Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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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.
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The Associated Press reports that a high-speed commuter ferry carrying hundreds of passengers in Manhattan crashed into a dock during the morning rush hour last week, injuring at least 50 and leaving two in critical condition. Unfortunately for the passengers, the ferry was just about to come to a final halt when it crashed into the dock, causing commuters to be thrown onto the deck, tumbling over each other, and causing several injuries. The force of the ferry accident ripped open the boat’s hull significantly. The sheer number of persons aboard, nearly 330, contributed to the large number of injuries, and those on the scene reported that firefighters were still taking injured passengers away on stretchers over an hour after the crash.

Many of the injured commuters are still suffering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy, with many of them still homeless because of that horrific storm. The most serious injury involved one passenger who fell down a flight of stairs when the boat crashed, suffering a head injury. A spokesperson for city’s transportation department stated that the ferry was traveling at roughly 12 mph when it collided with one slip and hit a second. A slip is the nautical term for the boat’s parking space, it is the area where the boat can dock on the pier.

Apparently, many of the ferry operators had been complaining of late about the lack of maneuverability of these commuter ferrys. All of the ferry’s crew members were subject to breathalyzer tests after the crash and everyone passed. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into this accident. While Chicago does not have a large-scale commuter ferry system like the one in New York, we do have water taxis and lake and river cruises that affect many persons in Illinois. Laws that involve the water are called maritime laws. All of those who go out onto the water must know that any driver of a water faring vessel owes its passengers a duty of care. They must exercise that care to prevent injuries to their passengers, other boaters, and even swimmers in the vicinity. Our waterways can be a place of great fun as long as everyone involved is exercising due care.

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The family of a 10-year-old Libertyville boy have spent months mourning the loss of their young son, who was run over this summer while boating on the Chain O’Lakes. Now they are taking action. The Chicago Tribune reports they have filed suit against the driver of the boat and his girlfriend, accusing them of reckless behavior. The driver, a 51-year-old resident of Bartlett has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of both alcohol and cocaine during the July crash. The lawsuit claims that the driver, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, operated his 29-foot boat without a lookout, at an unsafe speed, and in a reckless and dangerous manner.

The specifics of the accident are devastating to any parent. The boy and his sister were enjoying an afternoon of tubing on the Chain O’Lakes when he fell off of the tube. The boy’s father turned the boat around to pick up his son when he saw the Defendant’s boat “flying” toward the young boy, who was wearing a bright red lifejacket and was waiving his arms. Sadly, the Defendant never saw him and his horrified family watched as the oncoming boat killed their only son.

This tragedy was entirely avoidable if only the Defendant was driving responsibly. Boating accidents in Illinois happen all too often, as we luckily have an abundance of water options. All boaters must remain aware of their surroundings at all times. A boat operator and its owner must exercise the highest degree of care to prevent injuries to passengers, other boaters, and swimmers. When an owner or operator of a boat fails to exercise this high degree of care, that negligence cannot go unpunished. Our Illinois boat accident lawyers understand how much fun boating can be. We also understand that boating comes with some very serious risks, and that accidents do happen. Some of the factors that often contribute to boating accidents include driver error or inexperience, equipment failure, driving while intoxicated, and adverse weather conditions to name a few.

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Our Chicago boating accident attorneys know that, while water sports are a great way to enjoy the summer weather, they can pose a significant risk of serious injury if the proper precautions aren’t taken to ensure that they are undertaken in the safest way possible.

Devastatingly, that’s exactly what happened this past week. The Chicago Tribune reports that two men from the Chicago area died in a tubing accident, while on vacation. The men, ages 53 and 39, respectively, were on a single inner tube being pulled by a pontoon boat when one man fell off the inflatable tube and the other went into the water to help him. Both ended up in the water and both did not resurface. Neither man was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident, reported the Tribune.

Although officials report that the accident is still under investigation, one thing is clear: this devastating accident could potentially have been avoided if the men were wearing life preservers, and if the persons operating the pontoon boat had been better prepared in case of emergency.

