There are many great ways to enjoy the beautiful weather in Arlington Heights. Fishing, sailing, boating, and participating in watersports on Lake Michigan are all popular activities. Additionally, there are many nearby lakes in Lake County or the many forest preserves and parks in the area, such as Lake Arlington, Busse Woods and Lake Opeka, where you can explore and enjoy a day on the water. Unfortunately, a wonderful day could become a tragic one when boat operators engage in careless or reckless behavior, regardless of the size or power of the boat.
If you have suffered an injury in a boat accident caused by someone else’s negligence, work with an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. An Arlington Heights boat accident lawyer could help you recover damages to cover your losses and hold the negligent person accountable for the harm they caused.
Laws for Boating in Arlington Heights
Illinois has a body of laws and regulations intended to make boating safe. These laws cover requirements to legally operate a vessel, obligations to register watercraft, necessary safety equipment, and safe operating procedures. A seasoned lawyer in the area could look into the circumstances of a boating accident to determine whether all applicable boating rules and regulations were followed.
According to 625 Illinois Compiled Statutes §45/5-1 and 5-2, it is illegal to drive a boat carelessly or recklessly. Examples of careless or reckless operation include:
- Creating a hazardous wake when in proximity to other vessels
- Weaving watercraft through congested areas
- Navigating unreasonably close to other vessels
Operating a Boat Under the Influence
Operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, and the law states that anyone driving watercraft in Illinois has given implied consent to drug and alcohol testing. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is proof of operating under the influence, but any concentration of drugs or alcohol combined with evidence of unsafe operation is enough to support an arrest for operating under the influence.
Negligence in Watercraft Accidents
Operator negligence often contributes to accidents on the water. Failing to obey navigation laws, neglecting to have proper equipment (such as adequate personal floatation devices), and operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol are all frequent causes of injury on the water. Any proof that an operator violated the law or handled the vessel carelessly could support a civil suit for damages.
Negligence is the basis of any personal injury claim and simply refers to a lack of reasonable care. The injured individual (plaintiff) must demonstrate another party (defendant) was negligent to collect damages from that party. Negligence is a factor in most boating accidents in Arlington Heights.
Who Could be At Fault for a Boating Injury?
If the watercraft operator was negligent, an injured person could bring a claim against that person. If mechanical failure contributed to the incident, a manufacturer or maintenance company might have liability. If the accident occurred at a dock or in a harbor, the authority responsible for maintaining and operating the facility might be at fault.
At the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd., our attorneys have over thirty years of handling these types of claims. One of our experienced attorneys could review the circumstances of an Arlington Heights boat accident and identify all the potentially negligent parties.
Damages for Arlington Heights Boat Collision Claims
The law allows an injured person to pursue compensation for losses caused by someone else’s negligence. Illinois follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, which means that a negligent plaintiff can still collect damages as long as they are not more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Damages typically cover medical expenses and lost wages. If the injury will impact the plaintiff in the future, an award of damages could include projected medical care and lost earning opportunities. Damages also could include payments to compensate for a plaintiff’s pain, mental anguish, lost ability to enjoy life, and other intangible effects of an injury.
In rare cases, a plaintiff might seek punitive damages. These are not available in most personal injury cases but could be appropriate if a defendant’s conduct was so egregious that it was malicious or grossly negligent. The seasoned local attorneys at our firm could advise a boat accident victim on whether punitive damages are appropriate in their particular case.
Seek Counsel from an Arlington Heights Boat Accident Attorney
Recovering from an injury is a difficult process under any circumstances. The last thing you need is the additional stress of dealing with legal proceedings to get the compensation that you need.
An Arlington Heights boat accident lawyer could handle your case and fight for a fair amount of compensation, allowing you to focus on your recovery. Speak with our legal team to learn how we could put our knowledge and experience to work for you. Give us a call to schedule a consultation today.