Accidents that occur on personal water crafts and pleasure crafts are more often than not the result of someone’s negligence. They can be the result of unfavorable weather conditions that were ignored by boaters or mechanical failure that was overlooked, but they can also be the result of someone’s wrongdoing. Boating and water craft accidents can occur due to pilot inexperience, distraction, failure to properly read maritime signals, and most commonly, BUI.
BUI, or Boating Under the Influence, is a serious crime. Just like DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, can lead to severe penalties for motorists found driving while intoxicated, boaters or those operating water crafts like jet skis who are found to be intoxicated can face severe consequences for their actions, including having to pay expensive fines and fees, being ordered to attend rehab, losing their boating license, or worst of all, being sent to prison.
When BUI accidents actually involve more than just the physical damage to a vessel, penalties will undoubtedly be much more severe. If someone was hurt as a result of another person’s intoxication, those found guilty of such an act may be required to spend several years in jail. However, the most drastic penalties ensure following a BUI manslaughter conviction.
This is precisely what a 40-year-old Illinois man is facing following a fatal boating accident that he allegedly caused on the Mississippi River. Jury selection is scheduled to begin for the trial to decide whether the man will be found guilty.
The accused, Kent Hoffman, of Galena, Illinois, has also been charged with operating a boat while intoxicated, causing a fatal accident. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
According to authorities, Hoffman was operating a boat that crashed into another vessel in Schmidt Harbor, in Dubuque, on the night of Sept. 1. The pilot of the other boat, 45-year-old James Sutton, of Maquoketa, Iowa, was killed. Lori Fey, a passenger in Sutton’s boat, was not seriously injured.
When a tragic accident of this level occurs, it is important for surviving victims and their loved ones to know that they have a right to seek legal assistance. Our experienced boating accident attorneys know just how devastating any maritime crash can be, especially if the incident results in someone’s death or life-altering injuries. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is committed to protecting the rights of those who were wronged by the negligence and crimes of another and will fight to procure justice for all of our clients.
If you or someone you know was hurt or killed in an accident at sea, in a lake, river, or in port, contact our boating accident lawyers today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and determine the best approach to filing a maritime claim.
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