South Carolina Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating Wreck Lawyers
Were you hurt in an accident while out on the water? If the accident was someone else’s fault, the boating accident lawyers at Stewart Law Offices are ready to help you seek the compensation you deserve. If you were hurt on Lake Wylie, Lake Norman, or any other body of water in South Carolina, we are prepared to stand up for your legal rights.
According to the United States Coast Guard (USCG), there were 4,291 recreational boating accidents in a single recent year. These accidents resulted in 658 deaths and 2,600 injuries. When an accident happens on the water, victims are not only at risk of severe injury or death due to the collision, but they also are in danger of drowning. In fact, drowning was cited as the cause of three out of four boat accident deaths.
If you were hurt or if you lost a loved one in a boating accident caused by the reckless or negligent actions of someone else, our team wants to help you. You deserve aggressive legal representation to seek the compensation that will help you rebuild your life. You need a team that understands the law and has handled maritime law claims in the past.
Turn to the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices for help if you were hurt in a boating accident. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling us or filling out a contact form today.
How a Lawyer Can Help After a Boating Accident
Maritime law (also referred to as admiralty law) combines United States and international law and covers injuries, torts, contracts, and other offenses that occur on navigable waters. Navigable waters are bodies of water that connect to the ocean, intrastate lakes, rivers, and streams.
Maritime claims can be argued in either state or federal court. They could be decided by a jury or could be handled as a bench trial, which involves arguing the case in front of a judge without a jury present. An experienced maritime lawyer will understand which scenario is right for your case and will work to seek the most favorable outcome possible.
When selecting an attorney to represent you, it is important to consider their education, training, and experience. You need an attorney who has a background in maritime and admiralty law to handle your case properly and pursue the results you deserve.
Compensation for Injuries in a Boating Accident
If you were hurt in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could be owed significant compensation. If your attorney can show that a boat operator failed to operate the vessel in a reasonably safe manner and their actions caused you harm, you could be able to recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages from time missed from work
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
If someone dies in a boating accident, the surviving family members could file a wrongful death claim to secure compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Medical expenses relating to the final injury
- Loss of consortium
Boating accidents often result in severe or even fatal injuries. If the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, the injured parties may have a right to seek full and fair compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.
Who Can Be Responsible for a Boating Accident?
Just like drivers of passenger and commercial vehicles on land, boat operators are responsible for the safety of their passengers and others on the water. They have a legal duty of care to operate the vessel responsibly. If they behave carelessly or recklessly, they could be held liable for any injuries they cause.
Individuals who are hurt in a boating accident may file a personal injury claim against the parties responsible for their injuries and damaged property. Liable parties could include, for example:
- Inattentive or distracted boat operators
- Boat operators who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Boat operators who do not have a valid license
- Vessel owners who allow unlicensed drivers to operate the watercraft
- Inexperienced boat operators
- Manufacturers and distributors of defective parts and equipment
- Mechanics and repair shops who failed to fix broken components
Common Causes of Boat Accidents
Boating accidents can happen in a wide variety of ways. Collisions between two vessels and collisions with objects like rocks, jetties, buoys, and other fixed objects are common. Boats may also run aground on reefs or rocks, and they may sink or capsize as a result. Sudden changes in speed or direction can throw passengers overboard.
Some of the most common causes of boat accidents include:
- Operator inattention
- Lack of experience
- Improper lookout
- Failure to follow navigation rules
- Inclement weather
- Traveling in hazardous waters
- Wakes and waves
- Fires or explosions onboard
- Equipment failure
Types of Boat Accident Cases We Handle
In the aftermath of a boating accident, victims are often left to deal with mounting medical bills, financial stress and strain, and pain and emotional anguish. Fortunately, the law allows victims of accidents caused by a reckless or negligent act to seek compensation for their losses.
The maritime attorneys of Stewart Law Offices have experience helping victims and their families recover compensation for accidents involving a wide variety of watercraft such as:
- Wakeboard and ski boats
- Fishing boats
- Personal watercraft (PWC) – also known as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, or water scooters
- Pontoon boats
- Banana boats
Our South Carolina boat accident lawyers will provide you with a free consultation to review your case and answer any questions you may have. If you are unable to come to our offices because you are recovering from your injuries, we will come to you in the hospital or at your home when possible.
What to Do After a Boating Accident
According to the boating handbook for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, any operator who is involved in a boating accident must:
- Stop the vessel immediately at the scene.
- Render aid to anyone who is hurt or is in danger, unless doing so would endanger their vessel and passengers.
- Give all individuals involved in the accident their name, address, contact information, and vessel identification.
- Notify the SCDNR immediately by calling 1-800-922-5431.
In a serious injury accident, emergency medical personnel should be contacted immediately. Even if you do not believe that you were seriously hurt at first, it is still a good idea to seek medical attention. Some injuries are not immediately apparent but may surface in the days and weeks following an accident.
If you need to file an injury claim against a negligent boat operator or another party, you’ll need evidence to support your case. After a boat accident, you should immediately start collecting evidence that will help any future claims you need to make. Some of the critical evidence you should gather includes:
- Pictures of the scene – Be sure to take as many pictures as possible of the vessels involved and the overall scene. Get photos of the point of impact, crash damage, any hazards the rails or deck, hazards in the water, and any injuries you have suffered. Also, if you notice liquor bottles, beer bottles, or drug paraphernalia, be sure to get pictures of that as well.
- Incident report – If the Coast Guard or other authorities are called to the scene, be sure to get a copy of their official incident report. The report will have the officer’s account of the accident, as well as any citations that were issued at the scene.
- Witness information and statements – If anyone witnessed the accident, be sure to get their contact information and a statement from them immediately.
Contact an Experienced Boating Accident Lawyer
The boating accident lawyers of Stewart Law Offices are here to help you seek the compensation and justice you deserve. When someone else’s negligence causes you harm, you should not have to pay out of pocket for what they’ve done.
To schedule your free, confidential consultation with a knowledgeable maritime attorney, contact us by phone, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form on our website today.