Lake Michigan, Calumet River, Fox River, Braidwood Lake Accidents
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If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact an experienced Illinois boat accident attorney to learn the options available to you. The Law firm of Timothy Henderson can answer your questions, work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to make sure that all of your needs – physical, financial and emotional – are handled for you and he will work to provide the best possible resolution. Call (312)444-9400 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.
Recreational boating is a popular summer pastime for thousands of Illinois boaters. With a number of lakes, rivers and streams in addition to Lake Michigan, northern Illinois offers many options for the recreational boater. As the data reported below by the US Coast Guard and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources indicate, with large numbers of people on the water there are higher accident risks.
According to the US Coast Guard Report on Recreational Boating published in 2013, nationally there were 4515 recreational boating accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3000 injuries and approximately $38 million dollars of damage to property. The fatality rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 recreational vessels. In Illinois during the Federal Fiscal Year 2013 there were 64 boating accidents that involved 14 fatalities and 50 injuries. The fatality rate was 4.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
Many factors can contribute to a boating accident. The top 5 causes of boating accidents nationally were: operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed. In Illinois the top 5 primary causes of accidents were: careless/reckless operation, operator inexperience, weather, and unknown causes closely followed by alcohol use, force of wake and improper loading. This data is pulled from those boating accidents that were reported. Some accidents are not in the Illinois reporting system because those involved were not required to report the incident, but the reporting agency believes that the number of accidents involving serious injury or death are accurately reflected in reported numbers.
Some boating accidents are unavoidable but many accidents on the water occur because of inattention, carelessness, inexperience or reckless behavior, and/or alcohol. Illinois law requires that, if an accident occurs on a boat the boat operator must file an accident report with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) within five days of the incident. If it is an accident that results in death or serious injury to any person a report must be filed within forty-eight hours of the accident.
In Illinois 39 of the 50 injuries occurred in two types of vessels: open motorboats and personal water crafts (PWC) with the vast majority occurring in the motorboat. Nine of the fourteen Illinois fatalities occurred in an open motorboat. Braidwood Lake, Calumet River, Fox River, and Lake Michigan all were the scene of boating accidents in 2013 that resulted in an injury or a death.