There are many recreational boating opportunities all across Illinois, like going on a boating trip on Lake Michigan or one of the 2,900 bodies of water in the state. However, when people act carelessly while boating, they can cause recreational boat accidents.
The responsibilities of being a boat operator include taking reasonable safety precautions and operating the boat safely in navigable water. Boat drivers also have a duty of care to keep everyone on their boat safe. Boat owners are responsible for maintaining their boats to prevent machinery failure.
Federal, state, and local boating laws regarding boating under the influence (BUI), life jacket laws, and navigation rules apply to boat operators.
It’s essential to contact qualified boating accident lawyers to learn your legal options when involved in a boating accident. You may be able to file a personal injury claim for damages, including medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering, as an injured person in a boat accident.
Working with a personal injury attorney from Nessler & Associates removes the burden of your boating injury claim off your shoulders. Our skilled attorneys work hard on your behalf so you can focus on recovery while we fight for justice and compensation in your case.
Boating Accident Statistics
According to the United States Coast Guard, recreational boating accidents claimed 767 lives, injured 3,191 people, and caused $62.5 million in property damage around the country in 2020.
There were 36 boat accident injuries in Illinois during the same year, and boat accident fatalities were 9.7 deaths for every 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Boating accident injuries can range from broken bones to wrongful death and require medical treatment.
The personal injury attorneys at Nessler & Associates are experienced in handling boating accident injuries, including head injuries, soft tissue injuries, and wrongful death.
Boating accidents can happen while water skiing, fishing, sailing, canoeing, motorboating, and tubing. In 2020, the five most common types of boating accidents were:
- Collision with recreational vessel
- Collision with a fixed object
- Falling overboard
- The majority of boating accidents took place between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays between June, July, and August.
- Accidents involving boats in Illinois are not primarily the result of bad weather. When these accidents occur, the weather is usually clear and calm, with light winds and calm water.
- The typical recreational boaters in an Illinois boating accident incident were between 20 and 40 years old with over 100 hours of boating experience but little or no classroom training.
- Most boating accident deaths involved those with boat operator inexperience.
- Boating crashes resulted from open motorboats traveling recklessly.
Wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), such as a life vest, would have saved 15 of the 21 people who died in Illinois boating accidents in 2020.
Frequent Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents happen for many reasons every year. Our lawyers have experience handling the most frequent factors of boat accidents, including the following:
Operating the boat while under the influence
Using a boat, jet ski, wave runner, or other personal watercraft while impaired by alcohol or with a blood alcohol content above .08 is illegal in Illinois. The courts can hold the responsible party under the influence of alcohol or drugs liable for damages.
Boat operators, including the boat owner, acting under the influence of alcohol or drugs and who cause an accident and injuries may be liable for punitive damages, which have no cap in Illinois.
Our skilled boat accident attorneys can help gather the evidence needed to obtain the best results in your case when alcohol or drugs are involved.
Speeding and reckless boating
Reckless operation of a boat and excessive speed are other common causes of accidents resulting in severe injury or death. Higher boat speeds can cause more intense crashes that would otherwise be minor if the operator was using reasonable speed.
When a boat travels at an unsafe speed over the posted speed limits, they are less able to respond to hazards, resulting in dangerous collisions and roll-overs. If the operator’s negligence causes your injury, our team of boat accident lawyers will fight on your behalf for an insurance settlement or jury award at trial.
Inexperience or inattention of the boat operator
People born after January 1, 1998, may operate a watercraft that produces 10 horsepower only if they possess a boating safety certificate. The state of Illinois recommends that people take the Illinois boating safety education course to prevent accidents and loss of life on the water, but the class isn’t required for certification.
It’s not uncommon for new boating operators to use a boat with little training. As a result of boat operator inattention, a boating incident on an open body of water can easily turn into a devastating boating accident. If a boat driver is inexperienced, hazardous waters can be challenging to navigate, resulting in a serious injury.
At Nessler & Associates, we help those suffering from catastrophic injuries receive the compensation they deserve. Our law firm recently helped a client reach a settlement worth over $15 million for a personal injury claim. To ensure you receive fair compensation, our experienced legal team can assess all factors contributing to your case, including injury severity and the long-term impact on your quality of life.
Overly congested waterways leading to collisions
If the boat operator is distracted by speaking with a boat passenger or adjusting their boat’s controls, they may not pay attention to oncoming boat traffic.
It is easy for a fatal injury to happen when many distracted boat operators are on hazardous or crowded waterways. Our experienced boat accident attorneys can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and hold the party responsible accountable in a boat accident claim.
Contact a Boat Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, Nessler & Associates can help. We use our 35 years of experience to aggressively handle your injury claim. If you receive a low settlement offer for your claim for damages, we will help you pursue a boating lawsuit.
Our boat accident lawyers can assist you in recovering financial compensation for damages caused by a boat accident. Call us today at 800-727-8010 for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced boat accident injury attorney. Our law firm operates on a contingency fee, so you don’t owe us anything unless we get a settlement or judgment in your case.