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 Us
- 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.
Boating Accident Statistics
There are over 400,000 recreational boats registered in Illinois, which is the tenth highest registration number of all 50 states. With that many boats and boaters, accidents and injuries are bound to happen. Statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) show that in 2015, there were 74 accidents, resulting in 49 injuries and 14 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 2019, alcohol and drug use contributed to 282 accidents in the United States.
According to the United States Coast Guard, additional causes of boating accidents included the following.
- Operator inattention, which contributed to 546 accidents
- Improper lookout, which was responsible for 506 accidents
- Operator inexperience and improper training, contributing to 458 accidents
- Excessive speeding, responsible for 358 accidents
- Machinery failure and defective parts, which caused 274 accidents
- Navigation rules violations, responsible for 235 accidents
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.
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.
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.
Operators of boats, 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 boating 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.
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.