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The waters of Lake Michigan can hold danger for some boaters

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2019 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Lake Michigan is an enormous, inviting body of water. It can be a lot of fun to take the family out boating on the open waters, which is why boating is such a popular pastime for people in Illinois. Even if you’ve never been out on the ocean, you can experience what the seas are really like when the shoreline of Illinois drops from you and all you can see spreading out in any direction is the choppy, blue waters of the third largest Great Lake.

Boating can be a great escape from the world, as well as a family bonding experience. Whether you enjoy sailboats or motorboats, there are rental options and excursions available, as well as the potential to own your own boat. Unfortunately for some people, their aquatic adventures in Lake in Michigan can result in serious injuries due to boating crashes or accidents.

What kinds of boating accidents happen on Lake Michigan?

Like with motor vehicle collisions, there are many different kinds of boating accidents and crashes. Sometimes, machinery failures on one boat can result in its sinking or its occupants needing to abandon ship. Other times, in high traffic areas, an impaired or distracted boater could cause a crash with another vessel.

Boating accidents may seem like an infrequent occurrence, but they are more common than you might imagine. Experts indicate that inexperience with operating a boat is often a major factor in boating crashes. People also tend to act like boating demands less attention because of the wide-open spaces, often with tragic results.

Lake Michigan’s waters have claimed many lives over the years

Part of the allure of Lake Michigan is how large and deep it is. Unfortunately, those same attributes that make it mysterious and exciting also make it dangerous. There are shipwrecks on the floor of Lake Michigan that explorers cannot recover.

When accidents occur, people may be too far from shore for help to arrive in time. Boating accidents in Illinois went up by 1% in 2017 compared to 2016, and 2018’s data is not yet available. The number of injuries is also on the rise, with a reported 42% increase in total boating accidents between 2016 and 2017. At least 12 people died on boats in Illinois in 2017.

Those hurt and boating accidents may have rights under Illinois law

Lake Michigan is a big body of water that borders multiple states. That can certainly lead to complicated legal situations for those who get hurt while boating in Lake Michigan.

However, it is possible for those involved in boating accidents, especially those caused by negligence or wrongful acts of others, to seek compensation for property damage under Illinois law. In the case of those who have lost someone in a fatal boating accident, the potential may also exist to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.