Countless numbers of boaters take advantage of Lake Michigan, Des Plaines River, Chicago River, Fox River, Illinois River, Chain O’Lakes and the many small streams throughout the Chicago area. Unfortunately, boating accidents occur too often on these waterways.
Sometimes, these accidents can’t be helped. Some occur because of adverse weather conditions; other times, however, a boating accident may be caused by the driver’s negligence or some defect in the boat or its equipment.
If you were involved in a boating accident that was caused by negligence or a boat defect, you may be entitled to compensation. The Chicago boating accident lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can help. With offices conveniently located in Chicago and Waukegan, we have helped numerous boat crash victims throughout the state.
In fact, our firm recently obtained a $1 million boating collision settlement on behalf of a client who became trapped under a capsized boat. While every case is different, we have the expertise and knowledge about boat wrecks to help you win the largest amount of compensation possible given your situation.
To schedule a free consultation, call our Chicago boating accident attorneys today at 312-372-1227 or use our online form.
Yes, in certain cases a restaurant and/or bar may be held responsible. The Dram Shop Act in Illinois, 235 ILCS 5/6-21 creates a cause of action against owners of businesses that sell liquor if the physical injury was caused by an intoxicated person. The injured party must prove that the intoxication was caused by consumption of liquor provided by the restaurant and/or bar and that the injury, property damage, or loss of means of support or loss of society (in wrongful death cases) was caused by the act of an intoxicated person. It is also important to note that the amount that can be recovered from a restaurant or bar in a Dram Shop Action is statutorily capped in the State of Illinois. The Dram Shop liability limits for individuals injured or killed after January 20, 2014 shall not exceed $65,017.86 for each person incurring damages. The cause of action for loss of means of support or loss of society resulting from the death or injury to any person on or after January 20, 2014, shall not exceed $79,466.27.
Although Illinois boaters do not have to purchase boat insurance in order to operate their boat, often times a responsible boater does have adequate boating insurance. After an accident, it is important for all parties to exchange insurance information. In addition to exchanging insurance information, if you are involved in an accident, make sure to get the name and contact information of the boat owner and a copy of their registration and title for the boat.
Similar to automobile accidents, taking photographs after an accident is important. First, the photographs will serve as evidence of the property damage sustained, which can be claimed as an element of damage under Illinois law. You can seek reimbursement for your boat’s damages. Second, in many instances, the path of travel, speed, and direction of the boats at the time of the accident can be determined by looking at the physical damage the boats sustained in the accident. In civil litigation cases, we highly recommend that you take photographs of your boat’s damage as soon as possible after the accident.
According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 65 boat crashes occurred in Chicago in 2013. These boat wrecks led to 50 injuries and 14 fatalities. Nationally, there were 4,062 accidents in 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard reports. These accidents caused 2,620 injuries and 560 fatalities – and an estimated $39 million in property damage.
The majority of Illinois boating accident deaths result from drowning, and 12 of the 14 fatalities were not wearing a life jacket. Also, statistics show that fatal boat crashes more likely occur when boaters lack proper safety instruction. For instance, the Coast Guard indicates that only 13 percent of the fatalities in 2013 occurred on boats where the boat operator had received safety instruction from a course provider offering a course meeting the U.S. Coast Guard recognized national standards.
The U.S. Coast Guard data shows a clear link between deaths and a lack of boating safety knowledge. But there are many causes of boating accidents. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, common causes of boating crashes include:
In some cases, a combination of these factors may contribute to an accident that injures or harms someone.
Recreational boaters in Illinois love the time they spend on the water. In fact, there were more than 319,500 boats registered in Illinois in 2011, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
IDNR offers free boating safety courses for Illinois residents, but the state does not require them. That’s unfortunate. The IDNR says that in Fiscal Year 2011 (October 2012 through September 2011) 20 out of 21 reported boating accident fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received – or it was unknown whether the operator had received – boating safety education.
The Recreational Boating Report produced by IDNR contains a wealth of information about recreational boating, boating safety and boating accidents in our state. The selected facts and figures below for Fiscal Year 2011 help to illustrate how easily careless and reckless behavior can bring a nice day on a boat to a tragic end.
Human error, improper boat maintenance or boat defects are the underlying cause of most boating accidents. If any of these factors played a role in an accident that injured you or caused the death of a loved one, you may be able to seek legal relief. Possible scenarios include:
The Chicago boating accident lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can help. We can determine if one or more potential defendants exists in a boating accident case. If so, you may be able to collect money for pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, emotional distress and other damages. If the boating crash resulted in a death, the victim’s family members may pursue a wrongful death claim.
When you make a claim against a boat operator or one responsible for boat maintenance, you will need to prove negligence to receive compensation. Negligence can typically be proven in one of two ways:
Our Chicago boating accident attorneys can help you to determine which legal theory or theories are best to make your claim after a boat wreck.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorneys have obtained substantial recoveries on behalf of clients. We have recovered verdicts in excess of $1 million in more than 180 cases and collected a total of more than $630 million in damages for our clients. We can put our skill and experience to work for you in your boating accident case. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 312-372-1227 or use our online form.