Boating Accident

Boating Accident Lawyer in Decatur

Boating is an activity that many Illinois residents enjoy when the weather gets warmer. While boating can be fun, it can also be dangerous. Driving a boat on the water is just like driving a car on the road, although many people do not take boating as seriously. They do not pay attention, they drive erratically and in many cases, they even drive drunk. These actions can cause serious accidents.

A boating crash is no laughing matter. Many people suffer serious injuries and even death. If you have been injured in a boating crash, seek legal help right away. A boating accident attorney in Decatur can help determine liability and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Patel Law today to schedule a free consultation.

Causes of Boating Accidents

Boating crashes can be caused by many factors, including the following:

  • Distracted driving. Just like motorists on the roadway, boat drivers can also be distracted. They may be looking at other boats, the scenery, and things inside their boat. However, they must remain alert at all times to ensure their passengers are safe. They must be aware of the weather and anticipate any hazards.
  • Alcohol use. Intoxication is one of the top causes of boating accident, just like it is for motor vehicle crashes. Not only is drinking and driving unsafe, but it is also illegal. It can come with severe penalties.
  • Excessive speed. Speeding is another issue that is common on lakes, rivers, and oceans. Many drivers think they have the right to speed simply because waterways lack the usual traffic signs. However, speed limits do still apply, and if a boat operator speeds, the vessel can crash into other boats as well as roll over.
  • Inexperience. A lack of experience can also lead to serious boating crashes. Driving a boat is not an easy task. There are laws to keep in mind, as well as basic driving skills and what to do in an emergency.
  • Machinery failure. Boaters must maintain their boat and ensure it is in proper condition. They should check the major parts of the part before every boating trip. Any failures in the motor, hull or steering mechanism could cause issues while driving and possibly lead to a crash.
  • Hazardous waters. Hazardous waters are always a possibility when boating. This is especially true in the ocean, when the tide can suddenly change and cause huge waves to form. These waves can make it hard to operate the boat. If the waves are large enough, they can cause the boat to capsize. This can cause injuries and even death to anyone on board.

BUI Penalties

One of the main causes of boating accident is intoxication. When driving on land, it is called driving under the influence (DUI). When on the water, it is called boating under the influence (BUI).

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is more dangerous on water than on land. As such, many states have laws penalizing BUIs. A person operating any type of boat, whether it be a sailboat, fishing boat, personal watercraft, or yacht can be charged with BUI.

In Illinois, a person can be charged with a BUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at 0.08 or above. The consequences of a BUI in Illinois depend on the offense, but generally involve jail time and fines. The penalties include the following:

  • First offense. This is a Class A misdemeanor that can result in 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,600.
  • Second offense. This is a Class 4 felony, which carries a punishment of $25,000 in fines and three years in prison. Any BUI causing serious injury is also a Class 4 felony.
  • BUI involving death. When a person convicted of a BUI causes an accident that results in death, the crime is charged as a Class 2 felony. A person can face $25,000 in fines and three to 14 years in prison.

Contact a Boating Accident Attorney in Illinois

Many people enjoy boating on Illinois’ lakes. While this can be a fun activity, accidents can happen on boats. While they do not happen quite as often as car crashes, they can be deadly nonetheless.

The experienced lawyers at Patel Law understand the dangers that boaters can face. If you were injured in a boat crash caused by someone else’s negligence, discuss your case with us. We will assess your case and see if we can help you obtain compensation. Contact a boat accident attorney in Decatur today by calling (217) 384-1111 or filling out the online form.