A Myrtle Beach boat accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent boating operator if you were injured because of their actions or inaction. Our law firm may be able to help you build a case that describes what you have been through since the boating accident.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, losses, the medical treatment you require, and the amount of your medical bills, you may be entitled to financial compensation, and we’re ready to help you fight for it. A personal injury attorney can give you a free case consultation and tell you if you qualify for a case.
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How Boat Operators Can Be Liable in an Accident
For many, Myrtle Beach is a vacation destination for the summer, where people can hop on a boat and cruise the Atlantic coastline of South Carolina. However, while boating is a fun aquatic pastime for tourists and locals alike, boating accidents occur yearly, involving serious injuries and even fatalities.
In 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 184 recreational boating accidents, with 16 resulting in fatalities. The reasons boating accidents occur can range from reckless boating operator behaviors, such as boating under the influence, to a lack of safety equipment.
Commercial boating operators must be licensed, have proper safety education, and adhere to boating laws. However, as is common in tourist locations, people may rent boats for recreational purposes. If a person operates a boat without proper training, accidents can occur.
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Boating Operators Have a Duty of Care to Their Passengers
Per S.C. Ann. 50-21-110/111, no person is allowed to operate a water device negligently or recklessly. Water devices include motorboats, personal watercraft, water skis, surfboards, aquaplanes, and other watercraft.
All boating operators, licensed or not, owe a duty of care to passengers and other vessels in the water. Committing one of the following negligent or reckless boating behaviors may result in penalties:
- Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Operating a water device within 50 feet of another vessel
- Excessive speed in a no-wake zone
- Failing to keep watch of other water devices or people in the water
- Pulling a water skier into a designated swimming area in the water
- Recklessly weaving through congested boat traffic
- Crossing the path of another vessel or blocking another vessel from moving
- Chasing or disturbing wildlife
All of the actions we listed above show a clear disregard for your safety, the other passengers on the boat, and other people in the water. If you sustained an injury due to the boat driver’s or another party’s negligence, we can help hold them accountable.
Lack of Boating Safety Can Lead to an Accident
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that the top five contributing factors to boating accidents are operator inattention, operator inexperience, speeding, machinery malfunction, and failure to watch other vessels or people in the water properly.
One of the main causes of improper boat operator behavior is alcohol consumption, the 6th most common cause in 2021. Boating accident injuries and fatalities may also occur because of the vessel’s lack of proper safety equipment.
According to the South Carolina Boating Regulations, vessels must be equipped with the following under certain circumstances:
- Personal floatation devices (PFDs), such as life jackets and lifesaver rings
- Navigation lights
- Fire extinguisher
- Sound-producing device (such as a bell or whistle)
A Myrtle Beach boat accident lawyer can look over your case and determine if a boating operator may be at fault for your injuries because of negligent behavior or a lack of safety equipment.
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Boat Accident Injuries Can Be Severe and Even Lead to Death
Sustaining an injury from a boating accident can range from mild to severe in seconds. The water can be deadly on its own, but the risk of injury increases when a boating operator is not taking the proper precautions to keep others safe in the water.
Common boating accidents include:
- Being struck by a boat propeller
- Falling overboard
- Being run over by a boat, jet ski, or other water devices
- Slipping and falling on a vessel
Common Boating Injuries
Any of these accidents can lead to severe injuries, such as:
- Skin lacerations, bruises, and other forms of scarring
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of consciousness or brain damage
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could require surgery or lifelong care for an injury caused by another person’s carelessness. Even if you don’t see your injury listed above, you still may qualify for compensation.
If this is your first time considering hiring a lawyer, our personal injury FAQ can answer some of your questions.
In the worst-case scenario, a boat accident can lead to a wrongful death. The U.S. Coast Guard reported drowning as the leading cause of death in 81% of boating accident fatalities, and 83% of those who drowned in a boating accident were not wearing a PFD.
However, another alarming statistic is that 75% of deaths occurred because the boating operator did not have proper safety instruction or education. If you lost a loved one in a boating accident, you do not have to tolerate this kind of injustice.
Our attorneys can help you get justice for your loved one and adequate compensation that can help relieve the financial burden you may be feeling. When you’re ready, we’ll be here for you.
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Know the Statute of Limitations for Boat Accidents
Claimants generally have three years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for a boat accident, per the statute of limitations,S.C. Ann. 15-3-530. Through this lawsuit, claimants may request the maximum compensation under the law from the at-fault party for their losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Lost income or reduced earning capacity
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium if a wrongful death occurred
Your boat accident attorney can help you file your lawsuit within the statutory deadline, as failure to do so may result in your case being dismissed. Insurance companies hope you will not hire our personal injury lawyers and will miss the deadline, releasing them from legal liability for your medical costs.
How a Boating Accident Settlement Is Determined
If you were injured in a boat accident, you’re likely curious about how much you may be able to recover in a settlement to help cover the costs of any expenses you may have. There isn’t an average settlement amount we can tell you, but we can explain the determining factors of your settlement.
The severity of your injuries is the most impactful factor that plays a role in the amount of your settlement. Injuries requiring extensive medical care will result in a higher settlement, especially if you’ve lost a loved one. Another factor is the degree of negligence demonstrated by the parties that caused your injuries.
The more careless and even intentional their actions are, the higher you could be compensated, and you could even recover punitive damages. A lawyer from our firm can identify what additional factors may affect your settlement amount.
Hire a Myrtle Beach Boat Accident Lawyer to Get Justice
If you or a loved one got into a boating accident due to the negligence of a boating operator, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim against them for compensation. We are ready to listen to what happened to you or your loved one, hold the negligent party responsible, and fight for the compensation you need.
Call now to speak with a team member at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, about your case.
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