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The Chicago River, whose rivers and canals run 156 miles through the heart of the city, including its center (the Chicago Loop), is a central tourist attraction for visitors to Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the main reasons that Chicago became an important location as the link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley waterways. It’s not surprise that boat tours on the river have become a staple in Chicago’s tourist industry.

Nevertheless, the Chicago Tribune reported that earlier this week, at least nine people were injured when a Wendella Boat Tour vessel “The Lila” hit a concrete dock near the Michigan Avenue bridge on the Chicago River. Wendella Boats operates the Chicago Water Taxi which offers service along the Chicago River with stops at Michigan Avenue, Clark Street and Madison Street. On weekends, Chicago Water Taxi service extends all the way to Chicago’s Chinatown. Wendella Boats also offers architecture cruises departing from Michigan Avenue.

The Tribune reported that seven people were taken to local hospitals in ‘good condition,’ while two others in ‘fair-to-serious condition’ were rushed to to Saint Joseph Hospital and Rush University Medical Center, both in Chicago, Illinois. Eleven other people of the more than 150 passengers on board refused treatment further than examinations at the scene.

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In the hot summer months in Chicagoland, watersports can provide a fun diversion for sweltering Chicagoans. However, if we’re not careful, they can turn deadly very quickly.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were devastated to read that that was exactly what happened in a situation in which a ten year-old boy was killed by a boat that struck him while he was ‘tubing’ on a lake in Illinois.

This past Sunday, the young boy, a resident of Libertyville, Illinois, apparently suffered traumatic injuries after falling off an inner-tube as it was being towed across Lake Petite, reported the Associated Press. He fell off the donut-shaped inflatable raft, and was soon hit by another boat. Two other individuals were also taken to local hospitals with non life-threatening injuries after the accident.

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A woman who was seriously personally injured when a boat she was on crashed into another boat and capsized has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the boat’s operator. The woman was on an Illinois lake when it collided with another boat. The boat capsized, throwing the woman into the water. She then became pinned underwater near the boat’s stern and trapped in mud. She was rescued and transported to the hospital with personal injuries. After the incident it was discovered that the driver of the other boat was intoxicated while operating the boat. If you have been involved in a boating accident, consult an Illinois lawyer. To read more about the Illinois boat accident, please click the link.

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The mother of a high school student who drowned when his paddleboat sank in the Fox River near the Chicago suburb of Algonquin is suing the school and the camp he was attending, claiming their negligence caused the wrongful death of her son. The bodies of the teenagers were recovered from the lake and all were pronounced dead a the scene. The teens were attending Camp Algonquin, a YMCA campsite, for a leadership seminar geared towards upperclassmen. The teens had been at the campsite with other students for the past eight days. At least one of the teens took the paddleboat from the campsite and boarded it in the river, but since the paddleboat had been winterized, meaning the plug preventing water from entering the bottom was removed, the boat sank. Two of the teens died after the paddleboat capsized and the third went in the water from the shore trying to save them and also went under. The mother of one of the boys filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit court accusing the association which organized the leadership retreat, the YMCA of McHenry County and the North Lawndale College Prep of negligence. The suit alleges all parties involved of leaving her son unsupervised and keeping the paddleboats in insufficient condition. The wrongful death lawsuit seeks more than $800,000 in damages. To read the full story, click here.

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A Chicago, Illinois family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a boat company. The boat company rented the deceased a boat without warning him that the local river was closed due to flooding. The wrongful death suit claims that the boat company was negligent and that as a result the boating accident could have been prevented. The boat accident resulted in an adult drowning and luckily two other boaters were saved while drowning by an onlooker. The suit also maintains that a defective product life vest was given to the deceased. The life vest was also rented from the boat company. To read the full story on this wrongful death negligence lawsuit click here.

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A deadly boating accident on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin left an Illinois woman dead. Christina Ann Tully, of Chicago, was wakeboarding on Saturday afternoon when she fell off her wakeboard. She was waiting in the water for her boat to pick her up when a second boat passed by and struck Tully with its propeller, killing her. The driver of the other boat said that he had not seen Tully, and authorities have declined to charge someone as neither of the drivers were drinking alcohol at the time. Police further state that an impending storm had made the waters choppy, with two to three foot high waves. There is no word yet whether Tully’s family will seek to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Read more here.