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Chicago Boating Accident Attorney

Many Chicago residents enjoy recreational boating and spending days on the lake with family and friends whether on a sailboat, a jet ski, a motorized boat, or other types of watercraft. Unfortunately, tragic accidents can occur aboard these vessels, leading to severe injuries and fatalities. Many boating accidents are preventable—and if you are injured due to someone else’s recklessness, you deserve compensation. Call us today to speak to one of our Chicago boating accident lawyers at (312) 586-1700.

At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, we represent injured Chicago residents in their boating accident lawsuits. With decades of experience, you can trust our attorneys to fight tenaciously for your right to recovery.

Why Choose Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC

  • Our lawyers have helped hundreds of clients recover the compensation they deserve, securing over $400 million in settlements and jury verdicts.
  • Our firm has significant experience representing clients in all types of personal injury claims, including boating accidents. We will guide you through each stage of the process.
  • We are dedicated to securing maximum compensation for our clients. We will not hesitate to take your boating accident lawsuit to trial if necessary.

Meet Your Attorneys

Founded by four highly accomplished attorneys, Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, is a prestigious law firm in Chicago. Our expertise in personal injury law stems from years of dedicated service, advocating for victims of negligence. With decades of combined experience, we specialize in cases involving motor vehicle accidents, boating and watercraft accidents, personal injury, and more.

“TPMB have been some of the best lawyers handling my cases”

Yosafe Gholar | Google Review

Potential Damages for Chicago Boating Accident Victims

If you are in a boat or jet ski accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could hold him or her accountable for your losses. Under Illinois law, you have the right to recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages due to the accident. Economic damages refer to financial losses, while non-economic damages involve physical and emotional pain and suffering.

damages in boating and jet ski accident claims

Common damages in boating accident claims include the following.

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Disability accommodations to your home or vehicle
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Property repairs and replacements
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of care, companionship, or consortium
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Chronic pain
  • Disability and disfigurement

If you are unsure what damages you qualify for, the attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC can help. Our lawyers will review your case, collect relevant evidence, and calculate an accurate estimate of your losses.

Liability Considerations for Chicago Boating Accidents

Boating accidents not only can cause damage to watercraft but also can result in the drowning of innocent people. Boating is a great way to enjoy the rivers and lakes of Illinois and Wisconsin, but far too often tragedy results because of the carelessness of a watercraft operator. Be ready to contact the attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, should tragedy strike.

Boat owners and operators, like automobile and truck drivers, have a legal obligation to operate watercraft in a safe manner. The major causes of boat accidents are operator inattention, careless/reckless operation, operator inexperience, operating at an unsafe speed, and failure to have a proper lookout.

One important issue in determining liability in a boat accident is whether or not the claim would be subject to admiralty jurisdiction. This issue is determined by whether the body of water upon where the accident occurred constitutes navigable water.

Navigable water, for purposes of admiralty jurisdiction, applies when the water, by itself or uniting with other waters, provides a continued highway over which commerce is or may be carried on with other states or foreign countries in the customary mode in which commerce is conducted by water. If the boat involved carries passengers for hire, it is considered a “common carrier” and is, therefore, subject to liability if they do not exercise the highest degree of care.

Further, the operator of a watercraft is liable if they fail to observe and operate the watercraft using ordinary care. Additionally, an operator operating a boat or other watercraft under the influence of alcohol could be liable with punitive damages for recklessness. The owner of any watercraft or boat may be liable if they knowingly permit watercraft to be operated by someone who they reasonably know is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination therefore.

The operator of a boat or watercraft must be knowledgeable in the use of the watercraft and failure to be sufficiently knowledgeable in this operation could make the operator and/or owner liable for someone who is injured as a result of the failure to understand the properties of operating the boat or watercraft. If the failure results in a boating collision resulting in injury or death, the operator and/or owner may be liable.

Chicago law firm Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC is currently handling boating injury cases and can help you know your rights and recover the compensation you are entitled to.

Boat Accidents Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do immediately following a boat accident?

Immediately after a boat accident, ensure the safety of all passengers by checking for injuries and providing first aid if necessary. If the boat or watercraft is in a safe condition, move it away from busy waterways to avoid further collisions.

Call emergency services for medical help and law enforcement as needed. Exchange contact information and vessel details with any other parties involved. Take photos of the accident scene, the damages, and any visible injuries for documentation.

Finally, avoid discussing fault at the scene and contact a boat accident lawyer to protect your rights.

What are the most common causes of boat accidents?

The most common causes of boat accidents include operator inattention and inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed. Environmental factors such as bad weather, hazardous waters, and navigation obstacles also contribute to accidents. Alcohol use while operating a boat significantly increases the risk of accidents, making it a leading factor in fatal boat incidents.

