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What Should You Do if You’re in a Boat Accident in Chicago, Illinois?

, What Should You Do if You’re in a Boat Accident in Chicago, Illinois?, eTurboNews | eTN
image courtesy of Linus Pohl from Pixabay
Written by Linda Hohnholz

Chicago is an incredible destination for people from around the world: its delicious food, many tourist attractions, and gorgeous scenery make it a favorite of those who want to enjoy the famous hospitality of the Midwestern United States.

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As a United Airlines hub, Chicago benefits from the expanded partnership between United Airlines and Emirates, making it easier than ever for people from all across the world to enjoy the laid-back beauty of Chicago. Any trip to the Windy City is incomplete without a scenic ride on one of its prime tourist draws: Lake Michigan.

However, it’s an unfortunate reality that tourists and Chicagoans alike who board a watercraft may find themselves in danger due to operator negligence or bad weather. At the end of July 2023, a woman was killed when a boat on Lake Michigan struck a breakwall and capsized while returning to shore, one of only countless minor and major accidents taking place on boats across the city.

Today, we’ll explore the necessary steps you must take if you are injured in a boating accident in Chicago, particularly in regard to your legal rights.

Go to the Hospital Immediately

Even if you don’t feel injured, you should always go to the hospital after any accident. Shock can mask the pain for a time, even for incredibly serious injuries, and you may not be aware of how badly you’ve been hurt until you get a full assessment.

There are numerous hospitals right beside Lake Michigan, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital on the North Side and Jackson Park Hospital on the South Side.

Get the Details of Other Parties Involved

When you’re able to, write down the names, phone numbers, and other information of those involved, like boat drivers, passengers, and first responders. Note what they were doing at the time of the accident, what their role may have been, and pass this on to your lawyer so that they can investigate the matter further for you.

Contact a Lawyer

As soon as you’re able to, you should contact a lawyer and discuss your case. Medical bills in America are expensive, especially for those from outside of the United States who may not have insurance to pay for their care. If someone else can be held liable for your accident, then they should be made responsible for paying your medical bills.

In general, an accident that happens in a certain area must be pursued within the same district, which is why it’s important that you work with a Chicago boat accident attorney regarding injuries incurred in Cook County, Illinois. Your lawyer may not be equipped to argue a case in this district, and they may not have experience in Illinois tort law, such as the statute of limitations.

Talk to Your Lawyer Regarding Timelines

After you’ve been in an accident and in the hospital, you probably want to get home as soon as possible so that you can rely upon the support of your family and community. However, depending on the progression of your boat accident case, as well as the extent of your injuries, you may find yourself having to travel back to Chicago in order to consult with your attorney and appear in court.

Your lawyer can give you a rough estimate of the timeline and help you determine whether you will need to return to the United States for a trial; they will keep you informed of your responsibilities as a plaintiff and how their negotiations are going with the parties responsible for your accident. They can also tell you how long you will have to appear for and how much advance notice they can provide you so that you can make travel arrangements. Rest assured that your lawyer will do everything possible to make the process as easy as possible for you, especially if you are traveling a far distance in order to make the trial.

Allow Your Lawyer to Handle Communication With Third Parties

Your lawyer is your spokesperson: they will talk to insurance companies, doctors, and other people on your behalf with your permission. This is both so that you can recuperate on healing and handle the logistics of traveling back home, as well as so you do not accidentally endanger your case by saying something that implies any fault.

Your lawyer will talk to everyone involved for you and help to negotiate a reasonable and fair settlement for you; if this fails, they will advance the case to trial in order to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Rely on Your Country’s Consulate If Necessary

Lawsuits abroad are confusing and intimidating for anyone, especially those who are already dealing with the physical and emotional effects of an accident. Thankfully, your country’s consulate can be a wealth of information for you regarding what you need to do; they can direct you to resources and facilitate communication between you and your loved ones back home, including transferring funds to pay for your needs.

Thankfully, there are over 150 foreign consulates in Chicago itself, as well as some honorary consulates with limited powers. If your country does not have a consulate in Chicago, you can reach out to your country’s foreign embassy in Washington for further help.

Your consulate is your best bet when it comes to dealing with any legal troubles abroad, as they can work to smooth the way for you.

Getting into an accident is no one’s idea of a great tourist experience, but unfortunately, it does happen regularly all across the world, including in Chicago. By getting prompt medical and legal assistance and being clear about your needs, you can receive the justice you deserve for a boating accident in the Windy City no matter where you call home.

About the author


Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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