From Lake Michigan to the Chicago River, Chain O’Lakes, and much more, water-based recreation and business are a constant in the area. However, with the high watercraft traffic comes the risk of serious accidents. If you were injured in a watercraft accident as a result of another party’s negligence, a knowledgeable injury attorney could help you file a claim for damages.
A Chicago boat accident lawyer could explain your options and give you the best possible chance to get the financial recovery you may be entitled to.
Watercraft Commonly Involved in Accidents
An individual’s claim is not limited to the type of boat involved in the accident, so any watercraft may qualify for the filing of a personal injury claim. Examples of watercraft that are commonly involved in a maritime accident include, but are not limited to:
- Pontoon or houseboats
- Speed boats
- Jet skis
- Paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes
- Commercial boats
- Cruise boats
These forms of water transportation and many more could be involved in an accident that causes a boater injury. Regardless of the type of boat in an injured person’s accident case, a seasoned attorney in Chicago could assist them in filing a claim and demanding the responsible party be held accountable.
Causes of Boat Accidents in Chicago
Investigating the cause of a boat accident is a critical part of proving the case against the defendant. It is important to be able to not only identify the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries but prove how those injuries were because of the defendant’s actions. Absent this proof, there is no basis for a financial award. Causes of boat accidents can vary widely, but may include:
- Failing to properly observe other boaters
- Alcohol or drug usage
- Excessive speed or reckless operation
- Hull or machinery failure
- Fires on board
- Improper loading or balancing of boat cargo
- Hazardous waters and bad weather
Many of these causes can apply equally to recreational and commercial vehicles, while others may apply more commonly to one or the other.
Recreational vs. Commercial Boating Accidents
Recreational boating can be a fun way to enjoy the local waterways. Individuals in small watercraft or larger boats are numerous on these waters, and most are just out to enjoy a good time. Sadly, this also often means that operators are not as prepared as they should be to responsibly operate their boat.
Many recreational boaters are not paying attention or even become intoxicated behind the boat’s wheel. This can lead to devastating accidents.
Commercial boating includes any business that operates passenger boats, such as ferries, cruise ships, or party boats. It may also deal with boats carrying cargo or fulfilling some other business purpose.
In commercial boating accident claims, the doctrine of respondeat superior typically applies, which allows a plaintiff to file a lawsuit against not only the boat operator but the employer, as well. In these cases, the potential assets available are usually much higher. A Chicago attorney could assist an injured party in determining whether their boat crash claim could apply to multiple parties and help them vigorously pursue any potential avenues.
Request the Assistance of a Chicago Boat Accident Attorney
Boat accidents that cause you harm need to be investigated, vetted, and pursued. Never assume your case will lose without speaking to a qualified local attorney, as you may be owed substantial money damages. To get started on fighting for your claim, contact a Chicago boat accident lawyer today.