This guide outlines the steps to take to get your legal justice and rights after you have a boating accident.
Chicago is a watery wonderland: with dozens of different cruise lines, thousands of rental options for all manner of watercraft, and miles of stunning shoreline, those who love to skim past the Windy City’s gorgeous skyline are always in for a treat when summer comes around. It’s no wonder that droves of tourists and natives alike breeze past Lake Shore Drive and take to the lake or enjoy a sedate tour of the city’s sights from the river.
However, with all this boat traffic, there are bound to be serious accidents, especially from inexperienced motorists who are not aware of water safety. Every year, hundreds of Chicagoans and tourists are injured on watercraft, and many tragically drown.
Steps after a boating accident
After you’ve been in a boating accident and are recovering, how can you pursue damages for what has happened to you? We’ll explain everything you need to know about getting justice for a watercraft accident with a Chicago boat accident lawyer.
Get the Information of Everyone Involved in the Accident
As soon as you are able, make a list of all the people involved in the boating accident and what their role was. This includes any responding personnel like Coast Guard members, police officers, and EMTs, as well as drivers and passengers. This will provide your lawyer with leads on who they should contact to get more information, who may be held responsible, and who can act as witnesses in your lawsuit.
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations: You Need to Act Fast
Illinois has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury cases, which means that your lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident in order to be heard. This does not mean that you have to get a verdict within two years of the accident, only that you will need to have the lawsuit filed by that time.
This may seem like forever, but you would be surprised at how quickly time flies: your lawyer will do everything they can to settle out of court, sparing you the expense and trouble of a lawsuit, and this will take time. It’s essential that you act fast and contact a good boat accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Allow Your Lawyer to Speak For You
While boat accidents differ in that many times, with personal watercraft, they do not involve insurance companies, you may still be contacted by third parties who are seeking to get you to drop the lawsuit or settle for less than you deserve.
Tempting as it is to just be done with the whole experience, you may find yourself with insurmountable medical bills as a result; this is why it’s crucial that you allow a skilled lawyer to intervene on your behalf and negotiate the case for you. They have the resources and training necessary to identify what a fair settlement would be, and they can say the right things to avoid damaging your case by accidentally admitting any fault.
Any time that you are contacted by someone in regards to the boating accident case — even your own insurance company — calmly direct them to your lawyer for discussion.
Keep Good Records
In order to pursue damages, you need records of what treatments you have had done and what insurance has covered. This is made easier by electronic medical records, but you should consider keeping paper copies of everything as well just in case.
Create a file and input all correspondence from doctors, insurance companies, and other parties involved in the boating accident lawsuit that you can share with your lawyer.
You can also give your lawyer permission to access these records on your behalf to make the process easier. However, accidents do happen, even with highly skilled attorneys: keep your own records as well.
Stay Calm and Positive
It’s hard to look on the bright side when you’re going through a boating accident lawsuit and recuperating from serious injuries, but it’s not impossible.
One of the best things you can do is to change your mindset by considering all the things you’re grateful for after your accident. Think about how great it is that you are still alive and able to be with your loved ones, to recuperate and pursue justice so that others are not harmed in the same way you were.
As you recover, you might choose to journal about your experiences. This can be incredibly healing, as it will help you process your thoughts and better understand what you’re feeling. It can also be a great tool to look back on as the months pass: you can physically see how much your mindset has changed and how far you have come since your accident.
If you’re suffering from symptoms of PTSD like nightmares, severe anxiety, or an inability to concentrate, seek professional mental health treatment. These expenses could be compensated under damages if your lawsuit is successful.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that accidents — even tragic accidents — do happen. However, if someone’s negligence or callous disregard resulted in serious injuries for yourself or a loved one due to a boating accident in Chicago, you have options available to you.
Never feel like you have to suffer in silence: professional assistance is ready and waiting to get you the justice that you deserve. Find a great lawyer, assist them in researching the parties involved, and allow them to advocate for you throughout the process as you focus on keeping a positive mindset during recovery.