Whether it is taking out your pontoon boat or ski boat, or hitting the water on a kayak or paddleboard, there are many ways to have fun on the water. Unfortunately, not everyone is careful when they go out on the lake. All too often, boaters lack experience, fail to pay close attention, or are drinking behind the wheel. This can quickly endanger the lives of their passengers and others on the water.
If you suffered injuries because of a negligent boater, South Carolina law allows you to hold them accountable for your damages. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our team can help you try to recover the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 803-999-2993 to speak with a boat accident lawyer in Columbia, SC.
Recoverable Damages in a Columbia Boat Accident Case
The first question many boat accident victims ask is, “How much is my case worth?” However, this is not a question we can answer accurately at the start of your claim. Determining the worth of your claim is not possible until we fully investigate your case and have a good understanding of the value of your damages. Instead, we can give you an idea of the type of damages you might be able to recover if we can successfully negotiate a satisfactory settlement after filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
The most common economic damages we recover for our clients after a Columbia boat accident include:
- Medical treatment and related expenses
- Ongoing care costs
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Repair or replacement of your boat
- Any other accident-related costs
We can also recover non-economic, or emotional, damages after this type of incident. This may include:
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Other emotional damages
In some cases, if we file a lawsuit against the negligent boater, we can also pursue punitive damages. These damages are not compensatory, meaning they go above and beyond the expenses and losses you suffered. Instead, they punish a boater who acted intentionally or in a reckless, willfull, or wanton manner.
Lastly, if you lost an immediate family member in a boating accident caused by a negligent party, we can help you pursue a wrongful death action. This allows you to recover compensation to pay for your losses related to their death. This may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Mental anguish
- Loss of household services
- Other emotional damages
Understanding Negligence and Liability in a Columbia Boat Accident
While every accident is different, there are a few common reasons boat accidents occur on Lake Murray and other waterways near Columbia. Some of the most common we see include:
- Inexperienced and untrained boaters
- Drunk or drugged boaters
- Distracted boaters
- Boaters using excessive speed
- Boaters attempting reckless maneuvers
- Boaters who fail to see smaller vessels, unpowered vessels, or swimmers
If your accident occurred because of any of these situations, we can help you hold the at-fault boater liable for your full range of accident-related injuries and other damages. To prove negligence, we must provide evidence to show:
- The boater had a responsibility to act in a certain way — or not act in a certain way — to keep you safe.
- The boater failed to act in the required way.
- This directly led to your accident and injuries.
- You suffered physical injuries, financial damages, or other damages as a result of the accident.
If we can prove negligence, the law allows us to hold the at-fault boater liable for your damages. This is possible through filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against them.
Filing an Insurance Claim and Negotiating a Fair Boat Accident Settlement
We can often settle Columbia boat accident cases without having to file a civil suit or appear in court. Many people have homeowner’s or other insurance policies that cover their boat, or they have an additional umbrella policy to cover their liability in a boating accident. We can file an insurance claim based on this policy, and attempt to recover the compensation you deserve by presenting a case against their policyholder.
We take the evidence we uncovered during our investigation and present it to the insurance company in a demand letter. From there, they have three options:
- They can deny our claim.
- They can pay out the amount we demand.
- They can give us a counter-offer.
In almost every case, they opt for the last choice. They give us a counter-offer that is far below the value of your actual damages, but it gives us a starting point for settlement negotiations. We will use aggressive negotiation techniques to attempt to reach a fair settlement agreement for you.
In most cases, this is successful, and we can recover the money you deserve because of our process.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Boat Accident
There are a few situations when we may need to file a civil suit to hold the negligent boater liable and recover the full damages you deserve. This may occur when:
- The insurance company denied our claim.
- The insurance company is not willing to offer a fair settlement.
- There is the possibility of large punitive damages.
- The negligent boater does not have insurance.
In any of these situations, we will fight to try to get the compensation you need. We will present your case to a judge or jury and represent you throughout the trial or during settlement discussions. We will ask the Judge or jury to award you a fair payout based on the evidence we present.
Talk to a Boat Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC Today
The personal injury team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers understands the complexities of boating accidents and can help you hold the at-fault boater liable for their careless or reckless actions. Call us today to speak with a boat accident lawyer in Columbia, SC at 803-999-2993 for your free case review, and let us go to work trying to get the money you deserve.