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Boating Accidents

Illinois Boating Accident Attorneys

Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas

In addition to a 63-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, Illinois is home to more than 150 lakes and more than 87,000 miles of river and stream. Boating opportunities abound, from renting pontoon boats for an afternoon on our own local lake and motorboating or canoeing along the Fox River to deep sea charters.

Unfortunately, a small number of boaters are injured and a handful killed on Illinois waters each year. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, or have lost a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation.

Common Illinois Boating Accidents

The boats and other watercraft most commonly involved in accidents in Illinois are:

  • Motorboats
  • JetSkis
  • Pontoons

Although many different types of accidents occur, the most common type of injury-causing boating accident is a collision between boats. Surprisingly, most of these accidents occur on clear days when the water is calm.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the most common causes of boating accident injuries include:

  • Inexperienced operators
  • Careless operators
  • Alcohol impairment

Illinois requires anyone operating a watercraft with a 10 horsepower or greater motor to complete a safety course and receive a boating safety certification. This course can be completed online, and is open to anyone over the age of 11. However, not all boaters comply with this requirement, and not all certified operators follow the rules.

Boating Accident Injuries

Of course, a wide range of injuries are possible in a boating accident, and the seriousness of the injuries will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • The sturdiness of the vessel
  • The depth of the water at the crash site
  • Where on the boat the injured party was seated or standing
  • The speed at which the boat was traveling
  • The speed at which the other boat in a collision was traveling
  • The nature of the accident
  • Whether the injured party was wearing a life jacket

However, the most common injuries sustained in Illinois boating accidents are:

  • Lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries

Seek Medical Attention after a Boat Accident

When you’ve been in a boating accident, you may not immediately recognize the extent of your injuries. For example, if you’re under the influence of alcohol or are experiencing shock after the accident, you may not be fully away of pain or limitation of motion. In some cases, it simply takes time for the severity of an injury to become obvious. For instance, it’s common to experience temporary neck or back pain after a jarring accident, but it may be difficult to tell whether the pain is short-term or signals a more serious injury. The same is true of head injuries. A headache may be the result of a slight bump, the jarring motion, or even stress. However, it may also signal a concussion, or worse.

Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the injury will help ensure that you receive the right treatment, minimizing the chance of longer-term damage.

Pursuing Damages in a Boating Accident Case

In most cases, you have two years to file a lawsuit for damages sustained in a boating accident. However, it is in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer experienced in boating accident cases as soon as possible.

Proving liability in a boating accident case may require analysis by one or more expert witnesses, and the physical evidence necessary to prove your case may be lost or destroyed as time passes. It may also be more difficult to contact witnesses at a later date, and memories may be less clear.

Types of Damages Awarded in Boating Accident Cases

While no attorney can predict the exact amount of compensation you will receive after being injured in a boating accident, certain types of damages are typically awarded. These include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damage (such as destruction of your boat)
  • Pain and suffering

Your attorney will assess the specifics of your accident and give you a clearer idea of the type of damages that may be available in your case.

Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer Today

The sooner you put your claim in the hands of an experienced boating accident attorney, the sooner you’ll be able to relax and focus on your recovery. It’s easy to get started—just schedule a free consultation right now.