Chicago’s location on Lake Michigan provides boating and sailing enthusiasts with plenty of opportunity to be on the water. However, any Chicago personal injury attorney would say that when boats have not been properly maintained, a boating accident is inevitable, causing harm to innocent victims.
During a trip across Lake Michigan from New Buffalo, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois, four passengers were forced to abandon their boat when it caught fire due to mechanical or electrical problems. According to the Chicago Tribune, the fatal boat accident occurred six miles from shore. Two passengers were not found, and two passengers were discovered and pulled from the water by the Coast Guard. Only one survived. The mother of one of the victims has filed a lawsuit against the boat service provider for failing to maintain and repair the boat.
The lawsuit claims that the company was negligent in its duty and should be held financially liable for the boating malfunction that led to the wrongful death of the woman’s daughter.
Illinois’ wrongful death law
According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, an action, neglect or default of a person or company that leads to the death of an individual is grounds for a lawsuit to recover damages. A negligence suit is based on the claim that the defendant failed to act with the care a rational person would demonstrate in a similar situation. For example, if a reasonable inspection and maintenance of a water craft would have revealed a potential mechanical problem, then a victim’s family might be able to hold the boat owner responsible.
According to the United States Coast Guard, nearly 300 accidents were caused by machinery failure in 2013, placing it among the top five causes of boating accidents for that year. Most of those instances occurred because of engine or electrical failure.
Every state’s statutes regarding aspects of wrongful death vary. A Chicago personal injury attorney could explain that here in Illinois, a parent may sue a company for the death of an adult child if the company’s negligent actions led to the fatal accident. Awards are determined by the court, and they may include damages for grief, sorrow and mental suffering, as well as punitive damages.
A person or a company can be sued for negligence, but the person who sues must prove that the failure to act was directly related to the events that brought about the fatality. An Illinois resident who has lost a family member due to another’s negligent act should contact a Chicago personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to ensure that no vital evidence is lost.