Urbana Boating Accident Attorneys

Urbana Boating Accident Attorneys

There are more than 4,000 boating accidents in the U.S. year, according to official reports compiled by the Coast Guard. In Illinois alone, there were 67 boating accidents in 2018, which resulted in 67 fatalities and hundreds more injuries. While boating overall remains a safe and fun recreational activity, all it takes is one negligent operator to cause a potentially fatal accident.

The Urbana boating accident attorneys at Patel Law, PC, provide experienced and compassionate legal representation to individuals who have been injured, or had a family member killed, as the result of such negligence. We understand the difficulties that victims and their families face as they struggle to rebuild their lives after a preventable boating accident. We will make every effort to hold the negligent parties responsible for their actions.

What Causes Boating Accidents to Happen in Urbana?

The appeal of a lake or river is that it feels more “open” than a highway. Unfortunately, this means that boaters often fail to exercise the same degree of care and safety that they do when behind the wheel of a car. As a result, they often make crucial mistakes that lead to a boating accident. Here at Patel Law, PC, our Urbana boating accident lawyers often represent clients who have been injured in one of the following scenarios:

  • Operating at Unsafe Speeds – Illinois law requires boats not travel at speeds greater than what is necessary for the operator to “bring the vessel to a stop within an assured clear distance ahead.” If the operator chooses to operate at an unsafe speed and causes an accident, they can be held responsible for any damages.
  • Reckless Operation – Similarly, a boat operator is responsible for an accident if he or she acts in a manner that “causes danger” to individuals or property; examples of this include weaving a boat through a congested waterway, jumping the wake of another vessel that is too close, waiting until the last minute to swerve in order to avoid a collision, and creating hazardous waves while approaching or passing another boat.
  • Failure to Follow Navigation Rules – There are certain navigational rules that every Illinois boat operator must understand and follow; for example, if a power boat meets a sailboat head on, the law requires the power boat to give way, while the sailboat must maintain its course and speed.
  • Overloading or Overpowering a Boat – Some accidents are the result of the operator loading the vessel beyond its stated carrying capacity or powering the engine beyond the manufacturer’s horsepower limits.
  • Operating in Restricted Areas – A boating accident may occur when the operator enters an area that is clearly restricted or marked for other recreational use, such as swimming or fishing.

We also cannot overlook one of the most common causes of boating accidents in Urbana — intoxication. Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is not simply reckless and irresponsible. It is a crime under Illinois law. The legal standard for BWI is the same for drunk driving in a motor vehicle. Indeed, intoxication covers not just alcohol, but the use of any drug that may impair a boat operator’s judgment while on the water.

Of course, criminal proceedings against an intoxicated boater does not provide compensation for the victims of the accident or their families. This is one reason it is important for victims to work with an experienced Urbana boating accident lawyer.

Obtaining Compensation Following a Boating Accident

So what compensation can you expect following an Urbana boating accident caused by a negligent operator? Obviously, every accident case is unique. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to the following damages:

  • compensation for your past, current, and future medical bills;
  • compensation for your loss of past wages and future income-earning potential; and
  • non-economic damages to compensate you for pain, suffering, and your overall loss of enjoyment of life.

If you have lost a loved one in a boating accident, you may also have a claim for damages under Illinois’ “wrongful death” law. This law enables the spouse, adult child, or in some cases even the parent of a person killed in a boating accident to seek damages against the negligent party. Such cases are normally brought by the victim’s estate on behalf of the family and may include damages for their “grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.”

Contact Patel Law, PC, Today to Schedule a Consultation

Urbana boating accident attorney Baku N. Patel and his team are ready to assist you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.