Passenger vehicles have been equipped with scores of different features and safety items in an effort to protect their occupants from harm in the case of an auto accident. However, very little has been done to protect the safety and well-being of those who ride on boats. Which is unfortunate, because even low-speed boat accidents can be deadly.
That point was illustrated this past weekend on the portion of the Mississippi River that runs between Illinois and Iowa. Around 6am Saturday morning, a boat carrying seven duck hunters launched from Muscatine, Iowa on the first day of duck hunting season. The boat was heading for a duck blind when it struck an anchored buoy in Illinois’ Rock Island County. Four of the men were transported to an Iowa City hospital in serious condition. Another was rushed to a Davenport hospital with undisclosed injuries. (One report listed a nine-year old boy among the occupants.) But two men – a 42-year old from Canton, Illinois and a 50-year old from Davenport, Iowa – died as a result of their injuries. The Canton man was thrown out of the boat, while the Iowa man was ejected into the buoy.
Authorities have not determined precisely what caused the Illinois boat accident, but witnesses noted that the weather was very foggy at the time of the crash. Some officials opined that the occupants of the boat may have been in a hurry to get to the duck blind on the opening day of the season.
If it turns out that the driver of the boat is at fault in the deadly boat accident, surviving family members of the two deceased men would likely have solid grounds to file wrongful death lawsuits in Rock Island County. The other victims could also choose to file personal injury lawsuits against the driver. If you or your loved one were involved in an accident involving a watercraft, it’s important to speak with an Illinois boat accident lawyer.