Jet Ski Accidents and Injury Lawsuits

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

illinois jet ski injury lawyer

With the warmer months approaching, people are once again going to start taking advantage of Lake Michigan, the Fox River, the Chain of Lakes and other inland waterways. Among the many popular waterfront activities available are the use of jet skis, also known as personal watercrafts (PWCs). While these PWCs are a fun way to spend a summer afternoon, they can also turn dangerous if riders do not take proper precautions. In fact, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, hundreds of people each year are killed or injured in PWC accidents. Many of these accidents are caused by careless PWC operators, but there are also other people who could be held responsible.

Responsibility for Jet Ski Accidents

The majority of lawsuits related to jet ski accidents proceed against the PWC’s driver based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal doctrine that requires people to pay for harm that they caused through their own carelessness. Common negligent causes of PWC accidents include excessive speed, distracted boating, and operating a PWC while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, more people than just the operator of the jet ski could be responsible for the crash. For instance, many companies rent PWCs to tourists or beachgoers. These companies are responsible for properly maintaining their jet skis and making sure that the people to whom they rent are competent pilots. A failure to fulfill either of these requirements could make them liable for damage that their jet skis cause.

Courts may also hold the manufacturers of the jet ski in question responsible for harm that comes to users. This would happen under the products liability doctrine, which requires companies to pay for dangerous products that they make. There are several types of flaws that could give rise to a products liability lawsuit: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failures to warn:

  • Design defects occur when the producer of the jet ski fails to design it safely enough. For instance, a jet ski designed so that a hot wire next to the gas tank presents a fire risk might qualify as a design defect.

  • Manufacturing defects occur when the company designs the PWC properly, but fails to build it to the right specifications. A flawed manufacturing process that led to the jet ski having a leaking hull could be a manufacturing defect.

  • Failures to warn are slightly different. Rather than resulting from an inherent danger in the product, they arise when the manufacturer fails to warn the user about a possible danger in the product or fails to provide enough instructions about the safe way to use the device.

If you have been injured in an accident with a PWC, seek the counsel of a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney. They can examine your specific case and identify different parties who may be responsible for your injuries. Our firm helps clients in a variety of northwest suburban towns including Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, and Inverness.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Collisions in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 06, 2014

illinois pedestrian bicycle accident attorneyPedestrians walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street know to watch out for cars, but many are unaware of just how dangerous a passing bicycle can be and what to do in the event that they end up in an accident with a bike. Collisions between bikes and pedestrians are surprisingly dangerous and more common than many people expect. While exact numbers are difficult to find, since many bike accidents go unreported, a study from Hunter College estimates that over 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized each year for injuries resulting from bike collisions in New York State alone.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of understanding on by both cyclists and pedestrians about what rules of the road bikes must obey. This leads to confusion on the part of the pedestrian about what the cyclists will to do in any given situation. The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a good guide regarding how traffic laws apply to bikes, but the rule of thumb is that a bicycle in the street must obey all laws that any other vehicle would, and a bicyclist on the sidewalk must obey the laws and signals used by pedestrians.

Harm from Bicycle Accidents

While bicycles lack the mass and speed of a car, they can still do serious harm to unprotected pedestrians in an accident. Some of the most common severe injuries that result from these sorts of accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Pedestrians can develop these types of injuries if they suffer a hard blow to the head after a bike knocks them down. The most common symptom of a TBI is a concussion, but they can also result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, seizures, and even coma in more serious cases. Bike accidents can also frequently cause broken bones, depending on the speed at which they happen and the way the pedestrian falls.

What to Do after a Bicycle Accident

The steps to take after a bicycle accident are similar to those that follow a car crash: make sure everyone is ok, call for medical attention if necessary, alert the police, and exchange information with the other party. The major difference is that bike accidents are more prone to turning into hit-and-runs. While bicyclists are obliged to stay at the scene of an accident just like drivers, many do not realize that they have that duty, and some who do know choose to flee the scene anyway. The best course of action here is to get as much identifying information about the fleeing cyclist as possible, and then make a report to the police.

If you have been the victim of a pedestrian versus bicycle accident, reach out to an Illinois personal injury attorney today. They can help you seek the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Our firm lends its experience and knowledge to clients across the northwest suburbs, in places such as Inverness, Deer Park, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Motorcycle Crashes in Illinois: How to Stay Safe and What to If You Can’t

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Motorcycle crashes represent a particularly dangerous brand of traffic accident, often with far more serious injuries than a typical car wreck. A report issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation stated that, even though motorcycle accidents made up only 1.6 percent of total crashes in Illinois, the proportion of the total crashes that involved a fatality shoots up to 16.7 percent. With accidents that are so often so dangerous, riders should know what steps they can take to keep safe, as well what they should do in the unfortunate event that they end up involved in a serious accident.

How to Drive Safe

As with all motor vehicles, following the rules of the road, and practicing defensive driving are key to a safe, enjoyable ride. However, Illinois law places restrictions on riders beyond those of a normal car. Illinois law requires:

  • • The use of the bike’s headlights at all times, regardless of weather conditions or light levels;
  • • Motorcyclists to refrain from lane splitting, or driving between two lanes of traffic;
  • • Proper seats and footrests if the motorcycle is carrying a passenger;
  • • Insurance coverage similar to that required of automobiles.

  • Riders can also take further steps to ensure that they stay safe. Helmets, while not required by law in Illinois, can decrease the likelihood or severity of head trauma, a common cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Additionally, regular bike maintenance can decrease incidence of equipment failure mid-ride, which makes getting into an accident less likely.

    What to do After an Accident

    The steps to take after a motorcycle accident very much resemble those taken after a car crash:

    1. 1. Check on everyone involved in the crash to see if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
    2. 2. Call 9-1-1, to inform them of the accident; do this even if no one has been seriously hurt, since you should still report the accident to the police.
    3. 3. Collect as much contact information as you can from the other people involved in the crash, especially a phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information
    4. 4. Document the scene of the accident. If you have a camera or a camera-phone handy, get pictures of the scene, as well as the individual vehicles involved. If you don’t have a camera available, try to take some pictures of the damage to your bike once you get home.
    5. 5. After you have spoken with the police and made your report, contact your insurance company to report the accident. They may ask you for an interview to provide them with the details of the accident. Make sure not to provide this information without first consulting with an attorney.

    If you have recently been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney today. Call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member our team today. We serve the northwest suburbs of Chicago including Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and other nearby communities.

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