Among the main reasons that people die or are injured in boating accidents are excessive speed, no use of life jackets, machinery failure, and alcohol use. Some pleasure boat accidents occur because a vessel hits a wave, another boat's wake, or a submerged object. Injuries also may occur on cruise ships, as our Chicago boat accident lawyers are aware. For example, they may experience machinery failure, leaving passengers stranded without power or a septic system. Cruise ships have also been the sites of gastrointestinal virus outbreaks, which can result in numerous passengers becoming sick. If you have been involved in a transportation accident involving a boat, you should consult the Chicago attorneys at Moll Law Group for knowledgeable guidance.Taking Legal Action after a Boat Accident
Whether you are hurt in a sailboat, motorboat, or cruise ship, in cases governed by state laws you will need to prove negligence. This generally requires you to establish the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages.
In cases involving collisions between two pleasure boats, the operator of the boat may have a claim against the other operator. However, in some two-boat collisions, both the operators are partially to blame. State laws govern whether an operator may recover damages from an at-fault person, even though he or she is partially at fault for his or her own injuries. Illinois follows a doctrine of modified comparative negligence, in which an accident victim can recover damages only if he or she is 50 percent or less at fault for the injuries. However, the recovery is reduced by an amount equal to the victim's percentage of fault. A boat accident lawyer in Chicago can help you fight back against allegations of comparative negligence.
Another common situation leading to boat accidents occurs when a boat hits the wake of another boat or a submerged object. When the former happens, the water can hit the boat with a force that knocks passengers down or off the boat. Liability can be extremely difficult to determine.
The operators of boats are required to keep their eyes trained for potential hazards, but numerous factors will affect a liability determination, including the boat's speed, visibility, traffic, any warnings given by the operator, and the size of the wake or object. Depending on the rules governing the specific body of water, the boat operator who created the wake may be negligent. In no-wake zones, any wake is a violation of the safety rules, and an operator who creates a wake is considered negligent. Similarly, if the area is crowded, operators are not supposed to create large wakes.
Safety laws and regulations generally require that there be safety equipment on board, like life jackets and navigational lights. If, for example, a cruise ship neglects to keep a sufficient number of these on board, it may be difficult to rescue passengers in the event of an accident. This can result in injuries or death. A cruise ship that fails to keep required safety equipment on board likely will be liable for any harm that results.Contact a Chicago Attorney for Your Boat Accident Claim
The injury attorneys at Moll Law Group represent Chicago residents and others in pursuing compensatory damages. Our lawyers also assist accident victims in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we have been involved. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to arrange a free consultation with a Chicago boat accident attorney.