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Chicago Boat Rental Company Sued for Fatalities

Chicago is a great place for summer fun. What’s especially great about our city is that unlike many other areas of the country, Chicago has all four seasons but still has beaches and waterfront enjoyed mostly by warmer coastal cities. People in our community love to hit the water during the summertime, and have many opportunities to do so with architectural tours, speedboats, tall ships, or just boarding your friend’s boat for the day. However, as with any activity, safety is extremely important. It is important that boat owners, operators and rental companies follow regulations so that passengers are kept safe and free from injury or death.

According to a recent article by CBS Chicago, one woman is suing a boating company after she survived an accident that killed three people. The rental motorboat caught on fire miles off shore. This survivor filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Sail Time Chicago and alleged that the maintenance that was performed on the boat prior to rental was the cause of the fire.

The article elaborates that the investigation found that just three days before her group rented the boat, a battery or electrical problem occurred. Sail Time Chicago had worked to repair this problem the same day that they rented the boat to the group. That afternoon the boat caught fire, and by 8 p.m. it sank in Lake Michigan. The accident killed two people, causing one to drown and the other to die from hypothermia. Another individual is still missing, but presumed dead.

According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard counted 4604 boating accidents that involved 672 deaths and 3153 injuries. This was a fatality rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Of the victims, almost three-fourths of fatal boating accident victims drowned. However, 88% were not wearing a life jacket.

It is important for those on boats to appreciate the dangers of the water around them. No matter whether one is negligent or acts in a safe and responsible manner, dangerous situations can arise. In Illinois, we have many opportunities for getting out on the water, but with many options, a high risk for boating accidents is also present. Boats can malfunction, or severe weather can occur. Other factors include driver inexperience or operating a boat while or after consuming alcohol. These situations can create danger to people and make the boat a place that is no longer safe and make drowning a likely possibility. For that reason, just as when one is at a water park, flotation devices are important and can save lives. While out on the water, even when conditions appear calm or safe, it is imperative to be safe and wear a safety jacket.

Our attorneys understand how scary this situation is. Here, some Chicagoans were intent on having a fun and enjoyable day in one another’s company and trusted that they would be rented safe and reliable equipment. Instead, the company has allegedly breached its legal duty to these people by providing a faulty vessel, which resulted in injury or death. Like other motor vehicle and water-related incidents, survivors and loved ones can hold companies liable for personal injury or wrongful death through a lawsuit. Our firm has been experienced in a wide variety of personal injury lawsuits for over 20 years. Call us for a free consultation, and we may be able to help you with your case and obtain the compensation that you deserve.