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Boating Under the Influence Crash

According to the United States Coast Guard, alcohol is among the leading causes of serious boat injuries in the country. Taking the right steps after a boat crash caused by an intoxicated boater can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and more. One of the most important tasks after a boating accident is to speak to an experienced boat accident attorney with Stewart Law Offices who can explain more during a free consultation. Contact us today to get started.

How Can a Boating Accident Lawyer Help?

Many injury victims of South and North Carolina boat accidents make the mistake of attempting to handle compensation claims without legal representation. These individuals often end up feeling frustrated and disappointed as the insurance company employs tactics to minimize or reject the claim. Working with an attorney who has experience handling boat accident claims can maximize your chances of receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve.

A knowledgeable and skilled attorney from our law firm can:

  • Provide you with a free case evaluation to listen to your story and help you understand what compensation might be available in your case
  • Handle all communications with the insurance company to protect you from their tactics
  • Conduct a full investigation into the boat crash to determine what occurred and identify all liable parties
  • Calculate the total value of your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering
  • Strategize and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed under North Carolina or South Carolina law
  • Provide regular updates about significant developments in each stage of the claims process

At Stewart Law Offices, we believe our results speak for themselves. In our many years of representing victims of recreational boating accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other personal injury cases, our team has secured numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements.* Case results vary. Prior results are no guarantee of future case outcomes. Contact our experienced team for help with your North or South Carolina boating accident case.

What Are the Dangers of Drinking While Boating?

Drinking alcohol while operating a boat is extremely dangerous and puts passengers, other boaters, and nearby swimmers at risk. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction time on the water. Dangers of drinking while boating include:

  • Lack of coordination and control over the boat due to impaired motor skills
  • Poor judgment and decision-making, like boating too fast or recklessly
  • Difficulty assessing the distance and speed of other boats
  • Slower reaction time and inability to respond quickly to avoid collisions
  • Reduced peripheral vision, night vision, and depth perception
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention to surroundings

The effects of alcohol are exacerbated on a boat due to factors like sun, wind, noise, and the rocking motion of the water.

What Are South Carolina and North Carolina Rules Around Drinking While Boating?

South Carolina law makes it illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol. If the amount of alcohol a boater has consumed affects their capacity to operate the boat, they may face boating under the influence (BUI) charges. A first conviction could involve 48 hours to 30 days in jail and a fine of $200, with penalties increasing upon subsequent convictions.

In North Carolina, BUI is also an offense if the boater has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over 0.08 percent. Offenders face fines starting at $250 and up to 60 days in jail. However, these penalties increase significantly if the intoxicated boater causes an accident that results in injury or death.

In addition to these criminal penalties, victims of BUI crashes can seek to recover damages they suffered because of the at-fault party’s negligence.

Who Is Responsible for a Boating Under the Influence Crash?

If you are injured in a boating accident caused by an intoxicated operator, multiple parties may share liability depending on the circumstances:

  • The drunk boat operator is most directly liable as they chose to operate the vessel while impaired.
  • The boat owner can be responsible if they allowed or negligently entrusted their boat to someone who was clearly intoxicated.
  • Marinas, yacht clubs, restaurants, or bars might be liable if they continued serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated boater.

Our legal team can investigate your case and identify all parties who share responsibility for your injuries.

Compensation for Victims of Boating Under the Influence Crashes

Victims of a North Carolina or South Carolina boat accident that results from BUI may be eligible for compensation, including:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses
  • Lost income due to missed time at work
  • Reduced earning capacity if injuries force you to take a lower-paying job or you are permanently disabled
  • Damages to your personal watercraft
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Some victims of a boat accident in South Carolina or North Carolina may also be eligible to recover punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish offenders whose actions were willful, reckless, malicious, or fraudulent. After reviewing your case, a lawyer can advise you on seeking compensation.

Steps to Take After a Boating Under the Influence Crash

If you are involved in an accident caused by a drunk boater, taking the following actions can help protect your health and legal rights:

  • Stop the boat immediately and check on all passengers for potential injuries. Call 911 for emergency medical assistance if needed. Administer first aid while waiting for help.
  • Report the accident to the appropriate boating authorities. Provide details on the time, location, involved boats, damage, and any reason to suspect alcohol was a factor. Report the accident to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources or the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
  • If another boater was involved, exchange information with that person. Get their name, contact info, and insurance details. Take photos of their boat and damage.
  • Document the scene with photos and video as soon as possible, as the situation on the water can change quickly. Get images of property damage, passenger injuries, and alcohol containers.
  • Speak with a qualified boating under the influence attorney about your case. They can determine available insurance coverage and communicate with liable parties while you focus on your recovery.

Call Stewart Law Offices for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Have you suffered injuries in a boating accident? The attorneys at Stewart Law Offices understand the medical, financial, and emotional challenges you are facing and are ready to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve so you can move on with dignity. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.