Did you know that Chicago is home to some truly breathtaking waterfronts? A myriad of gorgeous waterfronts dots the entire state, from Lake Michigan to other iconic rivers and lakes. Boating and watercraft like jetskis are popular pastimes, especially during hot summer days. Going out onto the water with your family is an excellent way to spend some time together or celebrate memorable occasions, and boating a beautiful lake can lead to some amazing memories. Don’t forget about tubing and swimming!
Because of the popularity of water activities, you can find all sorts of marinas and boathouses scattered through Chicago and the surrounding areas. From commercial craft to personal, the waters are often dotted with boats of all sizes. Some boat owners prefer a more cozy, cottage-core style, while others aim for massive marvels or modern architecture to protect their watercraft.
But there is more to safety out on the water than a protective roof. Boating and other watercraft activities come with their fair share of safety risks, and it’s important to know what to do in case of an accident on the water or impacting your boathouse.
It’s important to follow all maritime laws as well as safety practices for your family. Always make your passengers wear life vests, and make sure the boat operator is alert and familiar with the area. Inexperienced drivers should have someone more experienced with them, and both parties need to be sober and aware of water and weather conditions.
Boating and watercraft accidents can lead to life-changing injuries, mental trauma, and even death. You need to take every precaution to protect your family.
Unfortunately, you won’t be the only people out on the water.
There are many common factors that can lead to accidents and collisions out on the water, from mechanical failures to people being too free with pouring alcohol while out on the water. Many boating accidents are caused by operators not paying proper attention, but they are hardly the only cause.
Accidents can happen when someone is speeding, when the weather turns violent, if the water is too shallow where you navigate, or if something breaks.
Injuries from a boating accident can be physical or psychological. You may experience broken bones, whiplash, or cuts and bruises. Some passengers may be thrown into the water, leaving them at risk of drowning. Burns, spinal cord injuries, and more can all result from a boat crash. You may even suffer lifelong injuries like a traumatic brain injury or amputation.
Many crash survivors may suffer from PTSD as a result or have a newfound fear of water.
First and foremost, turn off your boat. If anyone has fallen into the water, find someone who isn’t injured to go in after them or toss them a life preserver if they are conscious and mobile. Your priority is to account for all passengers and any injuries. Then, call emergency services.
If the other party tries to leave, get pictures of their watercraft and any faces you can catch. Once authorities arrive, they’ll help get everyone to shore and save before getting your side of events. If you show them the photos, they can track down the other watercraft.
If the other party stays, you should exchange information like insurance and boating licenses. As tempting as it may be, don’t apologize— many courts consider an apology to be the same as admitting fault, which could cost you. If any other boats or watercraft parties are around, see if they’re willing to give witness statements and contact information.
Once the authorities are on the scene and you’ve seen to everyone’s safety, call your insurance and let them know about the accident. They’ll walk you through anything they need for the claim, including pictures, medical records from injuries, and so on. Your next step should be contacting a local personal injury lawyer.
If you and your family are involved in a watercraft accident in Chicago, it’s important to seek legal aid. You want to ensure you aren’t held liable for someone else’s mistake, and you also want to ensure you can cover your family’s resulting medical expenses— not to mention repairing your boat or dock.
An experienced boat accident lawyer will help you calculate damages and seek a fair settlement through insurance and potentially the at-fault party. They will represent you in negotiations, ensure you fill out any forms on time, and protect your legal rights after the accident.
If your day out was ruined by a boating crash, don’t hesitate to contact Chicago’s expert lawyers for help. Your family deserves justice for what happened, and you may find yourself with mounting medical expenses. Chicago lawyers can help you receive fair compensation for what happened and help you focus on your family during this trying time. If the accident has already happened and you haven’t found legal help, reach out to a law firm for a free consultation and to discuss how much time you have to file a claim.
Your family deserves justice. You deserve to get back to your normal life. Chicago watercraft accident lawyers can help.