According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2019, there were 4,168 recreational boating accidents in the United States. These accidents caused 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries, and about $55 million in property damage.
If you were harmed by a negligent boater, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages you suffered. A Bluffton boat accident attorney from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you recover compensation.
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Alcohol, Inexperience, and Negligence Can Cause Boating Accidents
Like with motor vehicle accidents, there may be several potential causes of boating accidents. Operators must carefully navigate their boat through open waters, but many people do not have special training with boating.
The U.S. Coast Guard states that common causes of boating accidents include:
- Alcohol: Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents that result in fatalities. It was listed as the leading factor in 23% of fatalities.
- Inexperience: About 70% of boat accident fatalities occurred because the operator did not learn boating safety instruction. If the operator received a nationally approved boating safety education certificate, only 20% of boating accidents resulted in fatalities.
- Inattention, improper lookout, and excessive speed: Besides alcohol and inexperience, these factors were the other leading contributing factors in boating accidents.
- Propellers: Accidents involving propellers accounted for 171 of the accidents.
A personal injury lawyer can investigate the causes that contributed to your accident and identify who may be liable for your accident.
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Our Team Can Help You Determine Who May Be Liable for Your Accident
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim, one or more of the following parties may be at fault for your accident:
- The operator of the boat: If you were a passenger on a friend or colleague’s boat, you may have a claim against the boat operator if they were drinking, speeding, or negligently operating the boat.
- The operator of another boat: If you were operating your boat and another boat operator acted negligently and hit you, you may be able to make a claim against that boat operator.
- Boat manufacturer: In some situations, accidents may occur because boats suddenly stop working, accelerate without prompting, fail to brake, or let water seep in. In these situations, the manufacturer of the boat or its components may be legally responsible for your damages.
- Your employer: If you were working at the time of the boating accident, your employer may be liable for the injuries you suffered, in accordance with the Jones Act.
Our Bluffton boat accident attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help investigate your claim and determine the potentially liable parties in your case.
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You Can Start Building Your Case Immediately After a Boat Accident
If you were injured in a boating accident, some of the steps you can take to protect the value of your claim include:
- Seek medical attention: If you have not already sought medical attention immediately after the accident, get checked out by a physician. Some injuries may not be immediately evident. Seek continued care for your injuries and seek medical attention for any new injuries that present themselves. Be sure you keep your medical records and bills so that you can provide them to your lawyer.
- Report the accident: In addition to reporting the accident to local law enforcement to provide immediate assistance, you should also report the accident to your employer (if applicable), the Coast Guard, and the South Carolina waterway department in the area where your accident occurred.
- Make a claim: Contact the insurance company with the information you collected at the time of the accident.
- Contact a law firm: Boating accident claims may differ from other types of claims. You can contact our firm to hire a lawyer who can help you navigate this process.
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A Lawyer Can Let You Know How Much Your Claim May Be Worth
The potential value of your claim depends on the damages you incurred from the boating accident. These damages are economic and noneconomic losses that you experienced after the accident, such as:
- Property damage
- Past and current medical bills
- Medical bills anticipated for the future
- Lost wages and benefits when you took time off work to recover from your injuries
- Lost earning capacity if the accident left you permanently disabled
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
A personal injury lawyer can give you a better idea about the potential value of your claim, based on the specifics surrounding it. These factors may include the severity of your injuries, the underlying cause of the accident, and the financial impact your injuries have on your life.
Our Personal Injury Team Offers Many Legal Services to Help Build Your Claim
Our personal injury team can assist you with your claim and be the legal advocate you need while recovering from the accident. We can launch an investigation into the cause of your accident and pursue compensation for your claim by doing the following:
- Reviewing the accident report, eyewitness reports, and any photos or videos of the accident
- Reviewing relevant insurance policies
- Communicating with the insurance company about your claim
- Gathering evidence to support your claim and the severity of your damages
- Preparing an itemized demand package to request compensation for the injuries you have suffered
- Negotiating a settlement on your behalf
- Filing a lawsuit, conducting discovery, and arguing your case in court, if necessary
A boat accident lawyer in Bluffton from our law firm stands ready to help you with your claim.
Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Today for Help With Your Claim
If you were injured in a boating accident, a Bluffton boat accident lawyer from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you with your claim. Our team can handle communications with the insurance company and pursue compensation for your claim while you focus on your recovery.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless we successfully recover compensation for your claim. Call us today or fill out our online contact form for more information on your legal rights and options.
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