Who Can Be Held Liable for Boating Accidents in Illinois?

On behalf of Gordon Law Offices, Ltd.   |  Oct 26, 2021   |  Personal Injury
A boat on beach

Liability for boating accidents generally falls to those responsible for causing wrecks. In 2020, there were more than 200,000 boats registered in Illinois. A day spent enjoying the area’s waterways may quickly turn tragic for boaters when watercraft collide, causing serious injuries or death.

Responsibility Assessments for Boat Wrecks

Boat owners and operators, as well as rental companies, boat part designers and manufacturers, and others often bear responsibility for crashes involving watercraft. Liability depends largely on the causes of boating accidents. For example, a boater under the influence of alcohol may be financially responsible for a crash, while a boat manufacturer may take on liability for wrecks caused by faulty steering systems.

Boating Under the Influence

Drinking alcohol and using drugs have effects that may impair boaters’ abilities to safely operate their watercraft. The impairing effects of alcohol and drugs on boat operators may include slowed reaction times, decreased attentiveness, and loss of coordination. As is the case for motorists, operating a boat in Illinois provides the authorities with implied consent for blood alcohol content testing in the event of an injury-causing crash. Those injured in such wrecks frequently use breath test results as evidence when pursuing compensatory damages for their losses.

Distracted Boating

Like they do for drivers, distractions also increase the crash risk for boat operators. The distractions boaters face include talking, drinking or eating, taking pictures, and other activities that take their eyes off the water, hands off the wheel, or attention off the task of operating their vessels. Engaging in distracting behaviors may constitute negligence or carelessness on the part of boat operators, which may make them responsible for any accident-associated damages.

Inexperienced Boating

Inexperienced boat operators commonly contribute to collisions involving watercraft. People generally do not need any licensure or training to buy or rent a boat. However, a lot goes into the safe operation of water vessels, which boaters without experience often do not know or understand. Depending on the circumstances, liability for crashes involving inexperienced boaters may fall to the rental companies or the boaters themselves.

Faulty Boating Equipment

Defects in the design or manufacture of boats sometimes contribute to accidents on the water. Those who suffer injuries may recover damages from boat designers, builders, or sellers liable for their crash-associated losses.

Suffering injuries in Illinois boating accidents may upend people’s lives; however, options exist for them to recover compensation that may support them as they focus on their recoveries.

If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, call Gordon Law Offices at (312) 332-5200 for a free consultation about your rights to compensation.