Many people cherish time spent on the water for travel, sports, and recreational boating activities. Although boating is among the safest pastime experiences, sometimes accidents occur. You may be left with severe injuries and other damages through no fault of your own.
If you or your loved ones are injured this type of accident, you can reach out to a boat accident lawyer in West Columbia for legal assistance. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us for more details on filing an injury claim.
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Boat Accidents Are Unfortunately Common in South Carolina
Over 4,100 boat accidents were reported in 2018, resulting in 633 deaths and slightly over 2,500 injuries. The boat accidents also led to the destruction of properties worth more than $46 million. Furthermore, an estimated 77% of the accident victims drowned. Most of those who drowned did not have life jackets.
Studies also reveal that less than 20% of deaths resulting from boating accidents occur on vessels operated by individuals with a safe boating certificate. Operators without proper safety instructions and qualifications cause over 74% of deaths connected to boating accidents.
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Causes of Boat Accidents
While rough waters and bad weather conditions can cause boat accidents, they are not the leading causes. Statistics reveal that most boating misfortunes occur during favorable weather conditions, such as clear visibility, calm winds, and still waters.
According to the United States Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, the most common causes of boat accidents include:
- Inattentive operators
- Improper lookout
- Inexperienced operators
- Failure of machinery
- Excessive speed
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has been compiling a wide array of statistics and analysis concerning accidents resulting from recreational boating activities.
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Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Defined
BUI refers to the habit of consuming alcohol and other intoxicating substances before operating a water vessel. Alcohol impacts the body by altering:
Many boating accident fatalities are linked to hazardous alcohol consumption when operating vessels. State laws prohibit vessels’ operation under the influence of substances, but negligent people ignore the warnings.
The existing Coast Guard Laws carry a severe penalty for those caught operating vessels while intoxicated. When you get involved in this type of accident, our boat accident lawyers in West Columbia will also consider this factor as a basis for your claim.
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How to Protect Your Claim After a Boat Accident
Unless caused by negligence, most accidents are unpreventable. Even responsible vessel operators experience accidents. Despite the traumatic experiences associated with boat accidents, there are a few things that you can do to save lives, reduce the damage of properties, and safeguard your claim.
The essential steps you can take after a boat accident include:
- Ensuring all passengers are safe because saving lives is the most significant priority at the time of accidents
- Checking to ascertain that all passengers are wearing life vests, and you should also wear one to minimize the chances of drowning
- Contacting authorities and medical personnel for an emergency rescue mission
- Calling 911 or using a VHF radio to reach channel 16 to call for help
- Getting a personal injury lawyer to start your claim’s process
Gathering Evidence for Your Compensation
Whether you are a boat operator or a passenger involved in a boating accident, you have to gather sufficient evidence to ensure you can claim compensation afterward. Collect information from the accident site for medical, legal, and insurance purposes.
The vital information to collect includes:
- Operator’s contact if another boat was involved
- Make of the vessel
- Registration number of the vessel
- Time and place of the accident
- Photos and videos of the scene
- Contacts of any eyewitnesses
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we offer comprehensive guidelines that will help you in the process of collecting information and evidence necessary to build a case. We understand that the steps are vital in advancing a convincing liability case and strengthening your chances of receiving maximum compensation.
Why Report a Boat Accident
You should report a boating accident as soon as it happens to increase your chances of a favorable outcome when filing a claim. Filing a report with the USCG and the relevant state authority will aid their ability to capture accurate data to advance sufficient safety mechanisms besides helping you to present a convincing case in court.
It is also worth noting that federal law requires you to report such accidents.
According to the federal government regulations, vessel owners or operators involved in accidents should present a written report with state authority if:
- A person died in the accident
- People sustained severe injuries that need medical assistance beyond first-aid
- Someone disappeared from the vessel, indicating possible injury or death
- There is property damage from the accident
- The vessel was damaged in the accident
Filing Your Boat Accident Claim
If you or your loved ones are in a boating accident, act fast. Legal deadlines apply to your situation. It is crucial to take all necessary steps to reduce injuries and extra costs associated with the accident. The first step is seeking medical attention to curb further injuries.
Next, collect evidence to support your claim. A boat accident attorney in West Columbia can help with this step. To file a successful claim, your lawyer has to investigate the cause of your boating accident before taking any legal steps.
If you were injured in a boat accident, consider seeking fair compensation by reaching out to a West Columbia boat accident attorney for legal assistance.
Team Up With Our West Columbia Boat Accident Attorneys Today
Boating accident cases can be complicated and time-consuming. Having a lawyer on your side will help you navigate the legal system and ensure you get a fair settlement. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
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