In Illinois, as the summer heat rises, so does the number of boating accidents. An incident on a jet ski, sailboat, motorized boat, ferry, tourist boat, or other watercraft often leads to brain damage or death.
If you or a family member were injured or drowned as a result of the actions of a negligent boat operator, you need the help of a Chicago boat accident attorney.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is a leading personal injury law firm in Chicago, known for achieving maximum compensation on behalf of our clients. Learn more about what we may be able to do for you by contacting us online or calling (800) 985-1819 for a free consultation.
Steps to take after being involved in a boat and watercraft accident
Your health and safety are your top priorities, of course. But if you can do the following, you could also help your attorney maximize your compensation.
1. Find a safe place
If you can move your boat, get it away from the accident scene and any oncoming traffic. If your boat is inoperable, try to get to shore or a safe location if possible. If you must, call the police from your boat.
2. Perform a self-evaluation, then call 911
Can you move your arms and legs? Do you have a head injury? Tell emergency responders how badly you’ve been hurt so they’ll be prepared to give you the best care possible.
When you call 911 for medical help, ask the dispatcher to send law enforcement, too. When the officer arrives, tell them what happened as best you can, but don’t admit any fault. Admitting fault could damage your case.
3. Take notes and photos of the scene
Take pictures of the accident scene, such as damage to all vessels involved. Get photos of your injury as well. The more photos you can get, the more evidence you’ll be able to produce to support your claim.
4. Collect contact information from witnesses
Speak with anyone who saw the accident firsthand, then ask for their name and contact information. Your attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will follow up and interview witnesses so they can give their account of how the accident occurred.
5. Keep a written or digital record of your experience in the minutes, hours, and days after the accident
You may want to put your accident in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible, but it’s important that you keep a record of the pain and emotional distress you’re feeling. Keeping a daily record will help prove the damages you’re trying to collect, including your non-economic damages.
6. Visit your primary care physician or urgent care
You might think you’re fine after a boating accident, but that could be due to the adrenaline that’s flowing through your body. Once that adrenaline wears off, you’ll know how badly you’re hurt. Get to a doctor as soon as possible so they can provide the treatment you need. Getting medical help will also prove your medical expenses, which will be critically important for your case.
7. Speak with an attorney
Getting legal representation as soon as possible will be essential to your chances of obtaining compensation. You’ll need to do so quickly so your Chicago boat accident lawyer can begin their investigation. This needs to occur as early as possible before key evidence vanishes.
Don’t miss the deadline to file your claim
The statute of limitations in Illinois for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident. However, you’ll need to take action immediately so your attorney can investigate. Not only will the investigation show how the collision occurred, but it will also determine the identity of all liable parties.
Possible damages you can claim
Whenever someone suffers an injury due to another’s negligence, their financial losses are known as “damages” that are recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit.
You can’t work because you’re hurt, and you’re losing wages and you’re accumulating a pile of medical bills — these are examples of economic damages. Others include property damage, lost business opportunities, future earnings, and more.
The reason we recommended you keep a journal is to document your non-economic damages. Since they’re subjective, you can’t produce receipts to prove them. These include the pain and suffering and emotional distress mentioned earlier, as well as loss of quality of life and others.
How to find the right lawyer for your needs
Do some research before choosing a Chicago boat accident lawyer. Check review sites that can give you a great idea of what former clients have to say about the attorneys on your list. If you know someone who recently needed a personal injury attorney, ask them if they’d recommend you hire them.
We’ll fight the insurance company to get you the maximum compensation
Another part of your research should be checking the different law firms you’re considering to see their track record of success in cases similar to yours. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will never be intimidated by huge insurance companies, no matter how deep their pockets may be.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
Boating accidents are complicated, often because more than one party is responsible for the injury. For example, a manufacturer of a defective part might be liable, as can the person or business who sold the boat. Your attorney will investigate to identify all of those liable parties and take action against them.
How our attorneys prove liability
Our attorneys have several ways of proving liability. For example, we’ll look for footage from any surveillance cameras nearby that may have caught the accident.
If our investigation indicates the at-fault boater was distracted due to texting, we’ll seek to obtain their phone records. We’ll leave no stone unturned to gather the evidence you’ll need to get the most money possible.
Boat and watercraft lawsuit process
The following is a quick look at some of the more important elements of a boat accident lawsuit.
1. Legal consultation
When you first speak with a Chicago boat injury lawyer, they’ll listen to the details of the accident. Then they’ll spell out the areas where your case is strong and other areas where it might be weak.
2. Accident investigation
If you choose to hire that attorney and they agree to take your case, they’ll immediately begin the accident investigation.
3. File a demand for compensation
Your attorney will determine all liable parties and then send them demand letters. As the name implies, the letters will demand compensation on your behalf.
Your attorney will work tirelessly to get a fair settlement from the insurance companies that cover all of the responsible parties.
5. Take the case to trial
Most cases end with a settlement agreement, but if an insurer refuses to settle, your Chicago boat injury attorney will take them to court where a jury will then decide the outcome of the case.
Why it’s important to visit the doctor
We can’t overemphasize the importance of getting prompt medical attention following an accident. A doctor needs to determine the best course of treatment so you can get back to normal as fast as possible.
In addition to being vital to your health, seeing a medical professional will also be essential to your case. If you don’t, the insurance company could more easily make the argument that you’re not badly injured.
Cost of hiring a boat and watercraft accident lawyer
Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning we won’t receive a dime unless you win your case and get the money you deserve.
Why hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is a well-established law firm in Chicago, Illinois. We focus on building strong personal injury cases and bringing them to trial to pursue maximum compensation. Since 1924, we have been serving the Chicago area. Our team has an exceptional rate of success in personal injury cases.
Our Chicago boat and watercraft accident lawyers are here to help
We urge you to contact us right away if you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident in Chicago. Our early involvement in your case could be critical in achieving a positive outcome. The evidence must be identified and preserved, eyewitnesses interviewed, and the damaged watercraft preserved for evidence.