BOAT ACCIDENT LAWYER

PRACTICE AREAS

Legal Representation for Boat Accident Victims in Chicago

Boating accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, but the injuries one might receive from them can last a lifetime. We know how overwhelming the aftermath of any type of accident can be. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages lead to serious financial stress and concerns about the future. Having the professional legal help of our attorneys at Curcio Law Offices can bring you the comfort of knowing you will not be taken advantage of by insurance companies and their lowball settlement offers. If you or a loved one experienced injuries from a boating accident, retaining the services of our experienced attorneys is a crucial part of getting the compensation you deserve.

Just as there are numerous ways for a vehicle accident to occur, there are plenty of ways that a boating accident might. Some accidents are just that - accidents. Other times, someone else’s negligence is to blame. Plenty of accidents occur because of negligent behavior, whether it be from passengers, other boaters, or the captain of the vessel themselves. Some examples of negligent boating behavior include: 

  • Not paying attention to other watercraft in the vicinity
  • Passengers acting recklessly
    • Standing while the boat is in motion, sitting in dangerous spots, distracting the driver, etc.
  • Attempting tricks
    • Jumping wakes, doing “doughnuts” 
  • Trying to make waves or splash other boats
  • Overloading the boat with too much cargo or too many passengers
  • Violating low wake regulations
  • Traveling too closely to other boats or watercraft

Other ways that a captain may act negligently is if they travel at excessive speeds while on the water. There are typically no laws regarding boat speeds, but operators of any type of vessel should maintain a speed that is safe for their specific watercraft. We are all aware of the dangers of speeding in other types of vehicles. Excessive speeds can result in a loss of control and the inability to stop quickly if needed. Just as the dangers of speeding applies to cars, the same goes for boats.

Some boating accidents occur due to inexperienced boaters operating a boat. There is a reason people are required to have a boating license before getting behind the wheel. Only those with proper knowledge, experience, and certification should be in control of a boat.  

Bad weather and water conditions can also contribute to a boating accident. If you can avoid going out on the water while there are high winds, rain, and lightning, you should. Bad weather can make for extremely choppy waters, which can be dangerous for the vessel and all those aboard it. 

One of the more common reasons for boating accidents is alcohol or drug use. It is against the law for someone to operate a boat while intoxicated or impaired by drugs. You may receive a boating under the influence charge (BUI) if you are found to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher or have a concentration of 5 or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. 

According to Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources, you must report a boating accident if it resulted in a fatality, a missing person, injury to a person that requires more than simple first aid, complete loss of the vessel, or total property damage of $2,000 or more. 

In the case that your accident meets any of this criteria, you must report your accident to both the state and your local police department. The latter should be done at the police or sheriff’s station nearest to where the accident occurred. 

Within your report, you must include following information:

  • 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

Remember that any report you make may NOT be used against you, either directly or indirectly, as a basis for prosecution.

In addition to reporting the accident to your local law enforcement agency, the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act of 1959 requires that all boating accidents be reported to the Department of Natural Resources, regardless of damage or injuries. The DNR provides a Boating Accident Form that can be filled out to report an accident while recreational boating. Once you complete the form and provide a full description of the accident, you can either send the file virtually to dnr.boataccidents@illinois.gov or print it out and mail a physical copy to the address below:

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Office of Law Enforcement

Attention: Boat Accident

One Natural Resources Way

Springfield, IL 62702

The state of Illinois asks that you report your boating accident to local law enforcement as soon as possible after the collision. In no case should your report come more than one hour after the accident unless you were hospitalized or incapacitated during that time. In the case that you were, the report should come no later than an hour after you leave the hospital or regain mental and physical capacity. 

The DNR has a little more leeway when it comes to reporting times. These reports ought to be filed within a period of 5 days following the incident in the case of injury, loss of the vessel, or property damage over $2,000. However, if a fatality occurred as a result of the accident, it should be filed with the DNR no later than 48 hours following the incident.

Having a good boating accident attorney can be crucial in your personal injury case. Dealing with insurance companies on your own can be challenging, as they tend to try to maneuver their way out of compensating you. They may try to pay you less than you deserve or deny your claim altogether. Having someone who is familiar with these tactics and knows how to negotiate from a legal standpoint can make all the difference when it comes to collecting damages. 

In addition to dealing with insurance companies, a boating accident attorney can also assist in determining the facts of your case and gathering evidence to support those facts. That way, if your case requires a trial, your lawyer can present this evidence to the court and defend you against any alternate claims.

Equipping yourself with a skilled legal team such as the attorneys at Curcio Law Offices can help ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your specific case.

Experienced Chicago Boat Accident Lawyers

If you are injured due to a boating collision, accident, or other casualty involving a vessel, don’t wait. As a top Chicago personal injury firm, Curcio Law Offices handles any cases involving boat accidents. Like with all personal injury lawsuits, your time to file a claim is limited, so schedule a consultation with us as soon as possible! From there, we can give you a better idea of the timeline, the investigation, and whether or not your best course would be to settle or go to trial. Call our boat accident lawyers today at 312-321-1111 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.