Helping South Carolina Boating Accident Victims
Were you or a loved one injured in a South Carolina boating accident? If the accident was due to someone else's negligence, Clay Hopkins is here to assist you in receiving all the monetary compensation you deserve.
With over 8,000 miles of rivers, 460,000 acres of pristine lakes, and 3,000 miles of coastline, South Carolina residents and visitors enjoy water-skiing, fishing, boating, and other water activities. However, South Carolina boat accidents happen frequently, and its important you understand your rights.
While most boating trips are safe and everyone has a good time without incident, boating accidents can and do happen. In fact, the United States Coast Guard reports that there were a total of 4,588 boating accidents throughout the U.S. in recent years. These accidents caused around $52 million in property damage, and 3,081 people were injured and 758 people killed.
When accidents happen on the water in South Carolina, you are at risk for drowning, suffering severe injuries, or death. The vast majority of those who were killed – a full 70 percent on the national level – died from drowning. In any type of boating incident, a person could potentially drown. This is especially true when the boater is not wearing a life jacket.
Boating accidents are much more likely to occur when the boat operator has not had adequate safety instruction. In one year, the Coast Guard reported that almost 90 percent of the fatalities occurred aboard boats where the owner had not reviewed safety instructions.
Around 93 percent of the fatal boating accidents happened on boats operated by people who had not taken an approved safety course that had been certified by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
How do Boating Accidents Happen?
Boating accidents can happen as a result of mistakes made by people who try to operate a boat without proper instruction and knowledge of boat safety, but this is just one cause of accidents.
The U.S. Coast Guard has made a list of common causes of boating accidents, including:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Improper lookout or failure to observe others on the waterways
- Broken or insufficient onboard navigation lights
- Failure to properly ventilate the boat or boating equipment
- Operator distraction or inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Failure to observe right-of-way rules or other boating rules
- Obstructed or restricted vision
- Sharp or unsafe turns
- Improperly starting the boat while it is in gear
- Failure to anchor the boat properly
- Overloading the boat or incorrect weight distribution
- Problems with boating equipment, including hull or machinery failure
- Crowded waters
- Hazardous water
- Storms or bad weather
In many instances, those operating boats could prevent an accident by obeying the law and exercising a reasonable degree of care. When a boater fails to behave responsibly, he or she may be held legally liable for the resulting injuries.
Compensation for Boating Injuries
Every boater has a duty to obey boating safety rules and to exercise reasonable caution. This duty is owed to passengers and others on the water. A victim can show that someone fell short of this obligation by proving that the boater was more careless than a reasonable person would have been in a similar situation. Showing that the boater violated safety laws may also help prove that you are owed compensation.
Typically, boaters have insurance to cover the damages they cause, so you should not worry about bringing a claim against a friend or relative if you got hurt on his or her boat.
Boating accidents around Charleston, Georgetown, Pawleys Island, Myrtle Beach, and the rest of South Carolina often result in catastrophic injuries. The legal term for any type of harm or loss resulting from someone else's wrongdoing is “damages,” and in South Carolina, you can seek compensation to cover all those losses, which may include:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (if the at fault driver was reckless/boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
Contact a South Carolina Boating Accident Lawyer
The number one tip for protecting your legal rights after this type of accident is to contact an experienced South Carolina boating accident lawyer – even for a free consultation. Don't give a statement to insurance companies or speak to adjusters until you've consulted with an attorney. Remember, insurance companies are not in the business of paying out claims, and if they can spin your words to reduce the amount of your claim, they will.
If you've been hurt on a boat or a loved one has been killed from a boating accident, you should contact the Hopkins Law Firm for a free case review and evaluation. Our South Carolina boating accident attorneys are highly rated and have the experience and resources needed to ensure that you get justice and the compensation allowed under the law. Call or text us today at 843-314-4202 so that we can properly secure your legal rights following your boating accident.