Boating Accident Lawyer South Carolina
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 Murray, 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 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.
Most Common Causes of Boating Injury
According to the Coast Guard data, the top five causes of boat accidents are:
- Alcohol: Intoxication is the leading cause of death while boating.
- Operator inattention: People are out on the water to have fun, but boat operators still have a job to do. Inattention is the leading cause of boat accident injuries.
- Improper lookout: Like inattention, improper lookout means failing to keep an eye on the surroundings and/or failing to appoint someone else to serve as a lookout for hazards. Both the boat operator and/or the lookout could be responsible for any injuries or deaths resulting from an improper lookout accident.
- Machinery failure: Boats are complex machines that should be built safely and maintained well. If a defective part fails and causes a crash, the manufacturer of the equipment could be held liable. A boat’s owner could also be held liable if regular boat maintenance was not performed and caused the machinery to fail.
- Speeding: Going fast in a boat can be a thrill, but it also makes it hard for the operator or lookout to keep track of the surroundings. Speeding could result in deadly collisions with neighboring vessels, jet skis, swimmers, kayakers, and others.
Other common causes of boating accidents include:
- Machinery failure
- Defective equipment
- Propeller problems
- Navigation rules violations
- Restricted vision
- Failure to vent
- Sharp turn
- Drug use
- Hazardous waters
Who Is Liable for a Boating Accident?
Like with other motorized vehicle accidents, a negligent operator of a boat is usually liable for boating accidents. However, there are some situations when other parties may be responsible for accidents, such as:
- Employers – An employer can be responsible if an employee is operating a boat negligently while working.
- Manufacturers – If a boat or boat component is defective, the manufacturer may be responsible.
- Government – In some instances, the government responsible for maintaining navigable waters may be responsible for accidents, such as when failing to warn boat operators of dangers or if a government worker negligently navigates a boat.
Boat Accidents Statistics and Causes
Boating is a beloved tradition in the Carolinas. Sadly, it’s also a recreational activity that can turn deadly when people don’t act responsibly.
The latest data from the U.S. Coast Guard reports that there were 4,145 boating accidents nationwide in a recent year, leading to 633 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries. Disturbingly, North Carolina had the third-highest number of boat crashes, falling only behind Florida and Missouri.
Statistics also reveal that the top causes of boating accidents are primarily the result of negligence or a reckless action (or failure to act) that puts others in danger. People who are hurt or killed due to negligence may be entitled to financial compensation through a boating injury claim.
How a Boating Incident Lawyer Can Help
Boat accident claims are also called maritime claims. Cases involving violations that occur on navigable waters can be argued in state or federal court. Successful claims can result in much-needed compensation to help families with medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Because maritime claims involve both United States and international law, it’s highly recommended that you work with an experienced attorney who can determine your legal options and provide guidance about what your next steps should be. At Stewart Law Offices, our boat accident lawyers can evaluate the facts and seek maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
What Is the Deadline to Make a Claim for Boating Accidents?
Each state has a deadline to file certain types of legal actions. This is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in South Carolina is three years for personal injuries. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in North Carolina is also three years.
What Are Some Major Laws Surrounding Boating Accidents?
Boat operators in South Carolina must follow strict rules surrounding the safe operation of boats. If they violate these laws, they may be subject to fines, the revocation of their boating license, and even jail time. Some South Carolina boating regulations include:
- Operators cannot operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Each boat must contain one U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device for each person on board.
- Boats must use navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.
- Operators cannot exceed idle speed within 50 feet of an anchored vessel, dock, wharf, pier, or person in the water. Additionally, operators cannot exceed idle speed within 100 yards of the Atlantic coastline.
- Boats operated in coastal waters must carry flares.
- Operators must report any accident that results in the loss of life, injury, unconsciousness, or medical treatment to the Department of Natural Resources.
- Boats must carry a sound-producing device or bell and whistle, depending on the size of the boat.
Contact A Proven Boat Accident Attorney
North Carolina and South Carolina are home to beautiful bodies of water and sea. With five offices across the Carolinas, Stewart Law Offices is well-positioned to help clients injured in boating accidents in both states. We understand how devastating these collisions can be, and we’re here to help you pick up the pieces by holding the negligent party(s) accountable for their recklessness.
Schedule a free consultation with a maritime attorney at Stewart Law Offices. You can call, chat with us live, or fill out an online contact form today.
Were you or someone you love harmed while boating in the Carolinas? If so, the hardworking North Carolina and South Carolina boat accident attorneys at Stewart Law Offices can help.