South Carolina is home to over twelve major lakes. It has miles of coastline and the beautiful intra-coastal waterway. People from everywhere enjoy the luxury of some of the finest boating and fishing waters in the United States. Unfortunately, the popularity of the waterways has led to increases in boating and watercraft accidents.
While there are fewer boating accidents and water-related accidents than car accidents, the injuries and long-term impact can be just as severe, resulting in lost wages and future earning potential, current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma or loss of enjoyment of life.
The aftermath of a boating accident can be a confusing time and you might not know what to do next. You have the legal right to seek representation. A Columbia boat accident lawyer from The Solomon Law Group might be able to help you get compensation for everything you’ve been through. Our lawyers are experienced, skilled, and compassionate people who want to stand up for your rights.
What Are the Common Causes of Boat Accidents?
High-speed boats have a higher chance of getting in accidents than sailboats. There are many ways for a boat accident to occur. The U.S. Coast Guard’s 2019 boating accident report lists some of the most common reasons for boat accidents:
- Collisions. Collisions with a recreational vessel caused 1071 accidents, 47 deaths, and 650 injuries. Collisions with a fixed object caused 493 accidents, 44 deaths, and 326 injuries.
- Flooding. Out of the 399 accidents, 45 people died, and 124 were injured in a flooding event.
- Grounding. The 413 accidents had 16 deaths and 253 injuries.
- Falls Overboard. This caused 299 accidents with 189 deaths and 122 injuries.
In 2019, drowning was the main cause of death in boating accidents with 439 deaths. Out of that group, 57 were wearing life jackets, 362 were not wearing them, and there were 20 unknown to wear or not wear a life jacket.
Motorized boats aren’t the only water-based vehicles that commonly get into accidents, either. Personal watercraft accidents are common, and many occur due to other vehicle operators who fail to pay attention or otherwise operate their vessels negligently. If you’ve been injured in any type of watercraft accident, legal compensation may be available to you.
What Are Some Boating Safety Tips?
The United States Coast Guard’s accident report also stated in 2019 that boat accidents caused 2,559 injuries and 613 deaths. 9 out of 10 of the people who drowned weren’t wearing life jackets. Drowning was the leading cause of death from those boat accidents at 72 percent. In the fatal boat accidents, alcohol was a main contributor to the tragedy.
To avoid common boating accidents or injuries, the CDC has some safety tips that you can follow.
- Wear a Life Jacket. If you’re in an accident and are thrown from the boat, a life jacket can save your life. The shock and possible injuries that come from a boat accident might make it difficult for you to swim, so you and everyone else on the boat should wear life jackets at all times.
- Avoid Alcohol. Drinking alcohol and driving a boat is illegal and reckless. Your ability to judge situations, reaction time, balance, and coordination are all impaired when you’re under the influence.
- Get Educated. You can take a boating education course that will teach you how to safely navigate and use the boat. This might help you avoid possibly dangerous situations in the future if you have the education and training.
- Get a Vessel Safety Check (VSC). The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer this free public service. A certified Vessel Examiner will inspect your boat and if your boat passes, you get a decal that will show your vessel complies with all Federal and State laws.
- Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Carbon monoxide can kill you in minutes if you’re inside or outside of the boat. You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide and it’s an extremely poisonous gas. Along with using carbon monoxide detectors, also make sure your boat has the proper equipment for ventilation.
Safety is the most important aspect of boating. The water can be dangerous, and even though you follow all the safety precautions, that doesn’t mean that your boat operator or another boater on the water will. If a boater ignored safety tips and got into an accident that injured you, then you could use the help of a boat accident lawyer. Hiring a lawyer can help you recover financially from your injuries while you focus on recovering physically and emotionally.
Negligence in Boat Accidents
After being injured in an accident on the water in Columbia, you might be interested in filing a boat accident claim with the help of a lawyer. At The Solomon Law Group, our lawyers have experience building claims for our clients, and we understand that your case relies on proving the negligence of the boater who caused your collision and subsequent injuries.
Boaters must pay close attention when driving and be completely sober, or else they could cause a serious accident that can lead to injuries or drowning of everyone on board. Here are some of the most common ways that a boater can be negligent on the water:
- Distracted driving
- Improper lookout
- Driver inexperience
- Alcohol or drug use
- Navigation rules violation
- Driving recklessly through busy or dangerous waters
All of these actions can be considered negligent by a boat operator, so when your Columbia boat accident lawyer investigates what happened in your boat wreck, they will be able to use these actions to prove negligence. Your attorney will collect evidence that proves:
- The boater had a legal duty to keep you safe.
- The boater breached that duty by driving recklessly or negligently.
- You suffered an injured from that breach of duty.
- Your injuries from the accident caused you physical, emotional, or financial damages.
You shouldn’t have to suffer from your injuries and financial hardships alone—the negligent boater should be held responsible for their actions so you can recover the compensation that you deserve. When you hire a Columbia boat accident lawyer from our firm, you can rest assured that we will fully investigate your claim and build the strongest case possible to prove that the at-fault driver caused your injuries and needs to be held responsible for their actions. Our attorneys will fight for you and get you the justice you deserve.
Do You Need a South Carolina Boat Accident Lawyer?
Have you or a loved one been injured in a boat accident or in any type of accident involving a personal watercraft? The Solomon Law Group knows how financially and emotionally stressful this time can be, especially when you’re trying to recover.
The South Carolina boat attorneys of The Solomon Law Group understand the regulations involving boating and watercraft operation. We handle claims arising from incidents involving private boats, ferries and charter boats, cruise ships, personal watercraft, docks and marinas, diving accidents and drunken boating.
Don’t wait another day. Reach out to The Solomon Law Group now and we’ll talk about your options and what is in your best interests.