Sailboats, motorboats, houseboats, cabin cruisers, and other vessels provide endless hours of fun on the water. Sadly, some water excursions go from fun to frightening in the blink of an eye due to an accident. If you sustained injuries due to an accident on the water, your best course of action is to call a Joliet boat accident lawyer. You could be entitled to damages that compensate for the losses you suffered as a result of others’ negligence.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney who has worked on boating accident cases in the past could increase your chances for success, especially if you followed all boating rules and regulations in the lead-up to the crash. A lawyer’s job is to file all paperwork within the designated timeframe and represent you from the beginning to the end of your case.
Boat Owner Obligations in Illinois
For a boat owner to legally operate a watercraft in Illinois, they must have the proper licensing and certifications. They must also ensure all passengers wear functional floatation devices and have all required safety equipment on board, including life vests and foghorns. Boat owners and operators must follow all safety regulations and speed limits, use the proper lights while traveling at night, and refrain from entering no-boat zones.
Other regulations include slowing down in no-wake zones, keeping Boater Education Cards on board, and never operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Age plays a role in boat operation as well, as persons born on or before January 1st, 1998 must have valid Illinois Boating Safety Certificates before operating one.
If an accident does take place, the state requires involved parties to complete the Boating Accident Reporting form that details the incident. The report provides the local law enforcement agency or the Illinois Conservation Police with information necessary to conduct an investigation.
Individuals who violate these rules for any reason and contribute to others’ injuries face legal claims from the injured parties and their Joliet boat collision lawyer.
Common Reasons for Boating Accidents
Watercraft injuries occur for various reasons that allow legal professionals to take action on the plaintiff’s behalf. Some of the most common reasons for these accidents include:
- Running aground
- Colliding with another vessel
- Poor weather conditions
- Operator intoxication
- Crashing into fixed objects
- Distracted operation
Boating accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, including lacerations, brain injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, and organ damage. Passengers can also drown from boater negligence or recklessness.
What is Some Evidence Lawyers Look For?
A local boat accident attorney could request passenger testimonies, reports from local authorities, medical records detailing the injuries, boat owner records, and chemical tests performed on the operator, if applicable. They also typically need physical evidence from the boat, such as a broken hull, to create cases against the offending parties. Photos and videos are also helpful when presenting a case.
Schedule a Consultation with a Joliet Boat Accident Lawyer
If you were injured during a watercraft outing, schedule a meeting with a legal professional. A lawyer understands the pain and trauma often associated with boating-related injuries and could fight hard on your behalf. You could receive monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages, scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and mental distress, among others.
Now is the time to take legal action. Contact us today to learn how a Joliet boat accident lawyer could help you navigate your case and secure your finances.