Columbia Boating Accident Lawyer
Each year, hundreds of people are seriously injured in boating and water accidents in Columbia and surrounding areas of South Carolina. Whether it’s a minor injury, a fatality, or anything in between, the fact is that people should be held accountable when their negligent actions lead to serious boat accidents.
At Stewart Law Offices, our Columbia personal injury attorney understands how frustrating it can be to deal with insurance companies while you’re struggling to recover from a serious and painful injury. This is precisely what our attorneys are here for ─ to take some of that pressure off you. So give us a call today, and let one of our Columbia boating accident attorneys answer your questions and offer practical solutions for seeking the compensation that you need to recover.
Why Do You Need an Injury Lawyer for a Boating Accident?
In general, if you are not hurt and have no medical expenses due to your injury, it may not be necessary to hire an attorney. However, if you have any injuries for which you are losing time from work or seeing doctors, then you should strongly consider talking to one of our experienced Columbia boating accident attorneys.
Here are some of the ways that our respected Columbia personal injury law firm may be able to help with your boat accident:
Determine the facts. One of the toughest parts of any injury case is finding evidence and proving liability. When you hire a skilled boat accident lawyer from our firm, you can rest assured that we will:
- Talk to all witnesses about what they saw
- Look for video and photo evidence
- Obtain police and marine patrol records
- Review your medical records
- Discuss your case with medical professionals and other specially trained consultants
Manage all discussions with insurance adjusters. We try to make the process as simple as possible for our clients. This includes lifting yet another heavy weight off your shoulders. You should not have to deal with the pain and suffering of your injury and the necessary recovery process, while also having to deal with medical collections and insurance adjusters. Our team can handle that for you.
Negotiate aggressively during settlement talks. Insurance companies have the resources to be very aggressive in their tactics. More often than not, the insurance company views your injury as nothing but a loss. So they look for ways to reduce or even eliminate your claim right from the start. It’s just part of how the insurance game is played. Our knowledgeable Columbia boat accident attorneys understand what it takes to build a strong claim for full and fair compensation, and we negotiate from a position of strength.
Provide skilled litigation counsel. Although most boat accident cases settle, there are times when a trial may be necessary. Our skilled litigators will be prepared to fight for you all the way to verdict if that’s what is necessary.
When Would A Written Boating Accident Report Be Required?
There are times when a boating accident requires a formal report. In general, a report is required in any of the following circumstances:
- There is damage to a vessel.
- A person suffers an injury requiring medical care beyond first aid.
- There is a fatality.
- A person falls overboard and cannot be located.
A boating accident report must be filed in a timely manner. For the most part, this means:
- Within 10 days for accidents involving property damage only
- Within 48 hours of any incident involving death or injury
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a boating accident and needs legal advice about what to do next, please contact us today. We can explain your rights in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents happen for many reasons. Generally, when accidents occur on lakes and rivers throughout South Carolina, the underlying causes can be traced back to inexperienced boat operators, alcohol consumption, or a failure to follow South Carolina boating regulations or safety rules. Here are a few common examples:
- Intoxicated operators
- Distracted operators
- Operators without training or experience
- Reckless operation or horseplay
- Running aground
- Lack of proper safety equipment (life vests, etc.)
- Falls overboard
- Failing to check the stern before turning on the engine (propeller injuries)
What Compensation Is Available for Victims of Boating Accidents?
After a boating accident, a victim may recover compensation from the negligent or careless individual who caused their injuries. Compensation can include:
- Medical bills and treatment costs (past, current and future)
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of wages
- Reduced earning capacity in the future
- Pain and suffering
Wrongful Death Compensation After a Boat Accident
If you have lost a loved one in a boating accident, you may be able to pursue financial compensation through a wrongful death claim. Compensation may include:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of emotional support and companionship
- Final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
Filing a Boating Accident Claim Under South Carolina Law
After a serious boat accident, you may be dealing with expensive medical treatments, trying to make numerous doctors’ appointments, following up with specialists for surgeries and other treatments, trying to catch multiple phone calls, and doing it all while suffering from physical pain. If you are wondering what to do after a boating accident in South Carolina, the easiest answer is to get a highly trained and skilled boating accident lawyer on your side right away.
Here are some of the basic steps for protecting your right to a personal injury claim after a boating accident in South Carolina:
Get medical attention fast. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the harder it will be to prove your case.
Report the accident to the authorities. Depending on where the accident or injury took place, you may need to contact several different law enforcement agencies. These might be sheriff’s offices, marine patrol, state conservation or fish and wildlife officers, or even state or local police departments. A single call to any one of them should get you the information you need in order to make the report to the correct agency.
Contact an experienced boat accident attorney. Once you are represented by an attorney from Stewart Law Offices, a member of our team can begin gathering crucial evidence to support your case.
Notify the insurance company. Your attorney will contact the appropriate insurance carrier to begin the claims process and manage all communication from there. If contacted, you should not give a recorded statement or sign anything from an insurance company without discussing it with your lawyer.
File a boat accident lawsuit within the time limit. Every state has statutes of limitations for various types of legal claims. These are designed to protect defendants from unlimited liability, while also giving injured people enough time to reasonably build their case and try to resolve differences out of court. But if you miss the deadline, there is no fixing it. In South Carolina, you have just three years from the date of your injury to bring a lawsuit against the individual and/or company that is responsible for hurting you. If you lost a loved one, you will have just three years from the date of their death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing a Boating Accident Claim Under Maritime Law
There are other rules and laws in place to protect injured people who are involved in maritime injuries while offshore. In fact, there are numerous federal admiralty laws and even foreign treaties that apply to injuries offshore, depending on your status and relationship to the vessel. For instance:
Seamen. If you are employed on a ship at sea, you may be covered by the Jones Act, which has a general three-year statute of limitations. However, there are notice requirements and other rules that make it almost imperative that you take action far sooner.
Guests and passengers. Injured passengers at sea generally have three years to file a claim for compensation. To succeed at obtaining compensation, injured people must show that the vessel’s ownership failed to maintain the vessel in a reasonably safe condition and that it led to the injuries.
Death on the high seas. People who have lost loved ones at sea may recover compensation under the federal law known as the Death on the High Seas Act, which also provides a three-year statute of limitations.
In all of these scenarios, however, you should be forewarned that there may be significant reasons to speak to a lawyer early. Sometimes limitations periods are not what they seem. For instance, some cruise line companies have mandatory arbitration agreements and shorter time limits placed in the contract you signed when you got your ticket.
Types of Boating Accidents
At Stewart Law Offices, we routinely help people with their personal injury claims. Examples of boating accidents we may be able to help with include:
- Accidents on rivers and lakes
- Defective boats or boat parts
- Drunk boating accidents
- Fatal boat accidents
- Propeller injuries
- Open sea accidents
- Cruise ship injuries
- Charter boat accidents
- Jet ski accidents
Even if you don’t necessarily see your specific type of injury or accident listed, there’s a good chance we can help. Give our team a call to schedule a free consultation, and get the answers you need now.