How can I prove negligence in a boat accident case?

Proving negligence in a boat accident case involves showing that the other party had a duty to operate their vessel safely, breached that duty through careless actions, and directly caused your injuries as a result. Gather evidence such as witness statements, expert testimony, accident reports, and photos or videos of the scene. Documentation of the operator’s condition, such as blood alcohol content (BAC) tests, can also support your claim.

An experienced boat accident lawyer can help collect and compile this evidence effectively.

What compensation am I entitled to if I’ve been injured in a boat accident?

If you’ve been injured in a boat accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to various types of compensation. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In cases of severe injuries, compensation may also cover long-term care costs, rehabilitation, and any necessary modifications to your home. An attorney can provide a more specific breakdown based on the details of your case.

Should I report a boat accident to the authorities?

Yes, you should report a boat accident to the authorities. In many regions, you are legally required to report a boating accident if it results in injury, death, significant property damage, or the complete loss of a vessel.

Reporting the accident not only complies with legal requirements but also ensures an official record of the event, which is crucial for insurance claims and potential legal actions. Contact local maritime or boating authorities immediately following the accident to file a report.

Common Boating Accident Injuries

Any accident on the water can lead to serious, sometimes fatal injuries. Some of the most common injuries in boating accidents include the following.

  • Brain damage: Drowning can lead to a dangerous oxygen depletion. Without a reliable stream of oxygen, you can sustain permanent brain damage that leads to a loss of function. These injuries require long-term care and could be fatal.
  • Cuts and lacerations: Boats rely on propellers, which are sharp and dangerous. During a boating accident, you could come into contact with these propellers, leading to deep cuts and blood loss. In some cases, the propeller may amputate one of your limbs.
  • Broken bones: Boating accidents generate a significant amount of force, which can lead to broken bones and fractures. Damage to the legs, hands, feet, arms, hips, and ribs may occur during a collision with another vessel or while falling into the water.
  • Burn injuries: In some cases, you may come into contact with fire or sustain an electric shock during a boating accident. As a result, you can develop painful burn injuries that can lead to permanent disfigurement and scarring.

Proving Negligence in Chicago Boating Accident Cases

When pursuing a claim against a boat operator or someone responsible for boat maintenance, establishing negligence is crucial to securing compensation. There are generally two ways to prove negligence:

  1. Negligence Per Se – This approach applies if the boat operator has breached Illinois safety regulations designed to protect boaters. In such instances, negligence is presumed, and the injured party does not need to prove negligence independently. For example, according to Illinois boating laws, it is illegal to exceed a speed of 5 mph in a “No Wake” zone. If a boater exceeds this speed limit in such a zone and causes an accident, they are automatically considered negligent under the law.
  2. Common Law Negligence – Alternatively, you can pursue a common law negligence claim. This method requires demonstrating that the boat operator or maintenance personnel acted with less care than a reasonably prudent person would have under similar circumstances.

Our team of Chicago boating accident lawyers is ready to help you determine the most appropriate legal strategy to pursue in the aftermath of a boating accident.

Boating Accident Statistics

The number of recreational boats registered in Illinois has been on a decline in the last few years, in 2022 there were 187,429 registered boats in the state. However, even with the number of boats going down, with that many boats and boaters, accidents and injuries are bound to happen. The latest released statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) show that in 2022, there were 52 accidents, resulting in 40 injuries and 6 fatalities. The five year average is 84 accidents, 58 injuries and 18 fatalities.

Many of these boating accidents sadly could have been avoided through responsible boating. Many can be attributed to being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while operating a boat. In 2022, alcohol and drug use contributed to 215 boating and watercraft accidents in the United States.

According to the latest data released by the United States Coast Guard for the year 2022, additional causes of boating accidents included the following.

  • Operator inattention, which contributed to 602 accidents
  • Operator inexperience and improper training, contributing to 464 accidents
  • Improper lookout, which was responsible for 387 accidents
  • Excessive speeding, responsible for 320 accidents
  • Machinery failure and defective parts, which caused 289 accidents
  • Navigation rules violations, responsible for 205 accidents

Different Types of Watercraft Involved in an Accident

Accidents involving a watercraft that result in injuries may be eligible for compensation, no matter the type or size of the vessel. Our team has successfully handled cases involving a wide range of marine vessels, including:

  • Sailboats
  • Yachts
  • Motorboats
  • Personal watercraft such as Jet Skis and Wave Runners
  • Kayaks and canoes
  • Paddleboards
  • Sightseeing cruise vessels
  • Fishing boats

    Call A Chicago Boating Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

    If you or someone you know needs help with a boating, jet ski, or other watercraft accident, it will cost you nothing to discuss your injury case with an attorney. Contact us anytime.

    Read our article on the Boating Laws in Illinois.