The fact that a city as great as Chicago sprung up on the shores of Lake Michigan is no accident. Waterways are the original superhighways — the best way to travel and get goods to market. While commercial uses are still important, recreational enjoyment of our Great Lake and the smaller lakes and rivers in the Collar Counties has exploded.
But boating does not come without its risks. Even experienced boaters know that it can be an inherently dangerous activity. People fall off boats and get hurt or drown, risk electrocution during storms, and may suffer from dehydration or heat stroke if they aren’t drinking enough water while out on the water. Boats are also less responsive than cars, so those steering them may inadvertently run into another boat, a stationary object, or even a swimmer. All of these accidents can cause very serious injuries, or even death.
Over the past few decades, the Stein & Shulman team has helped countless boating accident victims in the Chicagoland area seek compensation for the injuries they suffered while on the water. Our team has recovered millions of dollars for accident victims in the Chicago area.
What Type Of Boating Accident Cases Do We Take?
At Stein & Shulman we handle all types of boating accidents and injuries, including:
- Collisions with other boats
- Boating accidents that occur when a watercraft collides with a stationary object
- Boating accidents involving a boat that flips over or capsizes
- Injuries caused by running over someone in the water
- Propeller mutilation accidents
- Accidents where alcohol is involved
Whether an accident is caused by operator error, mechanical failure, or something else, we can help you hold the responsible parties accountable. There is no reason you should have to pay out of pocket for an injury or accident you did not cause.
Below we detail some of the more common types of boating accidents we see in the Chicago area, and explain how the Stein & Shulman team assists victims of such accidents.
Boating Accidents Caused By Inexperience
Although anyone operating a boat on Illinois waterways is supposed to have a valid Boating Safety Certificate accepted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, many of the boating accidents in the greater Chicago area are caused by inexperienced operators.
Just like getting behind the wheel of a car is different than taking a written exam, actually operating a boat is more complicated than taking an in-person or online test designed for 12 year olds. It can take years to become truly skilled at operating a boat, and even then it is still risky.
Many boat owners also let their passengers take the wheel once they get out on open water. This is extremely dangerous since boat controls may look similar to those in a car, but actually respond very differently.
One of the first things the Stein & Shulman team does when it takes on a boating accident case is gather information on the boat, the operator, and the operator’s level of experience and attention the day of the accident. This is important evidence in a personal injury case.
Boating And Alcohol Don’t Mix
Unfortunately, many boating accidents are also closely associated with the consumption of alcohol. The federal BAC legal limit for operating a vessel under the influence is .08, but sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion —“stressors” common to the boating environment— intensify the effects of alcohol, making even one sip of alcohol dangerous.
At Stein & Shulman, we frequently employ toxicological experts who are able to testify to the impact alcohol would have had on a boater’s ability to maneuver their boat safely. This can help us build a strong case against an irresponsible boater that causes injury to one of our clients.
If the boater who injured our client was criminally charged for operating a boat while intoxicated (OUI), we closely monitor the prosecution. Evidence gathered by police, and the developments and outcome of a criminal case, can often be used to strengthen a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent boater.
Accidents Aboard A Commercial Boat or Water Taxi
If you have ever taken the ferry to Michigan, enjoyed a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan, or ridden a water taxi in downtown Chicago, you have been a passenger on what is known as a common carrier.
The special laws that govern common carriers were created long ago when Chicagoans first started traveling in mass. Illinois policy makers realized there is simply a greater risk that someone will be injured when a large group of people is being moved around together, so the person or company doing the moving should take extra care to ensure the safety of passengers.
Any Chicago-area resident who is injured while boarding, riding on, or exiting a vehicle or other mode of transportation that is considered a common carrier may seek compensation for their injury. The Stein & Shulman team has decades of experience holding common carriers accountable for their failures.
We Do Not Get Paid Unless Our Clients Do
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in the greater Chicago area, the Stein & Shulman team is here to help. As attorneys, it is our job to help people like you hold the people or organizations that are responsible for your injury accountable.
One of the first things we do when we take on a boating injury case is gather evidence of what happened in the time leading up to your injury. We must be able to clearly link your injury to actions — or a lack of action — by the defendant.
The evidence of a boating accident may literally wash away and disappear, but our experienced attorneys and accident reconstruction experts carefully investigate the facts and circumstances of boating accidents, so we can get you the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
Once we have evidence of the accident, we link your injury to it so we can seek compensation on your behalf. How much money you can expect to receive as a result of your injury depends on how seriously you have been hurt. Generally, the worse you have been injured, the more money you can expect the defendant to pay.
In boating accident cases, we do all of this work on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not get paid unless we win your case and our fee will always be just a portion of what we recover on your behalf. We understand that this may be the first time you have been involved in a personal injury case, so if you have questions about how contingency fees work, we are here to answer them.
Contact Our Chicago Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Boating Accident Injury
If you or a loved one in the Chicago area has suffered a serious injury in a boating accident, the Stein & Shulman team is here to help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have secured millions of dollars for personal injury and accident victims in the Chicagoland area.
You can count on us to honestly evaluate your potential claim, and give you the advice and support you need as you decide whether to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.