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Lake County Personal Injury Attorneys

In short, yes. A personal flotation device (pfd) can absolutely be critical to saving an individual's life in the event he or she is in the water after a boating accident. Even if the individual is a strong swimmer, having a pfd can be an important life saving tool.

Boating is a popular summer pastime in the Chicago region. The Chicago lakefront, the Fox Chain O' Lakes, and the Calumet, Fox, Chicago, and Illinois rivers are home to thousands of hours' worth of fresh water fun including: swimming, fishing, boating, and water skiing for local and visiting individuals and families every summer. With any of these activities, injuries can occur. Sometimes, these injuries are preventable and other times, they are not. But when a preventable injury occurs because of an individual's negligence, the victim may seek monetary compensation for his or her damages through a personal injury claim with aid from an experienced boating accident lawyer.

Illinois Boat Accident Statistics

In 2015, 102 boating accidents occurred in Illinois waters. These accidents resulted in 71 injuries and 25 fatalities. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 12 of the 25 fatality victims would have survived if they had been wearing personal flotation devices. In 85 percent of the accidents that were reported in 2015, the operator responsible for the accident did not have formal boat safety training. A small boat can weigh more than 2,000 pounds and as boats get longer, they get heavier. Despite the power and damage potential of many recreational boats, individuals born before January 1, 1998 are not required to undergo any safety training in order to operate a boat.

Boater Education is Key to Safe Boating in Illinois

Like with anything else, learning how to safely operate a boat is key to preventing accidents while out on the water. Even if you are not required to take a boating safety course because of your age, it is still a good idea for you and anybody else in your family who may operate a boat to take The Illinois Boating Education Course. The course takes approximately eight hours to complete and covers all aspects of safe boat operation, such as Illinois' boating laws, etiquette toward other boaters, navigation, and emergency procedures.

The course can be taken online or with an in-person instructor at various education providers throughout the state. It is designed for individuals ages 12 and over. At the end of the course, all students take a safety exam. Students who pass this exam are each issued a State of Illinois Certificate of Competency.

If you are Involved in an Illinois Boating Accident

Although you might be well-versed in the safe operation of a boat, not all boaters are. It is quite possible for you to be injured in a collision or another type of accident while out boating this summer. In the event of an emergency, call 911 immediately to notify the Coast Guard of the accident. If any individual is in need of immediate medical attention, he or she may be airlifted to the nearest hospital.

Stay calm in the moments after your accident and assess the damage to each boat and to any other personal property. Take photographs of the scene to document it accurately and exchange insurance information with any other involved parties. If you later decide to file a personal injury claim, you will need this information as well as the photographs to validate your claim. After leaving the scene, seek medical attention to determine if you have been injured in any way. Then, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the next steps involving your claim.

Work with Our Team of Lake County Boating Accident Attorneys

If you are injured in a boating accident this summer, you and your family could face a substantial financial burden that includes medical bills, lost wages, and other unexpected expenses. If your boating accident was caused by another party's negligence, even if it was also partially due to your own negligence, you could be entitled to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about this process and to get started on your claim with a Lake County personal injury attorney from our team, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. today to set up your initial consultation in one of our Chicago area offices.

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